Los Angeles Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman expressed no regrets Wednesday about the team’s decision to release right-hander Trevor Bauer last month.
The team’s top executives spoke with reporters for the first time regarding Bauer, who last pitched in June 2021. He was placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball in the next month after he was accused of sexual assault.
Despite never facing criminal charges and denying all allegations against him, Bauer was handed a 324-game suspension in April 2022. On Dec. 22, the punishment was cut to 194 games on appeal, reinstating him at that point while ordering him to forgo his pay for the first 50 games in 2023.
The Dodgers had 14 days from the appeal ruling to decide if they would activate Bauer or release him, and they finally designated him for assignment on the last day of that window. He was officially released on Jan. 12.
Kasten acknowledged that the Dodgers met with Bauer the day before cutting ties with him. Bauer issued a statement saying club officials told him they “wanted me to return and pitch for the team this year.”
Kasten said Wednesday, “I’m not gonna get into contradicting or agreeing with anything about what was supposed to be a private conversation. I’ll just say within a very short time we came back and made our decision. I think that speaks for itself. …
“I don’t want to talk about what went on, what was discussed, what wasn’t discussed or who was there. But we did hear from him. I thought it was the right thing to do. I’m happy that we did it, along with everything else that we did, to reach the best decision that we could. I stand by our decision. I’m very comfortable with it.”
He added, “We all had a strong feeling all the way through the process of the right way to handle this.”
Friedman added, “With the way that things transpired, we feel good about our decision to move on.”
Friedman said the Dodgers didn’t make an immediate decision on Bauer in part because the ruling occurred around the holidays and Kasten was about to go on vacation.
Kasten added, “We had the time. Check all our bases, get all the info you could get to make a decision, which we did, and that included hearing from Trevor because we had not spoken to him since the beginning of this. And because we had the time, we took the time to get as much info as we can to be sure we were making the right decision. That’s what we did. We feel like we made the right decision. And we’ll move on.”
Bauer, 32, remains a free agent. The Dodgers owe him $22.5 million of the $32 million he was due to make in 2023.
Bauer was the National League Cy Young Award winner with the Cincinnati Reds in the abbreviated 2020 season after going 5-4 with a 1.73 ERA in 11 starts. He signed a three-year, $102 million free agent deal with the Dodgers in February 2021.
In a 10-year major league career with the Arizona Diamondbacks (2012), Cleveland (2013-19), Cincinnati (2019-20) and Los Angeles (2021), Bauer has an 83-69 record with a 3.79 ERA in 222 games, including 212 starts.