Major League Baseball has reduced pitcher Trevor Bauer’s suspension from 324 games to 194 games, per The Athletic’s Fabian Ardaya. Bauer was initially suspended due to allegations of sexual assault. He last pitched June 28, 2021 for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The MLB released a full statement regarding the decision. The neutral arbitrator ruled that Bauer violated the league’s Domestic Violence policy, so there should be some type of suspension. 324 games were initially chosen because that entailed two full seasons of play. Bauer missed all 144 games of the MLB lockout-shortened 2022 season and will have his salary reduced for the first 50 of the 2023 season with this reduction. Per the arbitrator’s ruling, Bauer is actually eligible to pitch immediately, albeit with reduced pay.
The term “reinstated immediately” is an important one. The pitcher had been separated from the entire MLB during the process but now is technically back as a member of the Dodgers. Los Angeles will have two weeks to decide whether to add Bauer to their 40-man roster. If they choose to release him, they will likely be on the hook for $25 million, per Alden Gonzalez. The franchise will have to decide whether to pay the prorated amount for him and keep him on the roster, or they will be forced to cut him. Bauer was initially supposed to make $32 million for the season in the final year of his contract with Los Angeles.
This kind of off-the-field incident is unprecedented within the sport of baseball, as this is the longest active player suspension for domestic violence or sexual assault in the sport’s history. As such, there isn’t really a precedent for how teams will handle this outcome. Bauer could rejoin the Dodgers around June 1, or he could be a free agent and sign with a team. Bauer has kept in shape during the suspension and has been active on social media, posting workouts. He will be 32 at the start of next season and could join a new team if Los Angeles decides to cut him.