Trevor Bauer became a free agent Friday when he went unclaimed on waivers, leaving the Los Angeles Dodgers responsible for about $22.5 million owed to the former Cy Young Award winner whose unprecedented 324-game suspension over sexual misconduct allegations was reduced by an arbitrator.
Los Angeles designated Bauer for assignment on Jan. 6, the last day to restore him to the roster, after arbitrator Martin Scheinman cut the suspension imposed by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred from 324 to 194 games. The Dodgers placed the pitcher on waivers Thursday.
Any team could sign the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner for the major league minimum of $720,000. That would be offset against the $22,537,635 owed to Bauer by the Dodgers.
Manfred suspended Bauer in April for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy after a San Diego woman said he beat and sexually abused her in 2021. Bauer has maintained he did nothing wrong, saying that everything that happened was consensual.
Bauer was never charged with a crime. The suspension cost him $37,594,233.
The players’ association filed a grievance on Bauer’s behalf, and a three-man panel headed by Scheinman concluded Bauer violated MLB’s policy and docked his pay for the first 50 games of 2023, covering part of the period the pitcher was on paid leave in 2021 and 2022.
Bauer joined his hometown Dodgers before the 2021 season and was 8-5 with a 2.59 ERA in 17 starts before being placed on leave.
In February 2022, Los Angeles prosecutors decided not to charge Bauer because they said they were unable to prove the San Diego woman’s accusations beyond a reasonable doubt. The woman, who was 27 at the time, said Bauer choked her unconscious, punched her repeatedly and sexually assaulted her during two sexual encounters.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault.
Bauer said in a video posted on YouTube after the prosecutor’s decision that he and the woman engaged in rough sex at her suggestion and followed guidelines they agreed to in advance. Each encounter ended with her spending the night at his Pasadena home, he said.
“The disturbing acts and conduct that she described simply did not occur,” he said at the time.
The woman had sought a restraining order, but a judge denied it. The judge found that Bauer honored the woman’s boundaries when the woman set them, and could not have known about those he violated because she didn’t express them clearly.