MLB suspends Dodgers’ Trevor Bauer 324 game; new prosecutor emerges

Trevor Bauer was suspended for two years by Major League Baseball on Friday, triggering a new front in Bauer’s efforts to fight allegations of sexual assault that could keep him off the field until well into the 2024 season.

The Dodgers pitcher can pursue an accelerated appeal to the league’s independent arbitrator. He can not play during the appeal process.

Out of the 16 players suspended under baseball’s policy of sexual assault and domestic violence, Bauer is the first not to agree to a negotiated settlement. He could argue that he does not justify any suspension because he did nothing wrong and that Commissioner Rob Manfred has suspended him for unconventional but with consent, rather than for sexual assault.

“In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s policy of domestic violence and sexual assault,” Bauer said in a statement. “I appeal this case and expect to be upheld.”

In a statement, Manfred said the league’s investigation had been completed and he had determined that Bauer’s conduct violated the policy and warranted a suspension. In statements announcing such suspensions, the league does not disclose the specific conduct that triggered the discipline, in accordance with the collective bargaining policy.

An arbitrator may reduce or overturn a suspension. In 2014, when MLB suspended Alex Rodriguez in 211 matches for “use and possession of several forms of illicit performance-enhancing drugs … over several years,” an arbitrator reduced the suspension to 162 matches. In 2012, after Ryan Braun had been suspended for 50 matches for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, the suspension was thrown out via arbitration because the test protocols had not been followed.

Previous suspensions under the policy ranged from 15 to 162 matches. Negotiated settlements are not considered a precedent, so the league could not tell an arbitrator that its suspension of Bauer is consistent with previous suspensions under the policy.

But the policy, negotiated with the players’ union, calls for policies of sexual assault and domestic violence “comparable … in scope and discipline” for team members, league officials and owners. The league could argue that a precedent was set in 2019 for the four-month suspension of San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer, ​​whose wife fell to the ground after reaching for his cell phone during an altercation.

Bauer’s case is the first with more than one publicly identified prosecutor. An Ohio woman applied for a restraining order against Bauer amid her allegations of sexual assault, according to the Washington Post. The application was later withdrawn, and Bauer’s lawyers dismissed those claims as “unfounded.”

The league would not comment beyond Manfred’s statement, refusing to say whether the league’s investigators had talked about Bauer’s behavior with a woman beyond those two.

On Friday, after the league announced the suspension, Posten reported that a third woman had reported similar allegations against Bauer and had collaborated with the league’s investigation. Bauer’s representatives told the Post that the new allegations were “defamatory and baseless.”

The woman said she decided to step forward, the Post reported, “after Bauer denied similar allegations from two other women and accused them of lying about potential financial gain.”

In a statement, the Dodgers said they had cooperated with the league’s investigation and supported the league’s policy. They declined to comment further “until the process is complete,” citing Bauer’s right to appeal.

The Dodgers paid Bauer $ 38 million last year. His contract requires him to be paid $ 32 million this year and $ 32 million next year. Players are not paid while suspended.

If the suspension passes, the Dodgers would be out of the hook for the rest of the contract.

If Bauer was willing to consider a settlement, he could have negotiated until some or all of the 111 matches he has missed on leave count as part of the settlement. Bauer appeals instead, and if he loses, he will miss 435 games.

Bauer has not turned up for the Dodgers since June 28, the day before a San Diego woman accused him of sexual assault during two sexual encounters at his home in Pasadena. Meanwhile, with Bauer on paid leave until the end of last season and the start of this one, a judge denied the woman’s request for a restraining order against him, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney refused to bring charges against him.

Under baseball’s sexual assault policy, Manfred has the power to suspend a player for violating the policy, even if he is not charged with a crime.

For example, the judge ruled at the hearing that “the only evidence of anything that happened while [the woman] was unconscious had been hit on the buttocks, ”despite her accusations of other injuries she sustained while unconscious during the two meetings last spring. The judge also said that her injuries, as depicted in photographs, were “terrible”, although she “was not ambiguous as to wanting hard sex in the … first meeting and wanting harder sex in the second meeting” . “

The woman has presented medical records in which doctors diagnosed her with “assault by manual suffocation” and “acute head injury” after the second sexual encounter with Bauer. His legal team challenged the accuracy of the medical assessment. Bauer has said that when she left his home after each meeting, “she certainly did not look like the pictures that were later attached to her family law statement and circulated by her lawyers to the media.”

Although the district attorney said he could not prove any charges beyond a reasonable doubt, Manfred does not have to meet that standard and assessed Bauer’s behavior in relation to a league policy that defines a sexual act without consent in part as “when a person uses force … or when the victim is … unconscious or legally unable to give consent. ” The policy states that “a single incident of abuse … may subject a player to discipline.”

Bauer said, “I have never assaulted her in any way, at any time.”

The judge at the restraining order hearing said the woman had been “substantially misleading” in her written testimony to the court.

However, the judge rejected Bauer’s claim for access to her cell phone records, which his lawyers said could have shown how the woman implemented “a plan to seek hard sex so she could later seek to make money.” Her lawyers, who had previously denied that the woman had sought fame or profit, said the claim was merely a way to continue harassing the woman months after the restraining order had been denied.

On Monday, Bauer sued the woman, claiming she had created him, filed a false police report and then carried out a “malicious campaign” against him, which included providing “altered and filtered” photographs of alleged damages to the court and the media. leading to him losing “revenue and opportunities for revenue from his contracts and potential contracts with sponsors and others.”

If the appeal holds, Bauer would receive about $ 41.5 million of his $ 102 million contract. Bauer could mention this loss in his case against the woman.

Bauer has also sued Deadspin and the Athletic for defamation.

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