MLB announced Friday that Trevor Bauer, pitcher, has been suspended for 324 games, or two seasons, for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.
The suspension is effective immediately and is not subject to pay. Bauer appeals the suspension.
Since Major League Baseball and MLB Players' Association revealed their joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy in August 2015, fifteen players were suspended. This policy gives Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, the authority to suspend players for “just cause”. These suspensions, which did not include Felipe Vazquez who is currently in jail for sexual assaulting a 13-year old girl, were made as a result of negotiated settlements where players waived their right of appeal.
Bauer signed a short-term contract with the Dodgers that paid him up to $85million over two seasons. However, he did not pitch past June 28th of his first year.
A then-27-year old San Diego woman filed a request to a domestic violence restraining or (DVRO) the next day. She alleged that Bauer had assaulted her during two sexual encounters at Pasadena, California's Pasadena, California home in April and May. According to her declaration, the woman (whose identity ESPN has withheld) claimed that Bauer went too far in consensual rough sex. She said that he choked her multiple times, repeatedly punched and scratched at her body, and left her suffering from injuries that warranted a visit to an emergency room.
Jon Fetterolf, Rachel Luba and Bauer, his lawyers, strongly denied all allegations, calling them “fraudulent and baseless” in an initial statement.
On July 2, Bauer was placed on administrative leave. This is a way that players get their full salaries, but are restricted from accessing major league facilities while investigations continue. Five days later, the Dodgers canceled Bauer's bobblehead night and took his merchandise out of its stores. They stated that they “didn't feel it was appropriate while investigation continue.”
The temporary restraining order was dissolved by Dianna Gould Saltman, L.A. Superior Court judge. This decision came after a four day hearing.
Judge said that the “injuries shown in the photos are terrible” but continued: “If she had set limits and he exceeded those, this case would have been straightforward.” The judge set limits without considering all possible consequences. Respondent did however not exceed those set by the petitioner.
The Washington Post published a story in which a second woman from Ohio sought a temporary order to stop Bauer's assault and demanded a temporary restraining or against him. This was just days before the hearing began. According to the report, the woman rescinded the order six weeks later after Bauer's lawyers threatened legal action. Post published photographs that showed injuries that Bauer allegedly caused, along with threatening messages in which Bauer allegedly wrote: I don't want to spend any time in jail for the murder of someone. That's what I would do if you saw me again.
Bauer's lawyers called the woman’s claims of physical abuse “categorically falsified” and challenged the validity of the messages and photos.
Pasadena Police Department ended its investigation of Bauer's incident in San Diego with the woman on August 27, and referred the case to L.A. County District Attorney's Office. This office spent five months reviewing the case, before declaring on February 8 that it would not press criminal charges. The District Attorney's Office ruled out charges of assault by means probable to produce great bodily injuries and sodomy in an unconscious individual during Bauer's first sexual encounter with the woman on April 22, as well as domestic violence during Bauer's second encounter on May 16.
In its declination, it wrote that the District Attorney's Office had reviewed all available evidence, including witness statements and physical evidence. The People were unable to prove any of the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.
Bauer immediately uploaded a seven minute video to YouTube, in which he explained his version of events. At one point, he said: “I never punched her in the face. I never punched her in her vagina. I never touched her face. I never had anal or sexual sex with her. I have never assaulted her or sodomized her. We did have consensual, rough sex. However, she didn't describe the disturbing and inappropriate acts.
As part of her DVRO Declaration, the woman provided photos and medical information. She stated that she woke up on the morning following the second encounter with two black eyes.
While MLB was conducting its investigation, Bauer's attorneys filed defamation lawsuits against 2 media companies. They claimed that Deadspin had knowingly published false information about the sexual assault allegations, and that The Athletic directed a campaign to harass Bauer.
Bauer's lawyers also subpoenaed Pasadena Police Department regarding missing phone records. The attorneys claimed in a court file that “the requested material will further reveal Petitioner’s plan to ruin Respondent’s reputation and career, and to earn large paychecks by making false and misleading claims in her Petition.”
In an April 4 hearing, Gould-Saltman ruled Bauer would not have access to the telephone records. He claimed that his lawyers did not file the proper motion. However, Bauer said that she was skeptical of the argument that records could help them prove she misled legal proceedings.