We’d love nothing more than to stop talking about Trevor Bauer, but the reality for Los Angeles Dodgers fans is that this won’t be settled until the LA District Attorney’s Office takes the necessary next steps and MLB concludes its investigation.
For now, many are wondering how much longer Bauer will be associated with the franchise and how his contract will affect the organization’s spending heading into 2022.
Bauer remains on administrative leave as we wait … and wait … and wait. He’ll sadly be destroying the Dodgers’ 2022 payroll to the tune of a $45 million salary against the luxury tax, which, in all honesty, is the organization’s fault. Deal with it. Awful signing all around, without question.
It really wouldn’t surprise us if this unresolved matter contributed to the Dodgers’ lack of aggression in retaining Corey Seager and/or Max Scherzer. Because, per MLB insider Ken Rosenthal, it’s going to be very difficult for the Dodgers to absolve themselves of Bauer’s money.
The Dodgers are going to have a tough time with Trevor Bauer’s contract.
Here’s what Rosenthal said on The Athletic Baseball Show:
"“If [Bauer] is suspended, then yes, the luxury charge against the Dodgers would not exist, because he would not be getting paid … I do expect he will be suspended. It will be retroactive, and who knows how long it will go on. Now, that’s something we know if he’s suspended (they’ll get the break on the luxury tax). If he is released following suspension … the Dodgers would face a luxury tax charge if he is released, as any team would. When you release a player who is under contract, you have to pay the contract and the luxury tax charge counts … This is one of the many outstanding questions with the Bauer situation. What will the Dodgers will do? How will that affect their luxury tax payroll? Will Bauer file a grievance if he’s release? He’ll possibly file a grievance if he’s suspended. I do not expect him to play for the Dodgers again and I do expect this to become an issue at some point.”"
This isn’t necessarily new information, but now it’s coming directly from a reputable source as we get closer to a potential resolution. The reality is the Dodgers might be stuck paying Bauer should he draw out the process with grievances. Remember, the last time a contract was voided came back in 2008 when Shawn Chacon, who was with the Astros at the time, grabbed Houston GM Ed Wade by the throat and threw him to the ground.
The Braves couldn’t void Marcell Ozuna’s contract even after police caught him in the act of choking his wife last year. The only way the Dodgers can truly get out of this is if Bauer is suspended for all of 2022, which would only leave them on the hook for his small 2023 salary. But if he’s only suspended a portion of the season and MLB makes part of his punishment retroactive to the beginning of July, it’s going to be a tough road for LA.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Bauer’s return to social media has been painful, cringey and embarrassing. From throwing balls into the radar gun at Top Golf to whatever this was with Rachel Luba, there’s arguably never been a bigger buyer’s remorse in modern baseball history.
Barring a fortuitous turn of events, expect the Dodgers to pay every last penny of that wasted $103 million.