Caption: Trevor Bauer
By Ryan Harless
Ryan Harless is a third-year undergraduate at BGSU from Hillsboro, Ohio. He is majoring in Sport Management with a Journalism Minor. Baseball and golf at all levels are his primary interests but he is also interested in combat sports, hockey, basketball, and football.
March 14, 2023
Trevor Bauer made his Major League Baseball (MLB) debut in 2012 with the Arizona Diamondbacks before being quietly traded to the Cleveland Guardians (then Indians) in December 2012. He became a full time starter in the big leagues in the 2014 season when he started 26 games.
Bauer worked his way toward his first (and only to date) all-star appearance in 2018 when he went 12-6 with a 2.21 ERA in 175.1 innings. He was also sixth in Cy Young voting and 22nd in AL MVP voting.
At the trade deadline in 2019, Bauer was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, which proved to be a smart trade as he won the Cy Young in the COVID-shortened 2020 season. He started 11 games, going 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA while leading the league in shutouts and complete games with two each.
That offseason, Bauer inked a three-year, $102 million deal from the Los Angeles Dodgers. Through 17 starts in the 2021 season, Bauer was 8-5 with a 2.59 ERA and looked to have another great season.
However, all of that would change on the 29th of June, when sexual assault allegations were brought against Bauer. It was also reported that the accuser had filed for a restraining order against Bauer on the 28th, one day prior.
The story starts around April 18, 2021, when Bauer first had physical contact with the alleged victim. Court documents state that Bauer reached out to the victim over Instagram direct message after she had tagged him in a post about watching his game.
The victim accused Bauer of “assaulting her on two occasions during what began as consensual sex.” Along with her accusations, there are also text messages between the two as well as pictures the accuser took of herself to document the abuse.
Shortly after these accusations were made public, the Dodgers announced that Bauer would be placed on paid administrative leave while the charges were being examined. Then, in April of 2022, MLB announced that they would be suspending Bauer for what was essentially two years.
Bauer would later appeal and have his suspension reduced from two years to one plus what he had already served after it was decided that he would face no criminal charges.
The Dodgers would go on to release Bauer after the opt-out in his contract came up making him available to be signed by any professional team. There were many MLB teams that could have used Bauer’s pitching every fifth day to help them make playoff runs but no team offered a deal.
Most, if not all, MLB front offices declined to even consider signing him due to the PR nightmare that they would have to brave, and rightfully so. Bauer sat idle for a while posting videos to his YouTube channel, sometimes alongside the “King of JUCO” where he would take part in baseball challenges.
I expected Bauer to continue doing YouTube challenges and never to return to the world of professional baseball. But on Monday, March 13, 2023, it was announced that Bauer had signed a deal worth up to $4 million with the Yokohama BayStars.
Bauer is now eligible to pitch on opening day for the BayStars on March 31.
Bauer isn’t the first disgraced baseball player to find a home in Japan. The most recent example being Addison Russell of Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics fame who quietly left MLB after having allegations of domestic assault brought against him. I didn’t anticipate any team picking up Bauer, however, due to the nature of his allegations. Bauer has been out of professional baseball for over a year so we will have to see if he holds up to his former self in Japan or if he even has a place in professional baseball anymore.