There’s a good chance Los Angeles Dodgers fans have seen the last of Trevor Bauer. Depending on how the investigation into the sexual assault allegations he’s facing transpires, there’s also a chance baseball fans have seen the last of him.
But for now, everything hangs in the balance. Bauer’s administrative leave has been extended for a second time since being away from the team on July 2. Now, he’ll be out until at least July 27 as the Pasadena Police Department continues its probe.
Most fans (yup, sadly there’s a small sect of supporters who continue to defend Bauer) are disgusted and want him no longer associated with the Dodgers. Though the team botched attempts to make good (as best they could) on the situation when they had the opportunity (Dave Roberts’ comments from a couple weeks ago and Stan Kasten’s comments this week), the decision was made to cancel Bauer’s bobblehead night on Aug. 19 and remove all of his gear from the official team store. The decision-making is trending toward eventually erasing Bauer.
LA Times columnist says the Dodgers should release Trevor Bauer … now.
Some want him gone now. And Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke echoed that sentiment with an op-ed on Thursday. That would certainly send a message … but it’s a bit complicated.
The Dodgers simply cannot do it yet, even if you take the money aspect out of the equation. Eating $100 million wouldn’t exactly be ideal, but a $3.57 billion franchise could theoretically do it.
There are other issues stemming from cutting ties with Bauer at this very moment. Again, they could probably deal with whatever stems from such an extreme decision, but it could get messy with the MLBPA and any legal action Bauer would likely opt to engage in.
"“By releasing Bauer, it could cost them the nearly $100 million remaining on his contract. It would probably also result in all sorts of legal action taken against the team by MLB, the players’ union, and Bauer, whose contract is actually protected by the same policy which has led to his administrative leave,” Bill Plaschke wrote in his column for the Los Angeles Times, urging the team to cut Bauer anyway."
MLB admittedly has dropped the ball. The fact that there isn’t any provision stating teams can void contracts or amend language in contracts after players are accused/arrested/found guilty for domestic violence or sexual assault is an egregious oversight. Yes, due process does need to play a role, but if a team no longer wants the baggage (or simply doesn’t want to support a suspected domestic/sexual abuser!) there should be some sort of way out.
In the end, there’s no doubt MLB and the MLBPA are going to work towards hammering out a more definitive policy for such cases given what’s happened in recent years. And with high-profile players such as Bauer and Atlanta Braves outfielder Marcell Ozuna being embroiled in such controversies, something certainly needs to be done.
Once there’s more of a clear avenue to do so, then you can expect the Dodgers to cut ties with Bauer. But for now, he’ll remain on paid leave due to all of the residual headaches the team can create by making a premature decision — even though such a move would be supported by many, anyway.