We are two weeks removed from the independent arbiter reducing Trevor Bauer‘s 324-game suspension to 194 games. When the decision was made, the Dodgers were given until Friday to make a decision on his future with the team — reinstate him to the 40-man roster, trade him (after reinstatement) or release him.
The Dodgers are notorious for going right up until deadlines to make decisions — postseason rosters, non-tenders, Rule 5 protections, etc. — but the fact that they’re, seemingly, going right up until the fitting Jan. 6 deadline to make a decision is inexcusable.
They made a short statement after the arbiter’s decision, but I guess two weeks isn’t soon enough.
The latest is that they want a written copy of the arbiter’s report. That’s all well and good, and they should have it, but I don’t know how that’s supposed to impact their decision.
The original signing was, mostly, fueled by numbers. The Dodgers were able to land a good pitcher on their terms — Andrew Friedman‘s coveted high average annual value, short-term commitment. If one were to look at only the numbers, one could argue bringing Bauer back makes sense. The Wall Street Journal today tried to make the argument that the Dodgers have a reason to keep Bauer.
“Yet what Bauer did or didn’t do to receive the game’s longest suspension to date under the domestic violence policy isn’t the only factor in the Dodgers’ decision.
At the center of their conundrum is a contract that once stood to make Bauer the highest-paid player in his sport. Under that contract, the Dodgers have to pay Bauer $22.5 million this year whether he plays for them, sits on their bench or plays for a rival.
The case throws another harsh spotlight on sports franchises’ response to transgressions by talented players, and what teams are willing to endure in criticism in order to prevail in competition.”
This comes on the heels of the LA Times poll (and article) that showed a 51.2% for keeping Bauer with more than 19,000 reader votes.
But let’s be clear here: The only acceptable option is to release Bauer. Yes, they’re going to have to pay him $22.5 million regardless of the decision they make. Yes, there’s a chance another team could sign him for $720,000 and the Dodgers would be paying him to pitch elsewhere. To that I say, “So what?” There is no viable argument for the Dodgers to keep him because this isn’t just about numbers, as much as some might want to make it.
Dodger players, depending which reports you believe, do and don’t want him back. I know players aren’t going to speak publicly about it before a decision is made — and maybe not even after — but it’s disappointing, yet not surprising, there are some in the clubhouse who would be OK with Bauer coming back. I’d like to think someone like Clayton Kershaw or Mookie Betts — the undisputed leaders of this team now that Justin Turner signed with Boston — wouldn’t want anything to do with Bauer. We don’t know these guys personally, but everything they’ve shown publicly would lead me to believe they wouldn’t be OK with this. MLB clubhouses have always leaned conservative, and conservatives are, seemingly, more OK with having someone like Bauer associated with the organization rather than folks who don’t lean to the right. However, this isn’t about politics or leanings. This is about decency.
I’m not going to shame anyone for what they like to do consensually in the bedroom, but I am never going to be OK with someone doing the things Bauer did and/or was alleged to have done to multiple women without their consent. Combine that with the past harassment of women online, his defamation lawsuit that targets a company and one prominent female reporter (despite many speaking out against him) and the myriad of other things I’ve written about in the past, and the decision is crystal clear. It’s been crystal clear for two weeks, 18 months and now two years.
At the risk of getting another vaguely threatening email from his representation, I’ll just say this: The Dodgers need to pull the plug on Trevor Bauer. And it shouldn’t have taken two weeks to come to this decision. That says something about everyone involved in the decision-making process, but I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising.