The Dodgers have been quiet in free agency this offseason. Usually, that’s par for the course. The front office likes to operate in the shadows and off the radar of other clubs. MLB super agent Scott Boras likened the Dodgers to a submarine on Tuesday, operating silent but always being involved.
However, this offseason has felt different. Amongst fans, the silence is louder than usual. Maybe that’s because the team has openly told us that the 2023 payroll is fairly front of mind after exceeding the luxury tax threshold for two straight seasons. Plus, Andrew Friedman, Brandon Gomes, and Dave Roberts have all painted a picture of a youth movement coming next season.
But, MLB insider Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic shared that there might be more top of mind for the boys in blue. In a column on Wednesday, the insider revealed that the team is reluctant to engage on any top tier free agents because of the uncertainty surrounding estranged pitcher Trevor Bauer, who is appealing a 324 game suspension.
Here’s the excerpt from Rosenthal.
As the Dodgers wait to learn whether Major League Baseball will uphold Trevor Bauer’s two-year suspension for violating the league’s policy on sexual assault and domestic violence, club officials are uncertain how much back pay, if any, they will owe the pitcher.
Bauer stands to lose $60 million in salary. If his suspension is upheld, the Dodgers will not owe him anything. But if the suspension is overturned or reduced, the Dodgers as a third-time luxury-tax offender would be assessed penalties on top of his salary. As noted by the Los Angeles Times, the team’s total payout could exceed $100 million.
A decision on Bauer’s appeal could be coming soon. Late in November, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times said that “the arbitrator’s decision is expected no earlier than next month.”
If a decision does come before the new year, it could either make or break the team’s offseason planning. If the suspension is upheld, then we may see some free agent activity happen fairly quickly. And, if the suspension is reduced or lifted, then things get pretty tricky for the front office.
Bauer is under contract for the 2023 season after signing a three year deal ahead of the 2021 season. He has not appeared in a game since July of that year.