By: Caitlin Cochran
Trevor Bauer just signed a one-year deal to play in Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball League, Japan’s top league, after being released into free agency by the Dodgers in January, with even more controversy surrounding him than during his last free agency in 2021. In 2021, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract, although they were aware that he had a past of social media bullying. Regardless of this history, the New York Mets also extended him an offer that would have awarded him one of the highest annual salaries in the league. Both teams were aware of Bauer’s history and disregarded it, turning out to be a costly mistake for the Dodgers. After only seventeen starts with the Dodgers, coupled with a 2.59 ERA, he was placed on administrative leave following a restraining order filed against him for sexual assault.
Bauer’s accuser, Lindsey Hill, accused Bauer of sexually assaulting her, causing a black eye and swollen lip. Following the allegations, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office chose not to file criminal charges, since they would have trouble proving the charges beyond a reasonable doubt based on the evidence. Bauer retaliated in April of 2022 and sued Hill for defamation. She countersued, and in November, a U.S. District Court in California denied Bauer’s attempt to dismiss her countersuit after he argued that there was “consensual rough sex” while Hill claimed that the abuse went beyond the consent. Bauer recently requested that the suit be dismissed once again, and on January 27, 2023, the court found that he has no new arguments and that without “highly unusual circumstances” his motion for reconsideration should not be approved.
While he was initially given a 324-game suspension in April 2022 per the MLB sexual assault and domestic violence policy, an arbitrator was able to reduce the suspension to 194 games in December 2022 although the MLB felt that the suspension was inadequate. From there, the Dodgers tried to trade him, but after no one wanted Bauer, he was released into free agency.
As far as value is concerned, he was a 2020 Cy Young Winner following his season with the Cincinnati Reds, boasting a 1.73 ERA. He was up for free agency and potentially the league’s $720,000 minimum salary, but the Dodgers will owe the rest of his contract, $22.5 million. However, no team was willing to pick him up and on March 13, he signed with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars in Japan, where he will be paid $3 million plus incentives.
At this point, despite the value, it is uncertain whether Bauer will ever play in the MLB, and his past may finally be catching up with him.
 R.J. Anderson, Trevor Bauer Set To Play in Japan after Going Unsigned in MLB Free Agency, Per Report, CBS SPORTS (Mar. 13, 2023), https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/trevor-bauer-set-to-play-in-japan-after-going-unsigned-in-mlb-free-agency-per-report/.
 Alden Gonzalez, Dodgers’ Stan Kasten: Cutting Trevor Bauer ‘Right Decision’, ESPN (Feb. 1, 2023), https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/35574317/dodgers-stan-kasten-cutting-trevor-bauer-right-decision.
 Bob Nightengale, Mets Offer to Free Agent Pitcher Trevor Bauer Would Approach Record-Setting Average Annual Contract, USA TODAY (Jan. 26, 2021, 10:55 AM), https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/mets/2021/01/26/trevor-bauer-mets-offer-contract/4258036001/.
 Anthony Franco, Dodgers Designate Trevor Bauer for Assignment, (Jan. 6, 2023, 7:04 PM), https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2023/01/dodgers-to-designate-trevor-bauer-for-assignment.html.
 Elaine Briseño, Ex-MLB Star Bauer Loses 2nd Bid to Toss Sexual Battery Suit, LAW360 (Jan. 27, 2023, 4:44 PM), https://www.law360.com/articles/1570038/ex-mlb-star-bauer-loses-2nd-bid-to-toss-sexual-battery-suit.
 Y. Peter Kang, Dodgers Pitcher’s Sex Assault Defamation Suit May Backfire, LAW360 (Apr. 26, 2022, 9:58 PM), https://www.law360.com/articles/1487511/dodgers-pitcher-s-sex-assault-defamation-suit-may-backfire.
 Briseño, supra note 5.
 Mike Digiovanna, Will Trevor Bauer Play Major League Baseball Again? What Executives Around The League Are Saying, L.A. TIMES (Jan. 12, 2023, 12:54 PM), https://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/story/2023-01-12/trevor-bauer-dodgers-hostile-market-waivers.
 Trevor Bauer, MLB.com, https://www.mlb.com/player/trevor-bauer-545333 (last visited Feb. 14, 2023).
 Franco, supra note 4.
 Anderson, supra note 1.