The appeal began on Monday and is expected to be “lengthy,” per multiple MLB insiders, all of whom suggest this could drag out into late summer. However, it doesn’t seem to a problem for LA because previous reports have indicated the team will release him regardless of the outcome of his fight with the league.
The only “issue” here is that it could cost the Dodgers more and more money. Assuming Bauer’s ban is upheld, that would take him through his entire contract with LA and the team won’t be on the hook to pay him. However, any reduction could cost the Dodgers.
And it’s looking like the situation is trending in that direction, if we’re to believe ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who appeared on Buster Olney’s “Baseball Tonight” podcast to drop this game-changing tidbit:
"“It could be reduced, which I think is probably the likeliest scenario because there is precedence. When you look at a suspension as enormous as this one, typically huge suspensions find some kind of reduction. I don’t know if it’s going to be a half-season, I don’t know if it’s going to be a full season. But MLB believes that it has a mountain of evidence against Trevor Bauer.”"
Though Passan doesn’t know what a reduction might look like, it’s clear any reduction will allow him to take the field at some point in 2023, and the Dodgers would have to pay whatever’s left on his contract, since he’s signed through that season.
The Dodgers are still being affected by Trevor Bauer despite suspension
The problem here is that the burden is on MLB to prove Bauer’s alleged offenses are worth the largest non-lifetime ban in the sport’s history, and the main objective will be to convince an independent arbitrator that Bauer’s situation is vastly different from the many other domestic abuse/sexual assault cases that have crossed the commissioner’s desk in recent years.
What are the potential financial implications here, though? According to Spotrac, Bauer has a $32 million player option for the 2023 season and will count $35,333,334 against the payroll salary. If he misses half of next year, that would be cut in half to $16 million and $17,666,667 million, just for a quick relevant reference.
It doesn’t matter if he’s a Dodger or not — the team will be responsible for paying whatever remaining money lands on his contract, depending upon the seemingly now expected reduction in suspension.
Though LA, at this very moment, has just $120.6 million committed to the 2023 payroll, that doesn’t include Bauer’s money hanging in the balance or the countless club options they’ll eventually need to make tough decisions on. Fans wouldn’t consider this a financial “problem” for the Dodgers, but it can restrict their ability to go above and beyond, assuming they still want to avoid the $290 million Cohen Tax threshold.