Major League Baseball suspended Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer for 194 games, through the league’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy, the league announced Friday. It’s the longest suspension in the seven-year history of the policy.
MLB’s original suspension was 324 games — the equivalent of two full seasons — levied on April 29, 2022. The appeal process took over seven months, and on December 22, 2022 the penalty was reduced to 194 games, with arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman making the ruling.
Bauer already missed 111 games while on paid administrative leave, dating back to 2021 and including the postseason.
Per the arbitrator’s decision, the 194-game suspension covered the final 144 games of 2022, plus essentially 50 games of time served while on administrative leave. Bauer was reinstated by MLB on December 22, 2022, making him eligible to pitch immediately in 2023.
Bauer is under contract for $32 million in 2023. This suspension also docks 50 games of pay from Bauer in 2023, though he is eligible to pitch.
A temporary restraining order was filed against Bauer in Los Angeles Superior Court on June 29, 2021, stemming from two sexual encounters in April and May. A judge denied the request for a restraining order against Bauer on August 19. Bauer was placed on administrative leave by MLB on July 2.
Bauer was also under investigation by the Pasadena police department, though on February 7 after a five-month investigation the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office declined to press charges, citing insufficient evidence to prove the relevant charges against Bauer beyond a reasonable doubt.
Per the collective bargaining agreement, MLB has the authority to suspend a player whether or not they are arrested or charged with a crime. Since the league’s domestic violence policy was enacted in 2015, the eight previous players placed on administrative leave during a season were all suspended, with a minimum of 20 games and an average of 57 games among the group.
Administrative leave removed Bauer from the Dodgers’ 40-man roster for the last half of the 2021 season, placing him on the restricted list while the investigation is ongoing. With agreement from the MLB players association, MLB has extended Bauer’s administrative leave nine times in 2021, the last time on September 10, extending the leave through the end of the postseason.
The Dodgers canceled a scheduled Bauer bobblehead day on August 19, 2021, and his jersey and merchandise was removed from both Dodger Stadium and on MLB’s website in early July.
The team hasn’t spoken publicly about Bauer, though in an internal memo to staff in mid-August 2021, team president and CEO Stan Kasten said, “During the past couple of months, we have all been deeply troubled by the allegations that have been made against Trevor Bauer,” per ESPN. In that same memo, per the Los Angeles Times, Kasten wrote, “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.”
In a press conference after the end of the 2021 season, on October 27, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said of Bauer, “From our standpoint, it’s being handled by the league office. As soon as something is decided, obviously we will come down and talk through it extensively with you guys. But until that happens, we have to reserve comment.”
One 2022 spring training began, Bauer was placed back on administrative leave while his MLB investigation remained ongoing. That leave has been extended twice, the latest through April 29, which covers the first 19 games of the regular season.
On April 25, 2022, Bauer filed suit against his accuser and her lawyer, claiming, “She wanted to destroy Mr. Bauer’s reputation and baseball career, garner attention for herself, and extract millions of dollars from Mr. Bauer.”
The Dodgers designated Bauer for assignment on January 6, 2023 rather than add him back to the 40-man roster.
“Now that this process has been completed, and after careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be part of our organization,” the team said in a statement.
After clearing waivers, Bauer was released by the Dodgers on January 12, making him a free agent.