Trevor Bauer received a record two-year suspension from Major League Baseball on Friday for violating its domestic violence policy, a significant punishment for an elite pitcher who now sees his future in the game uncertain.
Yet unlike the 15 players previously suspended under MLB’s domestic violence policy, Bauer will contest his suspension all the way. He appealed the MLB suspension and remains eligible to pitch until an umpire affirms, reduces, or reverses the league’s ruling. Since MLB and the MLB Players’ Association jointly agreed to its domestic violence policy in 2015, all 15 players have accepted or negotiated suspensions ranging in length from 15 to 162 games.
Bauer hasn’t pitched since June, when a San Diego woman filed a sexual assault lawsuit against him, and he’s been placed on administrative leave by MLB since July, during which he received his salary. Any suspension under the domestic violence policy would not be paid.
“In the strongest possible terms, I deny any violation of the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy,” Bauer said in a statement released by its representatives. “I am appealing this action and hope to prevail. As we have done throughout this process, my representatives and I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.”
Bauer, 31, signed a three-year, $102 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021, months after winning the National League’s Cy Young Award in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He won eight of his first 17 starts with the Dodgers, but in June he was accused by a San Diego woman of assault during two sexual encounters; Bauer countered that their interactions were “entirely consensual.”
Under the Joint Domestic Violence Policy, players can be suspended if there are no criminal charges; only one suspended player—former Atlanta outfielder Hector Olivera—has served time in prison on charges.
Other suspended players have been criminally charged but have had their charges dropped, often after partners decided not to cooperate with prosecutors. In Bauer’s case, MLB waited to impose discipline after a long period in which Los Angeles County prosecutors chose not to charge Bauer with a felony, a decision revealed Feb. 8.
In August, a protective order against Bauer was overturned by a Los Angeles judge, a decision made after more than nine hours of testimony from Bauer’s accuser. Bauer invoked his Fifth Amendment rights during the hearing.
As the legal ramifications unfolded, Bauer, the union, and MLB agreed to several extensions to his administrative leave, but with the 2022 season unfolding and Bauer apparently absconding legally, the pitcher had to a disciplinary verdict from MLB.
In addition to the California accuser, Bauer was also the subject of a protective order filed by a woman from Ohio in 2020, according to The Washington Post. The woman’s complaint, which remains sealed, alleges that Bauer choked and struck her without her consent during sexual encounters in 2017 and 2018 and later sent threatening messages to her on social media.
Bauer has pitched for the Diamondbacks, Indians, Reds and Dodgers during his career, finding his greatest success with Cincinnati. He posted a 1.73 ERA in 11 starts during the shortened 2020 season before agreeing to a contract with the Dodgers in February 2021.
“Today we were advised that MLB has concluded its investigation into the allegations against Trevor Bauer, and the commissioner has issued his decision regarding discipline,” the Dodgers said in a statement Friday. “The Dodgers organization takes all allegations of this nature very seriously and does not condone or condone any act of domestic violence or sexual assault.
“We have fully cooperated with MLB’s investigation since its inception, and we fully support MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy and enforcement of policy by the commissioner. We understand that Trevor has the right to appeal the commissioner’s decision. . Therefore, we will not comment further until the process is complete.”
Bauer’s suspension is effective immediately and, unlike others, is not retroactive. If confirmed by an independent arbitrator, he will remain suspended beyond the remaining length of his contract with the Dodgers and through the 2024 season.
The suspension would also cost Bauer nearly $60 million in salary — the $32 million he is owed in 2023 as well as nearly $28 million still owed for the rest of this season.