Pasadena police are continuing to investigate Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer for felony assault after a woman accused him of choking her until she lost consciousness and injuring her over the course of two sexual encounters. Bauer is on an administrative leave from the Dodgers as MLB completes its own investigation. That leave — which is paid and does not constitute a disciplinary action — was extended by Major League Baseball through July 15.
Through his agent, Bauer has denied the allegations, saying the encounters were consensual.
The Times answers a series of questions about what might happen next.
What happens after the seven-day administrative leave expires?
After Bauer’s second week of administrative leave ends next Thursday, MLB can extend the administrative leave only with consent of the MLB players union. That means Bauer won’t be on the Dodgers’ active roster, but the team will still be on the hook for his salary.
The Dodgers can’t suspend Bauer on their own volition because MLB holds that authority under the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy, which was enacted in 2015. The team can only act if Commissioner Rob Manfred transfers disciplinary authority to them.
If the MLBPA rejects any further extension of Bauer’s leave, it’s less clear what would happen. MLB could suspend Bauer based on the findings of its investigation to that point, or the Dodgers could put him back on their roster. It’s worth noting, though, that the union has not withdrawn consent for administrative leave before, so such a situation would be without precedent.
MLB doesn’t need to wait for criminal investigation to end before deciding whether sexual assault allegations warrant suspending Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer
Can the Dodgers void Bauer’s contract?
No. Such a unilateral decision would violate the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, which both MLB and the Players’ Association have agreed on. Under that policy, Manfred has the authority to suspend Bauer (in which case, the Dodgers wouldn’t need to pay him for the duration of his suspension), but the Dodgers themselves can’t do anything unless Manfred transfers disciplinary authority to them.
The standard player contract allows for termination if a player shall, “fail, refuse or neglect to conform his personal conduct to the standards of good citizenship and good sportsmanship.” If such language is included in Bauer’s deal, then perhaps the team could get out of it depending on the results of MLB and the Pasadena police’s investigations. Such a step, however, would be drastic, and unlikely not imminent.
The Dodgers unnecessarily signed a pitcher with a history of making troublesome decisions when they already had the best team in baseball.
Is Major League Baseball working with the Pasadena Police Department on an investigation?
No. The MLB investigation is “a separate and independent investigation,” Pasadena police told The Times’ Bill Shaikin earlier this week.
The Pasadena PD hasn’t given a timeline for when its investigation will conclude. Once it does, the district attorney will decide whether to prosecute Bauer. To convict Bauer criminally, his guilt needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
MLB doesn’t need to prove Bauer guilty in court — it can suspend him without charges being filed. As The Times’ Mike DiGiovanna wrote Thursday, history shows that MLB’s threshold for suspension is lower than that of the judicial system, as several players have been suspended for domestic violence even when charges were not filed against them.
Who are the lawyers representing the woman?
The woman’s request for a restraining order against Bauer was filed by Marc Garelick of Meyer, Olson, Lowy & Meyers, a Los Angeles-based family law firm. Garelick manages the firm’s Orange County office.
According to Garelick’s bio, his specialty is “highly contentious and sophisticated litigation in family law courts.” He says he helps clients in particular with decisions on whether to pursue a settlement or litigate cases. Garelick didn’t respond to The Times when asked whether he would continue representing the woman should the case go to civil or criminal court.
Who’s representing Bauer?
Bauer’s agents are Rachel Luba and Jon Fetterolf. A white-collar lawyer in addition to his work as an agent, Fetterolf has taken the lead in defending Bauer so far. He’s used an aggressive public strategy, naming the victim in statements, a strategy that he has employed in the past.
His history includes two cases involving Major League Baseball players. He represented Alfredo Simon when a woman said she was raped by the pitcher in 2013; Simon paid the woman $150,000 in a 2015 settlement. He also defended Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez against an accusation of assault resulting from a 2014 altercation outside a St. Louis bar; that case was dismissed in 2019.
Additionally, Fetterolf has represented companies and individuals against antitrust, bribery and other financially based charges. Fetterolf did not respond to an email asking whether he plans to continue representing Bauer should the case go to trial.
Fetterolf works for the ZS Sports division within Zuckerman Spaeder, an East Coast firm that specializes in white-collar defense, business litigation and a number of other areas. ZS Sports advertises itself as having expertise in crisis litigation, arbitration and investigations. Fetterolf, along with Luba, also helped negotiate Bauer’s contract with the Dodgers, which made him the game’s highest-paid player this year.
Will Bauer be criminally charged?
Lawyers told The Times last week that in this case, obtaining a conviction could be hard because the woman returned for a second sexual encounter, and because of text messages released by Bauer’s camp showing the woman encouraging rough sex. The bar for guilt in a criminal court is proof beyond reasonable doubt, and while a “he said, she said” case might find Bauer guilty in the court of public opinion, that will be much harder in a courtroom. The district attorney’s office could also hesitate to prosecute a high-profile case it may not win.
The Times asked local attorneys to discuss the issues raised by a woman who filed a restraining order request against Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer and what may happen next in the case.
If more women come forward alleging similar acts by Bauer, however, it would increase the likelihood of a criminal case. According to the prosecutors and defense lawyers with whom The Times spoke, it seems more likely that the case will go to civil court, where the bar for a verdict against Bauer is a preponderance of evidence and Bauer could face a large indemnity.
How long will this take to play out?
Though there’s been no timeline set for the completion of the police investigation, a case like this can take a long time to work its way through the legal system, particularly with a high-profile client whose lawyers will be adept at holding things up. Whether or not more women come forward will affect the timeline of both investigations as well.
From the MLB side, a lot depends on whether the MLBPA consents to extending Bauer’s administrative leave past next week. If it does, that gives the league more time to investigate the woman’s claims. Any MLB investigation faces the barrier that the league, unlike law enforcement, does not have subpoena power.