LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Dodgers Friday announced they are cutting ties with pitcher Trevor Bauer, who recently had his Major League Baseball suspension for violations of the league's sex assault and domestic violence policies reduced to 194 games from two full seasons.
"We have decided that he will no longer be part of our organization," the team said in a statement Friday -- two weeks after an arbitrator reduced the right-hander's original suspension of two full seasons to 194 games, making Bauer eligible to return to the Dodgers.
Friday was the deadline for the Dodgers to decide whether to retain Bauer or cut him. Technically, he has been designated for assignment, meaning he will have to clear waivers before he can be officially released by the Dodgers. But that is the scenario that's expected to play out.
"The Dodgers organization believes that allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence should be thoroughly investigated, with due process given to the accused," according to the team statement.
"From the beginning, we have fully cooperated with Major League Baseball's investigation and strictly followed the process stipulated under MLB's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Two extensive reviews of all the available evidence in this case -- one by Commissioner (Rob) Manfred and another by a neutral arbitrator -- concluded that Mr. Bauer's actions warranted the longest ever active player suspension in our sport for violations of this policy.
"Now that this process has been completed, and after careful consideration, we have decided that he will no longer be part of our organization."
In a statement of his own, Bauer said he was "disappointed" by the team's announcement.
"Following two weeks of conversations around my return to the organization, I sat down with Dodgers leadership in Arizona yesterday who told me that they wanted me to return and pitch for the team this year," Bauer said. "While I am disappointed by the organization's decision today, I appreciate the wealth of support I've received from the Dodgers clubhouse. I wish the players all the best and look forward to competing elsewhere."
According to reports, the Dodgers will pay Bauer the remaining $22.5 million for the final year of his contract. He will become a free agent, and if he pitches for another team, the Dodgers would save $720,000 -- the MLB minimum -- or some prorated part of that.
Bauer signed a three-year contract with the Dodgers in February 2020, worth $102 million. The initial two-year suspension would have extended beyond his contract with the Dodgers.
After the arbitrator's Dec. 22 decision to reinstate Bauer, Major League Baseball noted the arbitrator "affirmed" that Bauer violated the league policies on domestic violence and sexual assault.
"After an exhaustive review of the available evidence the neutral arbitrator upheld an unpaid suspension of 194 games," according to MLB. "As part of the decision, the arbitrator reinstated Mr. Bauer effectively immediately, with a loss of pay covering the 144 games he was suspended during the 2022 season. In addition, the arbitrator docked Bauer's salary for the first 50 games of the 2023 season (i.e., the period covering March 30, 2023 to May 23, 2023).
"While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will abide by the neutral arbitrator's decision, which upholds baseball's longest-ever active player suspension for sexual assault or domestic violence.
"We understand this process was difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation. Due to the collectively bargained confidentiality provisions of the joint program, we are unable to provide further details at this time."
At that time, in a statement released on Twitter, Bauer's attorney, Shawn Holley, and agents Rachel Luba and Jon Fetterolf said, "While we are pleased that Mr. Bauer has been reinstated immediately, we disagree that any discipline should have been imposed. Mr. Bauer looks forward to his return to the field, where his goal remains to help his team win a WS" -- a reference to the World Series.
Bauer has not pitched for the Dodgers since June 2021. He was placed on administrative leave in July 2021, shortly after a San Diego woman came forward and alleged Bauer battered her during a pair of violent sexual encounters.
A judge initially issued a temporary restraining order against him, but later declined to extend the order, ruling after an extensive hearing that Bauer and the woman engaged in rough sex within boundaries that the woman herself helped determine.
The L.A. County District Attorney's Office also declined to pursue any charges in the case.
Bauer repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
"In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league's domestic violence & sexual assault policy," Bauer wrote on his Twitter page when the suspension was announced in April. "I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives & I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings."