NEW YORK — Trevor Bauer was reinstated Thursday by Major League Baseball’s independent arbitrator, allowing the pitcher to resume his career at the start of the 2023 season.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred was granted an unprecedented two-season suspension without pay on April 29 for violating the league’s domestic violence and sexual assault policy after a San Diego woman said Bauer beat and sexually assaulted her last year, an accusation. Archer denied.
The players’ union lodged a complaint on Bauer’s behalf, and a three-person panel chaired by independent arbitrator Martin Scheinman began hearing the case on 23 May.
Major League Baseball said Scheinman upheld the 194-game suspension but reinstated Bauer immediately. As a result, Bauer will forfeit his salary for the last 144 games of last season and for the first 50 games of next season, through May 23 if there are no deferrals.
The Dodgers will have to decide whether to keep Bauer. If they cut him off, they will be liable for the remaining salary he is owed.
“While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will abide by the neutral arbitrator’s decision, which upholds the longest suspension of players in baseball for sexual assault or domestic violence,” MLB said in a statement. “We understand that this process has been difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation.”
The 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner’s original suspension covered 324 games without pay and, if left in place, would cost him more than $60 million from a three-year, $102 million contract that began last year.
Accused Bauer sought but a restraining order against him was denied. Los Angeles prosecutors said in February that there was insufficient evidence to prove the woman’s accusations beyond a reasonable doubt.
Bauer, who has not played since the allegations emerged and MLB began investigating, has repeatedly said that everything that happened between him and the woman was consensual.
Bauer was placed on administrative leave on July 2, 2021, under the Domestic Violence Policy, an extended leave of absence 13 times.
Of the 15 players previously disciplined under the policy, the longest suspension is a full season and postseason suspension for free agent pitcher Sam Dyson in 2021. None of the players previously disciplined under the policy appear to have challenged the penalty before an arbitrator.
Bauer sued the accuser in federal court, a move that came less than three months after prosecutors decided not to file criminal charges against the pitcher. Bauer has named the woman and one of her lawyers, Niranjan Farid Thiagaraja, as defendants in the lawsuit. The Associated Press does not usually identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault.
The lawsuit says “the harm suffered by Mr. Bauer was severe” after the woman alleged he choked her unconscious, repeatedly punched her and had anal sex with her without her consent during two sexual encounters last year.
Archer said the two had rough sex at his home in Pasadena at her suggestion and followed the guidelines they had previously agreed upon.
Bauer said in a previous statement sent through his representatives that he had a “casual, fully consensual sexual relationship from 2013-2018” with the woman, which began when he was pitching for Triple-A in Columbus.
“None of our meetings ever involved a single act that was non-consensual, let alone illegal,” Bauer said. “In fact, she was the one who introduced me to smothering, both in our relationship and as a consensual act during sex. The events she described to The Washington Post — specifically the one that involved a non-consensual stranglehold she claims made up and woke up on the hotel floor — never happened in any way. of forms.”
After winning his first Cy Young title with the Cincinnati Reds in 2020, Bauer agreed to join his hometown Dodgers. He did not play after June 29 in 2021 and finished with an 8-2 record and 2.59 ERA in 17 games. He earned his salary of $28 million last year.