When Los Angeles Dodgers ownership signed starting pitcher Trevor Bauer to a massive three-year, $102 million contract, they knew the kind of player they were committing to. Flashy, outspoken, and implacable to a fault. 

However, nothing could have prepared them for the drama that unfolded during the 2021 MLB season and beyond.

Bauer had good success in his first 17 starts with the Dodgers, posting an impressive 2.59 ERA to complement an 8-5 win-loss record.

But that came to a screeching halt on June 30th when the Pasadena Police Department informed news outlets that Bauer was under investigation for the alleged assault of a woman back in May

The horrifying accusations against Bauer quickly unfolded and became public knowledge, and MLB placed the pitcher on administrative leave on July 2nd. 

 

Aftermath

As the weeks went by, it became increasingly clear that a return to the diamond for Bauer in 2021 would not be happening. A temporary restraining order against him was lifted on Aug. 20th.  

Around the same time, MLB extended his leave of absence to the remainder of the season as they, along with Pasadena P.D., continued their separate investigations into the ongoing allegations against him. 

The Dodgers finished their season without him, falling short in the National League Championship Series to the Atlanta Braves in six games. 

All was quiet on the Bauer front until yesterday when the Los Angeles County DA announced that they would not be pursuing any criminal charges against Bauer due to lack of evidence. 

 

Offseason Woes

Despite the L.A. county DA not pursuing any charges against Bauer at this time, MLB and Pasadena P.D. are still investigating Bauer. At the very least, a partial suspension is expected for Bauer, whose future in Dodger Blue remains uncertain as ever. 

As the 2020 World Series champs, the Dodgers are coming off what is objectively a disappointing season. On top of throwing over $100 million at Bauer in the offseason, they also went all-in at the 2021 trade deadline, acquiring then Washington Nationals star middle infielder Trea Turner and perennial Cy Young candidate, starting pitcher Max Scherzer. 

Los Angeles fell short to the eventual World Series champion Atlanta Braves, and soon after came a disappointing offseason.

Over this offseason, the Dodgers lost All-Star shortstop and 2020 World Series MVP Corey Seager, who signed a massive ten-year, $325 million contract with the Texas Rangers. 

Trevor Bauer Looms over an already Uncertain Dodgers season

Th Los Angeles Dodgers lost star shortstop Corey Seager to the Texas Rangers this offsason.

They also lost their big trade deadline acquisition in Scherzer, who the Mets signed to a three-year, $130 million deal at the end of November. 

To compound their problems, they are also dealing with the same issue that every MLB team and player is dealing with right now, the lockout. 

The lockout has affected the Dodgers especially, as they will have to wait until it is over to make any notable deals. The Dodgers’ only new pickups this offseason have been left-handed starting pitcher Andrew Heaney who is coming off a career-worst ERA of 5.83 in 2021 between the Angels and Yankees relief pitcher Daniel Hudson. 

On top of that, they re-signed utility player Chris Taylor who has been a mainstay in their lineup since 2017.

The Dodgers’ worries only get worse from there as both Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen are currently free agents. If circumstances were different, the return of Bauer would be a sigh of temporary relief for Dodger management, 

However, the controversy surrounding him makes it very difficult to imagine that he takes the mound for L.A. with any degree of success or does so at all. 

 

What’s Next for Bauer and the Dodgers?

It would be in the Dodgers’ best interest to sever ties with Bauer and move on. Yes, it would be expensive, but this is the L.A. Dodgers we’re talking about. 

When it comes to major league baseball, the market doesn’t get much bigger than the boys in blue and their $214 million+ payroll. 

It’s also incumbent on MLB to show that these sorts of off-field distractions have no place in the game. The fact that both the Pasadena P.D. and MLB are continuing their respective investigations tells of the allegations that Bauer is facing and their severity.

At the end of the day, Bauer should be seen as a $102 million gamble that worked for 17 starts

It’s time for the Dodgers to cut the loose-end that is Bauer and instead turn their focus to player (specifically pitcher) acquisition and development post-lockout.