The Los Angeles Dodgers aggressively bolstered their starting rotation last offseason by signing Trevor Bauer to a record-setting contract. The addition both sent shockwaves through the sport and drew criticism for the organization because of Bauer’s checkered past.
Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman assured the front office did their due diligence and were confident Bauer would be a positive influence in the clubhouse and community. Bauer’s time with the team this season came to an end in July amid sexual assault allegations.
MLB placed Bauer on the restricted list as they launched an investigation into the claims brought forth. An ex parte temporary restraining order was dissolved in August, though the L.A. County District Attorney’s office may still bring forth charges, and MLB is expected to levy a punishment.
As Bauer’s administrative leave was extended each week until the middle of September when the right-hander was ruled out through the 2021 postseason, one question continued to hover over the franchise.
Will Bauer ever pitch for the Dodgers again?
“It’s no different than where we were in July, August and September,” answered president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman when posed with that question during his end-of-season press conference at Dodger Stadium.
“From our standpoint, it’s being handled by the league office. As soon as something is decided, obviously we will come down and talk through it extensively with you guys. But until that happens, we have to reserve comment.”
Friedman added the Dodgers do not have any sense for a timetable of when MLB will conclude their investigation into Bauer.
It was previously reported the league would likely suspend the 30-year-old, potentially for multiple seasons.
How will Bauer investigation impact Dodgers in free agency?
Another layer to the Bauer saga is its impact on the Dodgers this offseason. Starting pitching will be a focal point for the team in free agency, but their spending power and potential luxury tax implications are tied to Bauer’s contract — which includes a $32 million player option for 2022.
“Obviously it will have some. The extent of it, I don’t know yet. But obviously it’s something real and we have to figure out what that means,” Friedman said of the free agency impact with Bauer’s future being unclear.
“It will more fall out of whatever MLB, after they’ve conducted their investigation and whatever they decide is what they decide. We’ll have to figure out from there what makes the most sense for us. We talked a lot in Spring Training, we were on the much more aggressive side with our payroll this year.
“In other years we’ve not been as aggressive. In certain years we’re able to be more aggressive, and certain years we peel back, but always having that core talent in place to be able to go out and win. The No. 1 objective for us is going to be to put ourselves in the best position to win in 2022, and I feel confident we’ll be able to do that.”
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