The Los Angeles Dodgers made a resounding splash last offseason by signing Trevor Bauer to a record-setting three-year, $102 million contract. However the bold move as defending World Series champions backfired and now is impacting the club in free agency.
Bauer made 17 starts for the Dodgers before being placed on administrative leave amid allegations of sexual assault. He remained on the restricted list through the conclusion of the World Series and exercised a $32 million player option for the 2022 season.
It’s considered unlikely Bauer ever takes the mound again for the Dodgers, but the team could still find themselves responsible for paying the remainder of his contract.
During an interview at the general managers meetings, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman admitted the uncertainty with Bauer is affecting the club in free agency this winter, via Bill Plunkett of the Southern California News Group:
Friedman did acknowledge that Bauer’s situation “will have some impact” on the team’s payroll and, by extension, decisions on player acquisitions.
“We understand that there are a range of outcomes. We don’t know what they are. We don’t know the likelihood,” Friedman said. “Right now, we’re just proceeding as if we’re trying to do everything we can to put the best team together. We expect along the way we’ll get information that will be helpful. And then we’ll react.”
Although Judge Dianna Gould-Saltman dissolved the temporary restraining order that had been filed against Bauer, he remains subject to potential criminal charges. The Pasadena Police Department turned their findings over to the L.A. district attorney’s office, who hasn’t decided whether or not to take action. Meanwhile, MLB is yet to wrap up their investigation and reportedly have not spoken with Bauer.
It’s plausible the Dodgers may have been hesitant to re-sign Scherzer if the terms went beyond a certain threshold and the lack of clarity on potential salary owed to Bauer likely hindered their pursuit.
Scherzer wound up agreeing to a three-year, $130 million contract with the New York Mets.
What is Bauer’s future with the Dodgers?
MLB’s ongoing investigation has taken the matter out of the hands with the Dodgers, and Friedman recently reiterated the club is not certain of what lies ahead for Bauer.
“It’s no different than where we were in July, August and September,” answered Friedman when asked if Bauer would ever throw another pitch for the Dodgers.
“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.”
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