Former Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer has signed a one-year contract with Nippon Professional Baseball’s Yokohama DNA BayStars in Japan, where he will return to professional baseball for the first time in nearly two years after a lengthy suspension and release from Los Angeles. Dodgers.
Bauer, 32, last pitched in June 2021 after a San Diego-area woman accused him of sexual assault. He was placed on administrative leave for the rest of the season and was eventually suspended for 324 games by Major League Baseball. An arbitrator reduced the suspension to 194 games and reinstated Bauer in December 2022, and the Dodgers released the pitcher in January, eating up the final $22.5 million of his three-year, $102 million contract.
Bauer would still receive his full salary from the Dodgers in addition to his BayStars salary.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am to be playing for the BayStars this year,” Bauer said in a video posted by the team announcing the deal. “Playing in NPB has always been a dream of mine, and I can’t think of a better organization to do it.”
Every team in MLB could have signed Bauer for the major league minimum but chose against it. He will join the BayStars, a typically middle-of-the-road team that last won a championship in 1998 in a 12-team league.
Bauer denied allegations of sexual assault by the woman, who said he strangled her and struck her during rough sex. A California judge denied a woman’s attempt to obtain a permanent restraining order against Bauer, saying she “set limits without fully considering all the consequences.” At least two other women accused Bauer of sexual assault, and all three spoke to MLB to investigate, which led to the record-long suspension.
In the past, Bauer has expressed interest in potentially playing in Japan. His Twitter bio lists his name in Japanese characters, and in 2020, when he officially reached free agency, he tweeted: “I will consider offers from any MLB or NPB team.”
According to sources several other Japanese teams are considering signing Bauer for the upcoming season. Former MLB All-Star closer Roberto Osuna, who received a 75-game suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy and was eventually released by the Houston Astros, played for the Chiba Lotte Marines last season and reunited with them over the winter. Signed.
Bauer, the third overall selection in the 2011 draft, was considered one of the best pitchers in baseball before allegations derailed his major league career. In his first and final seasons with the Dodgers, he posted a 2.59 ERA with 137 strikeouts and 37 walks in 107⅔ innings, and batters hit .182/.258/.374 against him. In his 10-year major league career, Bauer is 83–69 with a 3.79 ERA, 1,416 strikeouts, and 491 walks in 1,297⅔ innings.