It looks like Rachel Luba hacked the system and cast over 10,000 votes on the Los Angeles Times' recent poll gauging if fans wanted Trevor Bauer back on the Dodgers for the 2023 season after his suspension was reduced.
In a classic Florida election result, LA Times readers were 51.2% in favor of welcoming Bauer back to the team, while 48.8% believe he should be released. Typically, these kinds of surveys have weak sample sizes, but we must say that 19,193 participants is a considerable number.
The deadline for the Dodgers to make a decision on Bauer is Jan. 6. Reports claim that a number of players in the clubhouse don't want him back, which could sway the front office's decision. Wait! Another report claimed some players do want him back! On the other hand, the reduced suspension reportedly had the Dodgers seeking for "more information" from the arbitrator's ruling to reduce Bauer's 324-game ban to 194.
In the end, the arbitrator still found Bauer in violation of something if he was still banned from the sport for over a year. Objectively, the 324-game suspension, which was the longest non-lifetime ban in the history of baseball, seemed excessive when you realize previous punishments handed down to guys like Jose Reyes, Aroldis Chapman, Roberto Osuna, Marcell Ozuna, Odubel Herrera and Domingo Germán, all of whom had definitive, ironclad cases against them.
By no means are we minimizing the hellacious allegations Bauer faced, but for his punishment to be three times greater than all of those other cases seemed like a major inconsistency (or that MLB was trying to set a new example/standard moving forward).
Dodgers fans apparently want Trevor Bauer back on the team in 2023
So is this why the Dodgers' decision is taking longer than everyone expected? Previously, it was a foregone conclusion that he'd be released. Now, the team is taking this right up until the deadline and we're hearing conflicting information in regard to the preference of Bauer remaining in LA.
As we also learned about the Dodgers this offseason, there's a hesitation to spend lavishly, which might indicate the organization isn't exactly keen on paying Bauer's ~$22 million salary for 2023 while he plays elsewhere. They might want to see that money be put to use in some capacity, even if it means facing backlash.
In the end, whether fans like it or not, there's a belief Bauer will be playing in MLB again. And if that's the honest truth, then the Dodgers can convince themselves that retaining him is a good idea rather than paying him all that money to join another contender.
The easy PR decision would be to cut ties, especially after the Dodgers removed all of Bauer's gear from their team stores and canceled his promotional bobblehead night shortly after he was placed on administrative leave.
But money always complicates things. And you'd be lying to yourself if you truly thought the suspension reduction wouldn't change the organization's thinking if it was going to cost them a hefty sum.
NEXT STORY: Dodgers aren't done making moves just yet