After a year-plus suspension and subsequent release from the Los Angeles Dodgers, it was unknown if Trevor Bauer would find a team willing to take him on despite accusations of sexual assault from three women.
After every MLB team answered "no," the Yokohama DeNA Baystars just emphatically answered "yes."
Bauer has agreed to a one-year deal with the Baystars of Japan's Nippon Professional League, according to Yuki Yamada of Sankei Sports. The contract is reportedly worth $4 million plus incentives if he passes a physical. The Dodgers, who officially released Bauer on Jan. 12, are responsible for paying the remainder of his $22.5 million salary for 2023.
By the time Bauer takes the field in April, assuming he's ready to pitch by then, it will have been 21 months since he last pitched in an MLB game in June 2021. Bauer has spent that time insisting upon his innocence and fighting a suspension that ultimately spanned about a season and a half.
Bauer's Dodgers career ended following sexual assault accusations by three women
The winner of the NL Cy Young Award in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Bauer was supposed to spend the 2023 season on the final year of a three-year, $102.5 million contract with the Dodgers. That tenure was put on permanent pause during his first season with the team, however, when he was accused of choking a California woman to unconsciousness and assaulting her during a sexual encounter.
Bauer was placed on paid administrative leave and has since been accused of similar actions by two women in Ohio. Prosecutors declined to criminally charge the right-hander, who has insisted all such encounters were consensual while pursuing legal action against the first accuser and assorted media outlets. Some of those legal battles have not yet been resolved.
MLB investigated the accusations against Bauer for months and announced in April 2022 that it was suspending him an unprecedented 324 games, or two full seasons, under its policy covering domestic violence and sexual assault.
No previous punishment came close to Bauer's sanctions. What's more, the league typically includes administrative leave in such a suspension as time served but opted against extending the courtesy to Bauer. He then became the first MLB player to appeal a domestic violence or sexual assault suspension from MLB.
That wasn't the end of it, as Bauer's appeal led to another months-long wait for resolution. That came last month, when a neutral arbitrator ruled that Bauer's suspension would be reduced to 194 games — the amount of time he had already missed and still the longest such suspension in league history — and his administrative leave would be counted as time served.
Bauer was immediately reinstated, and two weeks later, the Dodgers cut him loose by designating him for assignment. The roster move left the Dodgers on the hook for Bauer's 2023 salary, minus 50 games' worth of pay to cover what they paid him during the leave that was later turned into an unpaid suspension, which comes out to $22.5 million.