After a long five months, Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer is seemingly a free man after the Los Angeles County district attorney did not charge him with a crime following allegations of sexual assault. The DA had the following to say regarding its decision.
After a thorough review of the available evidence, including the civil restraining order proceedings, witness statements and the physical evidence, the People are unable to prove the relevant charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
With the legal side of things wrapped up for Bauer, what comes next in his potential return to the Dodgers?
WATCH: Trevor Bauer Will Not Face Criminal Charges! What’s Next For Bauer & Dodgers?
First, Major League Baseball’s investigation into Bauer and the claims made against him remain ongoing. The league was left in a holding pattern while the Pasadena Police Department and LA DA conducted and concluded their investigation. Now, MLB will be able to collect its account of the allegations from Bauer and the woman with whom he shared two sexual encounters with last year.
With the lockout still in effect, the league should technically be unable to interview Bauer, but according to The Athletic, the pitcher “could choose to speak with them in order to speed up the investigation and the league’s decision.”
Yes, MLB still can suspend Bauer. From league’s joint domestic violence policy: “A player may be subjected to disciplinary action for just cause by the Commissioner for a violation of this policy in absence of a conviction or a plea of guilty to a crime…” https://t.co/1n4JxRbsAn
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 8, 2022
Notably, MLB’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy doesn’t necessarily adhere to legal findings any which way. With that — even with no charges being filed — the league can still choose to suspend Bauer for engaging in conduct that doesn’t adhere to the policy. In that case, Bauer and his legal team will fight the suspension with full conviction. How that turns out remains to be seen.
Most baseball insiders feel that, in all likelihood, Bauer will be suspended by MLB. The suspension could be retroactive to 2021 and, depending on the length of the suspension, the pitcher could be credited with time served (for lack of a better way of putting it) from last season. With that, the Dodgers may be able to recoup some of his salary.
Still, the big question that will come from a potential suspension is, what say does the league have in how a player conducts themselves in the bedroom if the acts are legally deemed “consensual”?
That would most likely be the heart of Bauer’s argument — or more accurately, the argument of someone in this position. With that, if the league hands down a suspension, Bauer would likely appeal and the case would go to an independent arbitrator.
What About with the Dodgers?
The organization has been steadfast in letting the process fully play itself out. The legal case is done, but the team will wait to hear what the league opts to do. Baseball insiders have said that “Trevor Bauer has thrown his last pitch for the Dodgers.” But insiders aren’t quite the Dodgers or the LA front office.
On paper, with the starting rotation thin and depth not as strong as it’s been in the past, a return of Bauer would be welcome. But that’s in a perfect world. In reality, the team is facing a public relations nightmare with any decision it makes.
Bauer is owed $32 million in 2022 and $32 million for the 2023 season. Should the team choose to release him, they’ll have to pay that salary in full. As the LA Times noted, the team could argue that Bauer failed to act in accordance with the standard player contract and terminate the deal without pay, but that too would come with more litigation.