The LA DA yesterday stated there wasn’t enough evidence to prove Trevor Bauer committed a sexual assault beyond a reasonable doubt and therefore will not prosecute him. Knowing he will not face a criminal trial is of course a big win for him. So is the civil judge terminating the restraining order against him last fall. This does not, however, mean he has been exonerated…neither in the court of public opinion nor with MLB.
So what’s his future? The MLB investigation is described as ongoing. Supposedly both the California woman who had the restraining order and an Ohio woman who has also accused Bauer of assaulting her have talked with MLB investigators. Various sources have speculated that he will ultimately be suspended, and that said suspension will be a record setter—surpassing Sam Dyson’s 162 game suspension that he served in 2021.
Something to bear in mind, though: all 13 players suspended for sexual/domestic violence have chosen not to appeal their punishments. What makes anyone think that will be Trevor Bauer? There is nothing in his history that points toward meekly accepting consequences. He still forcefully insists he has done nothing wrong. He has claimed he will file suit to try to force the California woman to pay his legal fees from his defense against the restraining order. He has engaged in Twitter wars. He actually seems to enjoy confrontation. Expect him to file a grievance through the MLBPA, forcing the issue through an arbitrator.
Does appealing whatever suspension comes down mean he will be able to play in the meantime. Nope. MLB can keep him on paid leave just like they did for the final 81 games last year. One thing though, any suspension that is upheld is likely to be applied retroactively to those 81 games in 2021 and any 2022 games prior to said suspension going final.
He signed his player option for 2022. Does he really get that $32M this year, and then be able to exercise his player option for 2023 too? For 2022—yep, minus whatever portion of the season he does not play due to being suspended. 2023—yep again, with the same caveat as for 2022 plus a caveat presuming the Dodgers are unable to have the contract voided. There’s little doubt they will try to do so, but it’s rare.
Does that last part mean he will never play for the Dodgers again. Probably. Reportedly several of the Dodgers players do not want him back and would likely become vocal if they thought he might be back. It’s also very possible that he never plays in MLB again, for any team. The harder he fights, the more bad blood there will be. Players on other teams do not want him around either, not just for what he is accused of doing but also because his lawyers irrelevantly named other players who had connections with the California woman. Then there is the guaranteed PR issues/fan reaction to any attempt to add him to a team. Will any team think his unquestioned talent is worth those costs?
UPDATE: I forgot to add when to expect the suspension to be announced—not until after the lockout is over. MLB really can’t until then. No CBA means no collectively bargained domestic/sexual violence policy either.