Former Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer signs with Japan's Yokohama BayStars
Ban under MLB's domestic, sexual violence policy cost him about $37.6M US in salary
Yokohama DeNA BayStars manager Diasuke Miura, a former pitcher with the Japan Central League team, warmly welcomed Trevor Bauer's signing with the club.
The 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner was released by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Jan. 12, three weeks after an arbitrator reduced his suspension imposed by baseball commissioner Rob Manfred from 324 to 194 games. The penalty followed an investigation into domestic violence, which the pitcher has denied.
"I'm so excited, and I think the world reaction is going to be tremendous," BayStars manager Miura said, speaking in Japanese. "I believe a very powerful pitcher is coming who will enhance our chances for winning the championship."
In the video posted on the club website, Miura signed off with two words in English — "See you."
In a similar signing, former MLB reliever Roberto Osuna, who received a 75-game suspension for violating the major league's domestic violence policy, signed last season with the Chiba Lotte Marines.
Bauer also played up his signing in a video message. Season-opening games for Japanese clubs are March 30-31.
"Playing in the NPB has always been a dream of mine and I can't think of a better organization to do it with," Bauer said in a statement Monday, referring to Nippon Professional Baseball.
The BayStars said Bauer will wear uniform No. 96.
"To all the BayStar fans out there, I am so excited for the opportunity to be part of the great team we have this year and to try to bring home a championship," Bauer said. "And to all the Japanese baseball fans out there, I cannot wait to see you guys out at the stadium soon. Please come say hi and help me learn more about your great country. See you guys soon!"
Bauer is owed about $22.5 million US from the remainder of his three-year, $102-million contract with the Dodgers. The suspension has cost him roughly $37.6 million in salary.
Manfred suspended Bauer last April for violating the league's domestic violence and sexual assault policy, after a San Diego woman said he beat and sexually abused her in 2021. Bauer has maintained he did nothing wrong, saying that everything that happened between him and the woman was consensual.
Bauer was never charged with a crime.
The players' association filed a grievance on Bauer's behalf, and a three-person panel headed by Martin Scheinman ruled Dec. 22 that Bauer violated MLB's policy and docked his pay for the first 50 games of 2023, covering part of the period the pitcher was on paid leave in 2021 and '22.
Bauer joined his hometown Dodgers before the 2021 season and was 8-5 with a 2.59 earned-run average in 17 starts before being placed on leave.
In February 2022, Los Angeles prosecutors decided not to charge Bauer for allegedly beating and sexually abusing the San Diego woman because they said they were unable to prove her accusations beyond a reasonable doubt.
The woman, who was 27 at the time, said Bauer choked her into unconsciousness, punched her repeatedly and sexually assaulted her during two sexual encounters.
The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they have been victims of sexual assault.
Bauer said in a video posted on YouTube after the prosecutor's decision that he and the woman engaged in rough sex at her suggestion and followed guidelines they agreed to in advance. Each encounter ended with her spending the night at his Pasadena home, he said.
"The disturbing acts and conduct that she described simply did not occur," he said at the time.
The woman had sought a restraining order, but a judge denied it. The judge found that Bauer honoured the woman's boundaries when the woman set them and could not have known about those he violated because she didn't express them clearly.
Bauer was a 2018 all-star and is 83-69 with a 3.79 ERA in 10 seasons for Arizona (2012), Cleveland, (2013-19), Cincinnati 2019-20) and the Dodgers. He won the NL Cy Young Award with Cincinnati during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.