Commissioner Rob Manfred and the MLB on Friday finally issued a decision surrounding the future of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer — a 324-game suspension equivalent to two full regular seasons.
The 31-year-old Bauer was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in a case that authorities began investigating last spring. A Los Angeles County judge denied the assault victim a restraining order from Bauer last August, and the District Attorney’s office ultimately decide against filing charges against Bauer in February. At that point, many fans thought a potential suspension would be minimal since the righty pitcher wouldn’t be arrested.
However, the MLB has the power to suspend players without a criminal conviction based on its own independent investigation. Those familiar with the case believe the league also took into consideration of a separate case that occurred previously with a woman from Ohio.
Regardless, the punishment is the most severe the league has ever handed out under its domestic violence policy.
Not long after the league announced the decision, Bauer quickly released a statement that he was planning to appeal the punishment.
“In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy,” Bauer wrote in his statement. “I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives and I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.”
The Dodgers immediately followed with a statement of their own:
“Today we were informed that MLB has concluded its investigation into allegations that have been made against Trevor Bauer, and the Commissioner has issued his decision regarding discipline. The Dodgers organization takes all allegations of this nature very seriously and does not condone or excuse any acts of domestic violence or sexual assault.”
The statement continued, “We’ve cooperated fully with MLB’s investigation since it began, and we fully support MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy, and the Commissioner’s enforcement of the Policy. We understand that Trevor has the right to appeal the Commissioner’s decision. Therefore, we will not comment further until the process is complete.”
If Bauer’s suspension holds through the appeal process, it would last until the 19th game of the 2024 season. At that point, his three-year contract with the Dodgers will have expired. The Dodgers will not be paying Bauer, who stands to lose around $28 million this year and $32 million next year.
While he is suspended, Bauer will not be able to report to the team unless an arbitrator decides that his appeal is successful.
MLB announced the suspension with a short statement that did not provide any clarification with the decision, saying: “In accordance with the terms of the Policy, the Commissioner’s Office will not issue any further statements at this point in time.”
Bauer last pitched for the team on June 28 of last year.