The Los Angeles Dodgers waited as long as they possibly could before delivering the Friday News Dumps of all Friday News Dumps: they designated Trevor Bauer for assignment and will pay him $22.5 million to not pitch for the organization.
While LA waiting until the last possible moment to announce the decision made plenty of headlines due to heinous sexual assault allegations that got both parties here in the first place, Bauer quickly stole the show with a "statement" of his own after he was cut loose.
Any negative press that focused on the Dodgers deliberating about Bauer's status up until the buzzer has now been shifted to Bauer, who claimed in his statement that "I sat down with Dodgers leadership in Arizona yesterday who told me that they wanted me to return and pitch for the team this year."
First of all, that's poor syntax. Consider Rachel Luba not only not an agent, but also not an editor. Secondly, the Dodgers, who had two full weeks to either place Bauer on their 40-man roster or designate him for assignment, changing their minds in this manner at the 11th hour really seems unlikely.
The stakes remained the same since Bauer was place on administrative leave back in June of 2021. The backlash for keeping him was never going to change. The allegations are the allegations, whether he's proven innocent or guilty. The civil suits are still active. The suspension reduction from 324 games to 194 did nothing to change the perspective.
Trevor Bauer releases statement claiming Dodgers wanted him to pitch for them
Whatever contradictory updates that popped up over the last two weeks seemed to serve more as elements of suspense rather than an actual turning of the tide. Some Dodgers players wanted him back? Who? So many core/prominent Dodgers players have departed the organization since June of 2021. The front office was "gathering more info" from the arbitrator's decision? What info? The ruling still agreed Bauer should've been suspended for more than a full season, which remains the largest ban under the league's joint domestic violence policy in MLB history!
But best of all, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the meeting between Dodgers officials and Bauer in Arizona on Thursday was their first conversation in 18 months! We're really supposed to believe after icing him out for a year and a half, the top shot-callers in the Dodgers organization sat down with Bauer and detailed how badly they wanted him back after he pitched in just 17 games for them and provided nothing but negative press?
Here's more from Nightengale:
"Dodger officials declined to go into details of their conversation, but privately revealed that they didn’t hear any remorse, apologies or anything in the slightest from Bauer to change their mind. They reconvened in Los Angeles, and decided Friday morning that Bauer would never again put on a Dodger uniform. Two Dodgers officials vehemently denied to USA TODAY Sports that they conveyed those sentiments to Bauer."- Bob Nightengale of USA Today
We're supposed to believe a signing of this magnitude that backfired in their face spectacularly and certainly played a role in derailing their 2021 season was all of a sudden going to be a priority after the Dodgers spent the ensuing months after Bauer's banishment removing all traces of him in the organization? And they were going to risk their brand, reputation and stature in the baseball community for $22.5 million and 30 mediocre starts (remember, Bauer hasn't pitched in almost two years!)?
So while there were fears that the Dodgers might've shifted course because they didn't DFA Bauer earlier, it appears they opted to enjoy the holidays and sort out their finances knowing now they officially have a $22.5 million sunk cost.
He was never coming back, which was the sentiment for 18 months. In no world were the Dodgers doing a 180 within 14 days.