Dodgers release pitcher Trevor Bauer after his suspension over possible sexual assault was reduced

The Los Angeles Dodgers announced they are taking over DFA starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, dropping him from their roster and letting him run as a free agent.

Under Designated Free Agency rules, the Dodgers have seven days to trade Bauer to another team. If they don’t find a partner, he’ll be fired and free to sign with either team for at least $720,000. The Dodgers are also paying $22.5 million of his contract.

This comes weeks after an independent umpire reduced his record suspension from 324 games to just 194 – which would allow him to be available at the start of the 2023 MLB season.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have chosen DFA Trevor Bauer to release him

The Los Angeles Dodgers have chosen DFA Trevor Bauer to release him

In a statement, the Dodgers said they are fully cooperating with MLB’s investigation and are taking the allegations seriously.

“The Dodgers Organization believes that allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence should be thoroughly investigated, with due process being accorded to the accused,” the statement said.

“From the beginning, we have fully cooperated with the Major League Baseball investigation and strictly followed the process outlined in the MLB Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.

“Two comprehensive reviews of all available evidence in this case – one by Commissioner Manfred and another by a neutral referee – concluded that Mr Bauer’s actions warranted the longest-ever active player ban in our sport for violations of this policy.

“Now that this process is complete, after careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be part of our organization.”

The former Cy Young winner with the Cincinnati Reds was accused of sexual assault in 2021

The former Cy Young winner with the Cincinnati Reds was accused of sexual assault in 2021

Bauer released a statement of his own via his social media accounts.

“While we were unable to communicate throughout the administrative holiday and arbitration proceedings, my representatives spoke to Dodgers leadership immediately after the arbitration determination,” the statement said.

“After two weeks of discussions about my return to the organization, I sat down with the Dodgers leadership in Arizona yesterday, who told me they wanted me to come back this year and step up for the team.

“While I am disappointed with the organization’s decision today, I appreciate the tremendous support I have received from the Dodgers clubhouse. I wish the players all the best and look forward to competing elsewhere.’

After the initial suspension was imposed, the Players’ Association filed a complaint on behalf of the former Cy Young Award winner. A three-person panel led by independent adjudicator Martin Scheinman began hearing the case on May 23.

Scheinman confirmed a 194-game suspension instead of Manfred’s intended 324-game penalty, but immediately reinstated Bauer, effectively allocating 50 games to cover part of the long period Bauer was placed on administrative leave while in MLB conducted investigations during the 2021 season and earlier this year.

“While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will honor the neutral umpire’s decision, which maintains the longest active suspension of baseball players ever for sexual assault or domestic violence,” the league said in a statement when the reduced suspension was announced. “We understand that this process was difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation.”

Bauer's prosecutors were unable to obtain a restraining order, and Bauer was not charged with a crime

Bauer’s prosecutors were unable to obtain a restraining order, and Bauer was not charged with a crime

Bauer was never charged with a crime. His accuser asked for a restraining order against him but was denied, and Los Angeles prosecutors said in February there was insufficient evidence to prove the woman’s allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.

Bauer, who has not played since the allegations surfaced and MLB began investigating, has repeatedly said everything that happened between him and the woman was consensual.

Bauer sued his accuser in federal court, a move that came less than three months after prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges against the pitcher. Bauer named the woman and one of her attorneys, Niranjan Fred Thiagarajah, as defendants in the lawsuit. The Associated Press does not typically identify individuals who say they have been victims of sexual assault.

The lawsuit states that “the damage to Mr. Bauer was extreme” after the woman claimed he choked her unconscious during two sexual encounters over the past year, repeatedly punched her and engaged in anal sex with her without her consent.

The pitcher said the two had rough sex at his Pasadena home at her suggestion and followed guidelines, which they had agreed to in advance.

Bauer said in an earlier statement sent through his reps that he had a “casual and fully consensual sexual relationship” with the woman from 2013 to 2018, which began when he was fielding for the Triple-A team in Columbus.

“None of our meetings have ever involved a single non-consensual, let alone illegal, act,” Bauer said.

Bauer has not pitched since June 29, 2021 & has been placed on leave from MLB

Bauer has not pitched since June 29, 2021 & has been placed on leave from MLB

Under Major League Rule 2, Bauer will not count against the Dodgers’ player limits for 14 days, giving the team to date – the 6th. Under those rules, the Dodgers remain responsible for the approximately $22.6 million due to him in the next owed per season and is free to sign with any club.

After winning his first Cy Young with the Cincinnati Reds in 2020, Bauer agreed to join his hometown Dodgers. He did not serve after June 29, 2021, finishing with an 8-2 record and a 2.59 ERA in 17 games.

Bauer was placed on administrative leave under the Domestic Violence Policy on July 2, 2021, a leave that has been extended 13 times.

Among 15 players previously disciplined under the policy, the longest suspension was a full season and postseason for free-agent pitcher Sam Dyson in 2021. None of the players previously disciplined under the policy appear to have appealed the penalty before a referee to have.

Maureen Mackey

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