Trevor Bauer of the Los Angeles Dodgers has been suspended by Major League Baseball for two seasons, effective immediately, for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy.
The suspension — which will cover 324 games without pay — was announced by Commissioner Rob Manfred on Friday. It came after an investigation by the league into allegations that he had sexually assaulted a woman. Bauer, who joined the Dodgers last season as a free agent, was placed on administrative leave, with pay, on July 2. A second assault allegation was reported by the Washington Post.
Bauer, 31, has been vocal in his own defense throughout the process and has filed multiple lawsuits against various people, including media members. He issued a statement on Friday condemning the decision.
“In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy,” Bauer’s statement said. “I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives and I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.”
In court filings and testimony, a woman said that she initiated contact with Bauer and began a consensual relationship in April 2021, with some agreed-upon rough sex, but that it led to sexual acts that were not consensual. She has also said she was choked with her hair until she lost consciousness. She said that she returned to Bauer’s house in Pasadena, Calif., in May and established a safe word that would signal her desire to stop but that she was again choked until she lost consciousness and was punched.
Bauer’s lawyer had said in a previous statement that his client had messages showing that the woman had asked to be choked and slapped during the encounters.
Separately, the Washington Post published an investigation revealing another incident of alleged abuse.
The Post’s reporting detailed how an Ohio woman had sought a protective order against Bauer in 2020 after accusing him of punching and choking her without consent during sex. According to that report, which relied on sealed court records and other documents, the woman dropped the request six weeks after filing it and after Bauer’s lawyers threatened legal action. Bauer called the report “a false narrative” and accused the woman of attempting extortion.
After a series of extensions of his administrative leave last season, his year officially ended on Sept. 21, when his administrative leave was extended through the end of the season. He was paid for the entirety of 2021 — his contract called for $28 million — but under the terms of his suspension he will not be paid in 2022 or 2023, the final two years of his contract with Los Angeles. If an appeal is not granted, Bauer stands to lose $64 million in salary, according to Spotrac.
Bauer’s prospects as a free agent upon his return are unknown. He will be 33 at the start of the 2024 season — still young enough to be an effective pitcher for several years — but would need a team to look past the allegations in hopes of strengthening its starting rotation. In the N.F.L., where Deshaun Watson was accused of sexual assault by numerous women — he has denied all allegations — the young quarterback was given a contract by the Cleveland Browns that guaranteed him $230 million.
The Dodgers, for whom Bauer appeared in only 17 games, issued a statement after the announcement in which the team said it supports the league’s policy but that it would not comment further because of Bauer’s right to appeal.
“The Dodgers organization takes all allegations of this nature very seriously and does not condone or excuse any acts of domestic violence or sexual assault,” the statement said. “We’ve cooperated fully with MLB’s investigation since it began, and we fully support MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy, and the Commissioner’s enforcement of the Policy.”
Bauer is the 15th player to be suspended as part of the league’s policy on domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. His suspension is twice as long as any other player has received under the policy and he is the first of the players to say he would appeal the decision, making this uncharted territory for both player and league.