Dodgers Cut Ties With Trevor Bauer, Star Pitcher Accused Of Sexual Assault

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Dodgers are cutting ties with pitcher Trevor Bauer, whose unprecedented 324-game suspension over sexual misconduct allegations was reduced two weeks ago, allowing him to resume his career with the start of the new season.

A person familiar with the situation said Friday that the 31-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment, meaning the Dodgers have seven days to release or trade him, which is unlikely. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the move.

If the 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner is released, Los Angeles would still be responsible for the more than $22.5 million remaining on the pitcher’s contract.

“After careful consideration, we have determined 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 restore Bauer to the roster under baseball’s rules. The team has rarely commented on the divisive issue since Bauer was placed on paid administrative leave in July 2021.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Bauer for 324 games for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policies after a San Diego woman said he beat and sexually assaulted her in 2021. Bauer has maintained that he did nothing wrong, and said 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 behalf of Bauer, and a three-person panel chaired by independent arbitrator Martin Scheinman began hearing the case last May.

In a Dec. 22 ruling, Scheinman upheld a 194-game suspension instead of Manfred’s intended 324-game punishment, and immediately reinstated Bauer. Scheinman confirmed that Bauer violated MLB’s policy and added his salary for the first 50 games of 2023, covering parts of the period the pitcher was on paid leave in 2021 and ’22.

Bauer joined the hometown Dodgers before 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.

In the event that Bauer is released, the MLB Players Association may challenge his release as not complying with the Uniform Player’s Contract.

The contract allows the team to terminate the player if the player “fails, refuses or fails to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship or to maintain himself in prime physical condition or to obey the club’s training rules” or “fails, in the opinion of the club’s management , to show sufficient skill or competitiveness to qualify or continue as a member of the club’s team.”

In February 2022, Los Angeles prosecutors decided not to charge Bauer with allegedly beating and sexually assaulting the San Diego woman because they said they were unable to prove her allegations 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 sexually assaulted.

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 beforehand. Each meeting ended with her spending the night at his home in Pasadena, he said.

“The disturbing acts and behavior she described simply did not happen,” he said at the time.

The woman had requested a restraining order, but a judge rejected it. The judge found that Bauer respected the woman’s boundaries when she set them, and could not have known of the ones he was violating because she did not express them clearly.

Bauer will forfeit about $37.6 million in salary for the final 144 games of last season and for the first 50 games of this season, through May 23.

If Bauer is released, another team could sign him for the league minimum of $720,000, with the Dodgers responsible for the remainder of the $22,537,635 he is owed.

AP Baseball writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

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