The Dodgers Have 24 Hours To Make A Very Expensive And Tricky Decision Regarding Trevor Bauer

By on January 5, 2023 in ArticlesSports News

What do you do with a controversial but, in terms of performance, absolutely amazing team member? That's the very expensive and tricky question the Dodgers must answer within exactly 24 hours. By the end of business on Friday, the Dodgers must decide whether they are going to reinstate or release their controversial, CY Young-winning pitcher, Trevor Bauer.

For those who know nothing of the Trevor Bauer saga, a recap may be helpful and somewhat interesting, if I do say so myself:

Trevor Bauer was drafted in 2011 by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ahead of the 2013 season he was traded to the Cleveland Indians. In the middle of the 2019 season he was traded from the Indians to the Cincinnati Reds. The following season with the Reds, Trevor won the National League Cy Young award. Conveniently, Trevor became a free agent upon the conclusion of his Cy Young award winning season. That meant he was on the open market able to accept extremely large new contract offers.

And that's exactly what he did.

In February 2021, Trevor signed a three-year $102 million contract with the Dodgers that should have made him the highest-paid player in the entire league. The deal came with a $10 million signing bonus and should have paid him $28 million for the 2021 season and $32 million for both the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

I say "should" in the previous sentence, because things didn't go exactly to plan.

After pitching just 17 games for the Dodgers, sexual assault allegations against Trevor were made public.

The first allegation came from a woman who admitted to having a consensual relationship with Bauer beginning in April 2021. This woman admitted that their encounters featured some mutually-agreeable rough sex, but she claimed the encounters ultimately included experiences she did not agree to. This woman claimed that she was sodomized, choked, punched and eventually lost consciousness during their encounter.

In August of 2021, a new set of allegations from a woman in Ohio, who apparently had to request a restraining order against Bauer, were made public. This woman also alleged he choked and slapped her during sex.

Bauer denied doing anything wrong in both instances, insisting that all of his encounters were completely consensual. The woman who made the second allegation ended up rescinding her restraining order and Bauer has gone so far as to sue the first woman for defamation. That case is ongoing.

Trevor Bauer has not been arrested or convicted of any crime, and in February of 2022 the L.A. County District Attorney declined to press charges against him connected to first woman's allegations.

Trevor Bauer

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Unfortunately for Trevor, despite the fact that he has never been convicted or even arrested for any crime, Major League Baseball put him on administrative leave while it conducted an internal investigation.

Fortunately for Trevor, his timing in this whole ordeal has been accidentally very lucky. First off, he signed that huge contract BEFORE the allegations became public. And secondly, had Trevor been put on administrative leave a year earlier, under the league's previous collective bargaining agreement, he could have only been paid for his time played in the 2021 season, as in several weeks. Instead, thanks to the new terms of the collective bargaining deal, the Dodgers had to pay Trevor his FULL 2021 salary while the league investigated. In other words, he kept his $10 million signing bonus and $28 million salary for the season. That's $38 million in earnings for a season in which he pitched 17 games.

In April 2022, after a 10-month investigation, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced the league was suspending Trevor for 324 games… essentially two full seasons. Trevor was to be suspended WITHOUT PAY.

Trevor appealed.

An arbitrator eventually reduced the suspension to 194 games. And since he had already been suspended since July 2021, he had effectively already served the entire 194 game suspension heading into the upcoming 2023 season, which is where we are now. The arbitrator did throw in one additional punishment: Trevor would not be paid for the first 50 games of the 2023 season. In practice that means the Dodgers are on the hook to pay Trevor $22.5 million for the 2023 season.

And that brings us to the decision the Dodgers must make in the next 24 hours.

By the end of business Friday, the Dodgers must decide if they are going to play Trevor in 2023 or release him. You may be thinking this is an easy decision: Just release him and let some other team pick up his baggage. Here's the problem: If they release him, the Dodgers are still on the hook for his $22.5 million salary. If they release him, a rival team could opt to pay Bauer the league minimum of $720,000, with the Dodgers covering the remaining $21.8 million.

It's a compelling offer for rival teams. You get a Cy Young winner for the price of a rookie. I bet a lot of teams would take this deal.

We'll know the decision in exactly 24 hours!

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