For the Los Angeles Dodgers fans out there who were very concerned about the team's financial decision making this offseason, there was a slight worry in the back of their minds about Trevor Bauer's situation following his suspension reduction.
If the Dodgers were hell bent on saving money and getting the most out of every dollar for the 2023 season as they look to prepare for the next two free agent classes, then why, under that logic, would they allow Bauer to pitch for another team while they foot the $22.5 million bill?
In the end, Bauer was kicked to the curb as the potential repercussions for keeping someone who was suspended 194 games due to sexual assault allegations far outweighed a financial blip on the Dodgers' radar.
But that doesn't mean the Dodgers were unwavering in their decision. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, LA "fretted over the potential competitive disadvantage" of paying Bauer to pitch for another contender.
That's truly embarrassing for a franchise with unlimited resources from both a spending power perspective and depth of organizational talent standpoint.
The Dodgers were worried about paying Trevor Bauer to pitch elsewhere
The Dodgers can spend more this offseason, they're just choosing not to. With the highest attendance in baseball for nine years running, they can afford any luxury tax bill hurled in their direction.
Additionally, $22.5 million for a $4.1 billion franchise is ... nothing. But most importantly, how worried could they have possibly been about someone who hasn't pitched in nearly two years performing so well in another enviroment that they wouldn't have been able to stomach it?
Before 2020, Bauer had one All-Star season ... which also happened to be the only year in which he recorded an ERA under 4.18 since debuting in 2012. Then came his shortened Cy Young season, which convinced the Dodgers to, at the time, make him the highest-paid player in MLB on an AAV basis despite the fact he was still a career 4.00 ERA pitcher!
While Bauer's 17 starts with the Dodgers before his administrative leave stint/suspension were good, they were by no means dominant enough to have you shaking in your boots every time he took the mound against you. Despite his 2.59 ERA, he logged a 4.03 FIP and 1.6 home runs per nine innings. Totally good. Nothing spectacular.
For an organization that's been able to evaluate talent better than any other over the past decade or so, it's fairly shocking that Bauer's future performance after nearly two years away from the game was a major factor in the Dodgers deliberating on his 2023 status until the final hour.