Arbitrator issues ruling on Bauer suspension

December 23rd, 2022

LOS ANGELES -- Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that Trevor Bauer’s unpaid suspension for violating the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy has been reduced from 324 to 194 games by independent arbitrator Martin F. Scheinman. The 194-game suspension is the longest handed down under the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence Policy, which was enacted in 2015.

As a result of this decision, Bauer will be reinstated immediately.

Major League Baseball issued the following statement:

“Today, the neutral arbitrator selected by MLB and the MLBPA affirmed that Trevor Bauer violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.

“After an exhaustive review of the available evidence the neutral arbitrator upheld an unpaid suspension of 194 games. As part of the decision, the arbitrator reinstated Mr. Bauer effective immediately, with a loss of pay covering the 144 games he was suspended during the 2022 season. In addition, the arbitrator docked Bauer’s salary for the first 50 games of the 2023 season (i.e., the period covering March 30, 2023 to May 23, 2023). While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will abide by the neutral arbitrator’s decision, which upholds baseball’s longest-ever active player suspension for sexual assault or domestic violence.

“We understand this process was difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation. Due to the collectively bargained confidentiality provisions of the joint program, we are unable to provide further details at this time.”

The Dodgers issued this statement: “We have just been informed of the arbitrator’s ruling and will comment as soon as practical.”

On April 29, MLB suspended Bauer for two full seasons following the league’s investigation of domestic violence and sexual assault allegations made against him. That suspension originally did not include the 99 regular-season games the Dodgers right-hander missed after being placed on paid administrative leave on July 2, 2021.

Between his time on administrative leave and the 144 games he missed in 2022 while officially suspended, Bauer missed 243 games.

Bauer was the first player to appeal a suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy.

“Under Major League Rule 2C, the Dodgers have 14 days from reinstatement to decide whether to put him on the 40-man roster or not,” said an MLB spokesperson.

Bauer, who will turn 32 in January, was initially placed on paid administrative leave after a San Diego woman accused him of sexual assault during two sexual encounters in 2021. The woman also submitted a temporary ex parte restraining order against him. Bauer maintained he did nothing wrong, saying the encounters were consensual. 

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge denied the restraining order. In February 2022, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced that it would not pursue a criminal case against Bauer.

MLB conducted a separate investigation of its own to determine if Bauer violated the league’s domestic violence policy. Under the joint domestic violence policy agreed upon by MLB and the MLBPA, the Commissioner’s Office has the ability to suspend a player even if he has not been charged or convicted in court.

There have been multiple instances of players receiving a suspension under the joint domestic violence policy even after criminal charges were dropped. One such example came in August 2019, when Bauer’s current teammate, Julio Urías, was suspended 20 games after an incident that May in which he was arrested for investigation of possible misdemeanor domestic battery. Urías accepted the discipline without appeal.

Bauer’s three-year, $102 million contract with the Dodgers is set to expire after the 2023 season. He had an opt-out in the deal following the 2022 season, but the deadline for him to exercise that opt-out has passed. Bauer was due to make $32 million in 2023, and the loss of 50 games of pay (roughly a third of the season) will cost him $9.46 million, bringing the total loss of pay to $37.5 million.