Trevor Bauer was reinstated by Major League Baseball’s independent arbitrator on Thursday, allowing the pitcher to resume his career at the start of the 2023 season.
The 31-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers star was handed an unprecedented two-season suspension without pay by baseball commissioner Rob Manfred on April 29 for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy after a San Diego woman said Bauer beat her and sexually assaulted last year, the pitcher denied an allegation.
The players’ association filed a complaint on behalf of the former Cy Young Award winner, and a three-person panel led by independent arbitrator Martin Scheinman began hearing the case on May 23.
Scheinman upheld a 194-game suspension instead of Manfred’s intended 324-game sentence, but immediately reinstated Bauer, effectively assigning him 50 games to make up for part of the lengthy time Bauer was placed on administrative leave while MLB investigated during the 2021 season and early this year.
Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer eligible to pitch in 2023 after his suspension is reduced
Bauer will lose more than $37 million in salary through May 23 for the last 144 games of last season and for the first 50 games of next season.
“While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will abide by the neutral arbitrator’s decision, which upholds the longest-ever active suspension of baseball players for sexual assault or domestic violence,” MLB said in a statement. “We understand that this process has been difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for participating.”
Although Scheinman has presented his award to the parties, a full written decision is not expected until later.
The players’ union declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Bauer expected a statement on his behalf later Thursday.
Bauer’s prosecutor was unable to get a restraining order, and Bauer was not charged with a crime
Bauer was never charged with a crime. His prosecutor sought a restraining order against him but was not issued a restraining order, 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 the investigation, has repeatedly said that 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 pursue criminal charges against the pitcher. Bauer named the woman and one of her lawyers, Niranjan Fred Thiagarajah, as defendants in the lawsuit. The Associated Press typically does not identify people who claim to have been victims of sexual assault.
The lawsuit said “the damage to Mr. Bauer was extreme” after the woman alleged he strangled her unconscious, beat her repeatedly and had anal sex with her without her consent during two sexual encounters last year.
Bauer has not thrown a pitch since June 29, 2021 and was placed on administrative leave from the MLB
The pitcher has said that at her suggestion, the two had rough sex at his Pasadena home and followed guidelines they agreed on beforehand.
Bauer said in a previous statement through his representatives that he had a “loose and wholly consensual sexual relationship” with the woman from 2013-2018, which began when he pitched for the Triple-A team in Columbus.
“None of our meetings ever involved a single non-consensual, much less illegal, act,” Bauer said.
The suspension will cost Bauer $37,594,233 of his $102 million, three-year contract: $28,131,868 of his $32 million salary in 2022 and $9,462,365 of his $32 million salary in 2023.
The Dodgers have until January 6 to decide whether to cut ties with Bauer, but still owe $22 million
Under Major League Rule 2, Bauer does not count against the Dodgers’ player limits for 14 days, giving the team until January 6 to decide whether to break the tie. If the Dodgers jettisoned Bauer, they would remain responsible for the roughly $22.6 million he owes next season and he would be 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 didn’t pitch after June 29 in 2021 and finished with an 8-2 record and a 2.59 ERA in 17 appearances.
Bauer was placed on administrative leave under the Domestic Violence Policy on July 2, 2021, a leave that has been extended 13 times.
Of the 15 players previously penalized 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 penalized under the policy appear to have served the penalty for a arbitrator challenged.