There’s been plenty of news lately about spending in baseball. There was a whole lot of pending during the winter meetings, and new records were set, with the Mets leading the pack. Players with known skills on the field and character off of it were the big winners. Aaron Judge will make an average of 40 million dollars for the next nine seasons. Actually, he’ll make that amount regardless of “seasons” because baseball contracts are guaranteed. For example, unless Judge voluntarily retires he’s going to see every penny of his contract. There are a few exceptions. If an MLB player is caught with performance-enhancing drugs in his system he could lose all or part of his salary. But if, by chance Judge’s skills drop off and he’s released he, like every other player who doesn’t violate the “rules”, will get their salaries – in full.
Bauer’s last game was in June 2021. He was put on administrative leave. Then, in April of 2022, Bauer was suspended for two years by MLB’s Commissioner Rob Manfred. The suspension was the longest in MLB history. I described 6 months ago that there was no apparent justification for any suspension, let alone two years.
The MLB Players Association, like the Dodgers, didn’t want to touch any part of the Bauer case. Bauer’s union left him out to dry. Discipline was left to the doddering fool, Manfred. He was allowed to do “whatever he wanted” and did just that. To repeat, I am appalled and disgusted by Bauer’s sexual proclivities, but being a sexual weirdo isn’t the collective bargaining agreement nor is it a crime. Bauer never disputed he is into rough sex.
The San Diego woman who started the firestorm requested a restraining order. Bauer was suspended by MLB, and a four-day hearing followed. The woman lost. The TRO smelled of a “payday.” Since his suspension in April, photos of the woman in bed with Bauer have circulated on social media. In the photos, she doesn’t appear distressed. She is just lying there next to a sleeping Bauer. Further, there are text messages in which she asked to be choked to unconsciousness. Creepy? Oh yeah. Illegal? No.
A second woman came forward and also claimed similar, rough sex injuries. That happened in Ohio when Bauer was pitching for the Reds. Her claim went down the same rabbit hole as the more recent woman but Bauer has threatened to sue her for defamation and she dropped the claim.
I wrote back in April:
My guess is, Rob Manfred’s ruling has little to do with provable facts and more to do with optics and bending a knee to the cultural left and the “believe all women” crowd. At present, all we know is that two women claimed they were “hurt” during rough sex. Trevor Bauer denies any of it was non-consensual. What Manfred seems to have done is discount and disbelieve all of Bauer’s testimony/evidence and believe, without dispute, that both women told the absolute truth. And for Manfred, his calculus could have been as simplistic and unnuanced as “two against one.”
There seems little room that Manfred could claim otherwise. That, or Manfred knows that his ruling has little hope of surviving the appeal process and took the coward’s path by making a ruling that would please the “believe all women” side. When Bauer appeals, and he will — and in my opinion, he will prevail — Manfred can still claim hero status for the left and offer, “I tried.” He can hold his head up high at the tony New York cocktail parties.
Turns out the arbitrator thought it was (kinda) a bogus suspension. He gave Bauer 194 games for being a weirdo. And that’s plenty. Bauer is now eligible to play in the 2023 season, but will he play? The moment that the union and the Dodgers organization likely saw coming but dreaded is now here.
The Dodgers have some options – all of them end up paying Bauer what remains on his contract minus 50 games he will be docked from the 2023 season. His attorney wasn’t happy that Bauer is forfeiting about a third of his salary for 2023, but now the ball is in the Dodgers’ hands. They can cut him outright, and then Bauer could play for another team while Dodgers pay his salary. They could keep him and use him in the bullpen or as a starter. They could trade him if there are any teams willing to take on his baggage. The Dodgers have 14 days to make a decision and have issued a milquetoast statement. If they planned his return to the roster they would have said so.
In this morning’s Los Angeles Times, the predictable was written. Bill Plaschke wants Bauer gone, like, now. As in “14 seconds ago.” At the close of his column, he asked “Did this player just serve a record-long suspension for alleged violence against women?”
Yes, Bill, he did. Not for violence against women, but for the allegation. I make no apologies for looking at allegations through the lens of a lawyer (sorry, not sorry).
If two women came forward and alleged that a sports columnist with the LA Times committed violence against them, and he denied it, showed evidence that it was rough sex, and sued everyone involved to get his job back, would that famous sports columnist be willing to quit if the allegations were against him? I doubt it.
Again, I think Bauer is a weirdo, and I’ve never understood why that type of “sex” is a turn-on. And, if I owned the Dodgers I’d likely release him and wish him luck. But sports writers have a tendency to high-horse everything and forget that Bauer, almost 2 years later is not defending himself in court either civil or criminal. No prosecutor brought charges because it (in my opinion) was rough sex not “violence against women”. Allegations aren’t enough, Bill. If he wants to believe “All women” he might get bit someday.
In any event, my guess is, they will cut him, and issue a public statement wishing Bauer “The very best”. And the Dodgers will eat a few million. It’s a pretty cheap deal in baseball economics. Because this is the last year of his contract the Bauer “era” will end in 2023 one way or another.