Former Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer signs with Japanese team
Trevor Bauer, effectively exiled from Major League Baseball after his suspension for violating the league’s sexual assault policy expired, has agreed to play in Japan.
The Yokohama BayStars have reached agreement on a contract with Bauer, the team announced Monday.
The contract is worth $3 million in salary and performance incentives, plus marketing incentives, according to a person familiar with the deal but not authorized to discuss it. It does not guarantee Bauer the option to leave should a major league team offer him a job during the 2023 season.
Yokohama was one of multiple Japanese teams to consider a possible contract with Bauer.
“I am very excited to be able to play for the BayStars this season,” Bauer said in a statement released by the team. “It is my dream to play in the Japanese professional baseball world, and I will be able to show that dream in front of the fans. ... I miss the players and the fans. I’m already looking forward to it, and I’m looking forward to seeing you in the city of Yokohama.”
Bauer will wear No. 96 for the BayStars.
The Dodgers released Bauer rather than reinstate him to their roster. They remain liable for his $22.5-million MLB salary this season. Had Bauer signed with another major league team, that team would have paid Bauer the MLB minimum of $720,000 and the Dodgers would have paid the balance.
The Dodgers were right to release Trevor Bauer after his 194-game suspension for violating MLB’s policy on domestic violence and sexual assault.
In December, an arbitrator terminated Bauer’s suspension, which would have extended into the 2024 season. Had the suspension remained in effect, Bauer would have been unable to sign in Japan, where MLB suspensions are honored, a league official said Monday.
Bauer, 32, the 2020 National League Cy Young winner, signed a three-year, $102-million contract with the Dodgers before the 2021 season. The suspension cost him — and saved the Dodgers — $37.5 million. He made 17 starts for the team, including his last MLB appearance on June 28, 2021.
The next day, a San Diego woman who had met Bauer online requested a permanent restraining order against him, providing medical records that showed she was diagnosed with “assault by manual strangulation” and “acute head injury” after the second of two sexual encounters with him.
The restraining order was denied by a judge who ruled Bauer posed no future threat to the woman. Bauer maintains the sex was rough but consensual and the woman was not visibly injured when she left his home after the encounter. He was not charged with a crime.
The league put him on investigative leave and later suspended him. Even with the arbitrator reducing the penalty from 324 to 194 games, the suspension remains the longest ever levied under MLB’s policy against sexual assault and domestic violence.
Bauer maintains he has done nothing wrong. Sankei Sports reported that Yokohama officials had researched those issues and discussed them with Bauer before offering him a contract, but no details were reported.
Trevor Bauer is officially no longer a Dodger, but don’t expect management to own up to its mistakes involving the controversial pitcher.
Bauer has sued six parties for defamation, including the San Diego woman, who responded by suing him back and alleging sexual battery. Three of the defamation suits have been dismissed.
Bauer asked a U.S. District Court judge to throw out the woman’s countersuit against him, arguing her failure to secure a restraining order necessarily meant he had not committed assault or battery.
In denying the request, Judge James Selna wrote that “the state court proceedings did not necessarily decide that Bauer did not batter or sexually assault [her].”
Bauer’s attorneys have said, “No settlements or cash offers have or ever will be made” to the woman. A trial is scheduled for next February. Any expression of apology by Bauer would likely become problematic for him at trial.
Will Trevor Bauer play Major League Baseball again? What executives around the league are saying
The Dodgers were unable to trade Trevor Bauer by Thursday’s deadline and he was released. He will find a hostile market in search for a new team.
Bauer is believed to be the second player to win a Cy Young Award and then play in Japan.
In 1962, before retiring at age 37, Dodgers great Don Newcombe played a farewell season for Chunichi, as an outfielder and first baseman. Newcombe hit .262 with 12 home runs in 81 games, and a .789 on-base-plus-slugging percentage.
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