LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers are severing ties with pitcher Trevor Bauer, whose unprecedented 324-game suspension for sexual misconduct allegations was reduced two weeks ago, allowing him to resume his career as the new season begins.
A person familiar with the situation said Friday that the 31-year-old right-hander has been designated for assignment, meaning the Dodgers have seven days to fire or replace him, which is unlikely. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity as the band has not announced the move.
If the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner is fired, Los Angeles will remain responsible for more than $22.5 million remaining on the pitcher’s contract.
“After careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be a part of our organization,” the Dodgers said in a statement posted on Twitter.
The Dodgers had until Friday to return Bauer to the lineup under baseball rules. The team has rarely commented on the divisive matter since Bauer was placed on paid administrative leave in July 2021.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Bauer for 324 games for domestic violence and sexual assault league violations after a San Diego woman said he beat and sexually assaulted her in 2021. Bauer maintains that he did nothing wrong, saying that everything that happened between him and the woman was consensual.
Bauer was never charged with a crime.
The players’ association filed a complaint on Bauer’s behalf, and a three-person panel chaired by independent arbitrator Martin Scheinman began reviewing the case last May.
In a ruling on December 22, Scheinman upheld the 194-game suspension instead of Manfred’s planned 324-game penalty and promptly reinstated Bauer. Scheinman confirmed that Bauer violated MLB policy and cut his pay for the first 50 games of 2023, covering part of the time the pitcher was on paid leave in 2021 and 2022.
Bauer joined his hometown Dodgers ahead of the 2021 season on a three-year, $102 million contract. He had an 8-5 record and a 2.59 ERA in 17 appearances before being placed on leave.
If Bauer is fired, the MLB Players’ Association may challenge his dismissal as inconsistent with his uniformed player contract.
The contract allows for the dissolution of the team if a player “fails, refuses or neglects to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or maintain first-class physical condition or adhere to the club’s training rules” or “in the opinion of the club’s management does not demonstrate sufficient skill or ability to compete in order to qualify or remain a member of the club’s team.”
In February 2022, Los Angeles prosecutors decided not to charge Bauer with allegedly beating and sexually abusing a San Diego woman, as they said they could not prove her accusations beyond reasonable doubt.
The woman, who was 27 at the time, said Bauer strangled her unconscious, repeatedly punched her, and sexually assaulted her during two sexual encounters.
The Associated Press typically does not identify people who claim to have been victims of sexual assault.
Bauer said in a video posted on YouTube after the prosecutor’s decision that he and the woman had had rough sex at her suggestion and were following guidelines they had agreed to in advance. He said each meeting ended with a sleepover at his home in Pasadena.
“The disturbing acts and behavior she described simply did not happen,” he said at the time.
The woman applied for a restraining order, but the judge refused. The judge found that Bauer respected the woman’s boundaries when the woman set them, and could not have known about the ones he had violated because she had not made them clear.
Bauer will lose approximately $37.6 million in salary for the last 144 games of last season and the first 50 games of this season through May 23.
If Bauer is fired, another team can sign him for a minimum of $720,000 in the league, and the Dodgers will be responsible for the remainder of the $22,537,635 they owe him.
AP Baseball writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.
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