Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced Friday that Dodgers right-hander Trevor Bauer has received a 324-games suspension — two full seasons’ worth of games — effective today. That the suspension is effective today, rather than beginning retroactively last summer from the point Bauer was placed on administrative leave, indicates that Bauer will be suspended, without pay, through April 2024. Bauer, unsurprisingly, announced that he intends to appeal the commissioner’s decision. He tweeted the following statement:
“In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s domestic violence & sexual assault policy. I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives & I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.”
The Dodgers issued the following statement in reaction to commissioner Manfred’s decision:
“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 the 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. 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.”
Major League Baseball originally placed Bauer on administrative leave on July 14, 2021, in the wake of sexual assault allegations from a California woman who filed a temporary ex parte restraining order against him. For months, Bauer remained in limbo as the legal process surrounding the allegations played out. In August, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied a permanent restraining order to the alleged victim, bringing a close to that civil hearing. Potential criminal charges loomed as a possibility, however, dependent on the findings of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.
That process dragged into the new year, but on Feb. 8, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office announced that criminal charges would not be brought forth. The DA’s office did not declare Bauer innocent nor guilty, but rather determined that, “After a thorough review of the available evidence, including the civil restraining order proceedings, witness statements and the physical evidence, the People are unable to prove the relevant charges beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Bauer, who announced this week that he has filed a defamation lawsuit against his accuser, has been on administrative leave throughout the first several weeks of the 2022 season as Manfred and his office have conducted their own investigation into the matter. The league ostensibly opted not to begin conducting that investigation until the outcome of the legal proceedings were known, which has regularly been the case in past instances pertaining to the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse policy.
Today’s suspension for Bauer is the longest ban ever handed out under that policy, which does grant the commissioner’s office the authority to unilaterally impose discipline even in the absence of criminal charges. In essence, the suspension absolves the Dodgers of the remainder of the commitment owed to Bauer, who signed a three-year, $102MM contract in the 2020-21 offseason. That could change, depending on the outcome of Bauer’s forthcoming appeal.
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