Should Dodgers worry about speculated Trevor Bauer destinations if he's released?

Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres
Los Angeles Dodgers v San Diego Padres / Sean M. Haffey/GettyImages

Though the Los Angeles Dodgers are dragging their feet with the impending Trevor Bauer decision, most signs point to the team releasing the pitcher on Jan. 6 so they can avoid the inevitable public relations crisis. A franchise worth $5 billion and constantly in the spotlight can afford to eat $22 million and not further magnify the situation surrounding Bauer, despite the fact he wasn't criminally charged.

The only problem with letting Bauer go is that there's a growing sentiment among the baseball community that he'll play in Major League Baseball again after an arbitrator reduced his suspension from 324 to 194 games.

Previously, a poll of executives and former executives conducted by ESPN overwhelmingly believed Bauer wouldn't throw another pitch for an MLB team ... but that's apparently changed. If you didn't get a clue after reading the reports of the Dodgers seeking more information about Bauer's suspension reduction or that some Dodgers players told the front office they want Bauer back, then it's possible you've been shielding yourself from a potential harsh reality of having to deal with Trevor Bauer again. We get it.

With the Dodgers' decision looming, some have speculated on what might happen. Many expect Bauer to be released, but LA fans aren't going to like where one former MLB player predicted he might end up.

Trevor Plouffe of Jomboy Media's "Talkin' Baseball" podcast thinks the right-hander could sign with the Astros, Rangers, Mets or Mariners.

Should Dodgers worry about speculated Trevor Bauer destinations?

The Astros and Mets appear to be the landing spots that would hurt the Dodgers the most ... but should LA really "worry"? Everyone already hates the Astros, so signing Bauer would just make them more reviled. Outside of a regular season series or two, the Dodgers would have no meaningful games against Houston until the World Series. And we know how Bauer performs in the Fall Classic!

As for the Mets? Bauer made a mockery of them after the 2020 season when he ended up signing with the Dodgers. Just hours before agreeing to a deal with LA, he was giving away a signed Mets hat on his website. Uncle Steve Cohen doesn't forget. And his "revenge" wouldn't be getting the Dodgers to pay Bauer to pitch for him -- it'd be to rock Bauer in an all-important baseball game with his $400 million roster.

The only aspect of this that might be painful to bear is the Dodgers footing the bill for a realistic NL contender to have Bauer pitch for them. Then again ... is it really painful? The Dodgers blowing $22 million is equivalent to you or I losing a $10 bill. As for Bauer, he hasn't pitched in almost two full years and had a 4.00 ERA before his 17 starts with the Dodgers in 2021 (2.59 ERA, 4.03 FIP).

If there's any team that can weather a hardly-above-average pitching loss (when looking at the scope of Bauer's career), it's the Dodgers, who have had the best ERA+ in the sport for three straight seasons. Cash the check, move on, and we'll see ya in 2023.

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