Former Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer will sign in Japan

Free agent right-hander Trevor Bauer has agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball, as first reported by Japan’s Sankei Sports (Twitter link). Bauer was suspended 324 games under MLB’s combined domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policies. Back in December, commissioner Rob Manfred announced that Bauer’s suspension, on appeal, had been reduced to the 194 games he had already served. He was promptly reinstated and the Dodgers released him the following month.

Bauer has been a free agent for the past two months, eligible to sign with any Major League Baseball team in the minor leagues, as the Dodgers are on the remainder of his 2023 salary with terms from the previous three years. $102 million contract they signed him to. No team chose to do so. It appears Bauer will now head overseas to play in Japan’s NPB, widely regarded as the second best league in the world behind MLB, perhaps with the goal of eventually returning to Major League Baseball.

When the Dodgers originally signed Bauer, he was entering his age-30 season after winning the National League Cy Young in the shortened 2020 season. Bauer, then a member of the Reds, threw 73 innings of 1.73 ERA ball, striking out an elite 36% of his opponents against a 6.1% walk rate on the road. He’s off to a successful start in 17 starts with the Dodgers (2.59 ERA 31.7% strikeout rate, 8.6% walk rate) and carries a 3.07 earned run average over his last 569 big league innings.

Bauer’s Dodgers tenure came to an abrupt end when it was revealed in June 2021 that a woman in California had filed a restraining order against him alleging that he had sexually assaulted him. An investigation has been launched by both Major League Baseball and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Bauer has spent the remainder of the 2021 season on paid administrative leave, a status mutually agreed upon between MLB and the MLBPA that is not considered punitive in nature. (Administrative leave is common when players are investigated under domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policies.) During this time, two other women, both in Ohio, came forward with similar allegations against Bauer. The incidents alleged in those complaints occurred prior to the incidents alleged in California.

In August 2021, the California plaintiff’s request for a long-term restraining order against Bauer was denied. The judge ruled that Bauer did not pose a continuing danger to the woman. Months later, the Los Angeles County District Attorney declined to file criminal charges. While the DA has not declared Bauer’s innocence, the department said: “.

Major League Baseball’s domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policies, however, do not require criminal charges. Manfred, after his own review of the evidence, opined that Bauer did violate the policy and imposed that record 324-game suspension, which was reduced to 194 games in December. In the immediate aftermath of Bauer’s recovery, reports surfaced that several teams were completely uninterested in pursuing Bauer: the Yankees, Mets, Padres, Twins and Cubs.

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