Just hours before Major League Baseball had to make a decision on whether or not to extend Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave stay, the veteran was hit with the longest non-lifetime ban in the sport’s history. Commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Bauer for 324 games beginning on Friday, meaning he won’t be eligible to return until late April of the 2024 season.
Bauer has since released a statement, continuing to deny all allegations made against him, and also revealed he plans to appeal MLB’s decision. But as it stands, the life of Bauer’s contract with the Dodgers is over. He’s signed through 2023, so, assuming Bauer’s appeal is unsuccessful, LA will be off the hook for the rest of Bauer’s money.
How much, exactly? What are the financial implications here? It’s actually very significant, and it’s going to benefit the Dodgers both this year and next.
Here’s what Bauer was set to make in 2022 and 2023, assuming he picked up his next option, which he probably would have:
Trevor Bauer Contract Details with the Los Angeles Dodgers
- 2022 salary: $32 million
- 2022 luxury tax salary: $34 million
- 2023 salary: $32 million
- 2023 luxury tax salary: $34 million
Bauer’s already made three week’s worth of salary in 2022 and had a $10 million signing bonus on his three-year, $102 million contract, so the Dodgers are getting off the hook of about $60 million here, with some positing it could be as high as $64 million.
With Bauer’s salary on the books, the Dodgers are a shade below the “Cohen Tax” threshold of $290 million. Subtract ~$30 million from that if Bauer’s suspension is upheld, and the Dodgers will have a lot more room to work with, or save money by dipping below the $270 million payroll tax bracket (they’ll be taxed at 32% instead of 62.5% for every dollar above $250 million).
That number is dwarfed by the time 2023 arrives, too. The Dodgers will have only $122 guaranteed dollars committed to the 2023 payroll if Bauer’s ban is upheld through next season, which gives them an ability to make yet another splash in free agency with at least an additional $130 million to spend before hitting the second luxury tax threshold, based on the numbers provided by Spotrac.
The final step? The Dodgers further distancing themselves now that MLB has made its decision, since the franchise can act accordingly without any potential troubling legal implications.