Following a 2020 National League Cy Young campaign, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Trevor Bauer to a then-historic three-year, $102 million contract. In early July, Bauer was placed on administrative leave for sexual assault allegations regarding an incident at his home.
Bauer did not pitch again in 2021 as his administrative leave continued to be extended until the end of the season. That administrative leave continued in 2022 until MLB announced a two-year (324 games) suspension for violating the league's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
Under this suspension, Bauer's Dodgers career was essentially over. It would suspend him through the 2023 season, after which he would be a free agent after. However, on Thursday an independent arbitrator reduced Bauer's suspension to 194 games.
How Trevor Bauer's suspension-reduction affects the Dodgers:
While Trevor Bauer technically has 50 more games under suspension, he is eligible to pitch as early as Opening Day. Bauer will not be paid for his first 50 games of the 2023 season, but he is eligible to play right away.
This is to make up for the time that Bauer spent on administrative leave in 2021. Since he was paid during that time, the 50 games without pay is essentially paying that pack, per Alden Gonzalez.
The Dodgers now have 14 days to decide whether or not they want to reinstate him on the team's 40-man roster. Regardless of that decision, Bauer's pay for 112 games will be on the books for Los Angeles.
With a payroll salary of $35,333,334 (according to Spotrac), that means the Dodgers are roughly on the books for just over $24.4 million. Spotrac estimates that after arbitration and pre-arbitration that the Dodgers will have a luxury tax payroll of $211.3 million. With Bauer, the estimation grows to around $235.7 million.
The luxury tax threshold this season is $233 million. If the Dodgers go over, it would be the team's third consecutive season over the competitive balance tax, increasing their tax rate to 50%. It has long been speculated that the Dodgers were looking to reset their tax penalty. If so, the team may have to part ways with players it does not want to in order to get under $233 million.
MLB released its official statement on the reduced Bauer suspension shortly after the news was announced. At the time of writing, the Dodgers have not yet released a statement.