We’re nearing the 10-month mark of Trevor Bauer throwing his last pitch as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He was placed on Major League Baseball’s Administrative Leave list days after his June 28, 2021 start against the San Francisco Giants after he was accused of sexual assault.
That investigation lasted months, but ultimately came to a conclusion of sort a few months ago when the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office decided not to pursue criminal charges against Bauer, which many believed would expedite MLB’s investigation and decision on his ability to play.
But it hasn’t. He’s had his administrative leave stay extended through April 29 while he continues to sue various publications and, most recently, the woman who accused him of the sexual assault.
Though some would argue the Dodgers should just outright release Bauer before a decision is made, it’s not that simple. There are financial and legal implications at play here.
On the financial side, if MLB decides to suspend Bauer, the Dodgers will save whatever amount of money that is against the payroll (it depends on the length of his suspension). On the legal side, Bauer could sue the Dodgers if he’s released before MLB’s investigation concludes.
It’s an all-around ugly situation and a horrible look for just about everyone involved.
MLB putting off Trevor Bauer’s decision is hurting the Dodgers
What’s puzzling is that MLB has dealt with plenty of similar cases in the past. Marcell Ozuna, Roberto Osuna, Odubel Herrera, Steven Wright and Sam Dyson are all recent examples. Though all of those were of the domestic violence variety, none took this long and, in some instances, the legal process didn’t even play much of a role in the league’s ultimate decision.
Now that Bauer’s legal process is all but officially finished, what’s taking commissioner Rob Manfred so long? Why is he allowing this situation to persist in purgatory, leaving all parties susceptible to criticism and bad press?
MLB looks bad because, well, it just usually does. And we’re coming up on a year of inactivity on the Bauer front. The Dodgers look bad because some fans either want him gone ASAP (because of the heinous nature of the allegations) or back on the field (because the law decided he won’t be charged with anything). But because MLB keeps dragging its feet, the Dodgers are stuck in the mud waiting.
Do we really want a situation where Bauer has more time to figure out a way to force his way back into action? Do we really want more negative fan discourse every time Bauer posts something on social media or continues his legal crusade against anyone and everyone who he believes wronged him?
This situation needed to be put to bed AT LEAST before the start of the 2022 season. Though the lockout prevented that from happening, there’s been plenty of time for the league to move forward and be more proactive. Perhaps there’s something we don’t know that’s holding up the proceedings behind closed doors, but based on everything we’ve heard and read, it seems fairly straightforward and obvious.
But that’s what Manfred and MLB struggle with most anyway, right?