The Dodgers have three days left to decide whether to keep or release pitcher Trevor Bauer, whose 324-game suspension was shortened to 194 games 11 days ago, making him eligible immediately to return to the field. While everyone has their guesses about what L.A. will do, no one really knows — possibly including the Dodgers themselves.
Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times has a new article out that talks about the logistics, the pros and cons, and everything else related to Bauer’s potential reinstatement. There’s one tidbit in Shaikin’s article that presents some new information:
No current player is believed to have commented publicly since the arbitrator reinstated Bauer. But the front office has been told at least some players want Bauer back, people with knowledge of the situation but not authorized to speak publicly told The Times.
In 2021, shortly after Bauer was put on investigative leave, The Times reported a majority of players did not want Bauer back. (Of the 20 players who participated in the Dodgers’ 2021 postseason opener, six remain with the team.)
To be clear, both of these things could be true. Some players could want Bauer back while, at the same time, a majority of players don’t. Bauer has claimed that his teammates support him, and earlier this week he mocked reporters who quoted anonymous sources saying no one wanted him. Of course, the fact that there are only anonymous sources — that no one is willing to go on the record supporting him — probably tells you a lot about the divisive nature of the situation.
I keep wondering if public perception would be different if commissioner Rob Manfred hadn’t bungled things. The fact is, an independent arbitrator said Bauer deserved a 194-game suspension for his conduct. If Manfred had suspended him for 194 games and the arbitrator upheld the suspension, the general sentiment might be different. As it is, Bauer received the longest suspension in the history of the league’s sexual assault policy but walks away with a “victory” of having his suspension shortened from “the longest” to “still the longest but not quite as long.”
If reports are true that L.A. shied away from pursuing Carlos Correa because he’s a cheater, it’s hard to see them bringing back a guy who got suspended for sexual assault. But if there are a significant number of players who want him back — and, to be clear, we don’t know if there are; “some players” could be as few as two — ownership might take that into account when making their decision.
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