Dodgers executives spoke publicly about the release of Trevor Bauer for the first time on Wednesday, though they left unanswered several pressing questions about the process behind the decision, including details about their meeting with Bauer the day before cutting ties with him last month.
In a meeting with local reporters inside a Dodger Stadium conference room, club president Stan Kasten and president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman both said the team was confident they had made the right decision in releasing Bauer, whose 194-game suspension was the longest administered under Major League Baseball’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Policy.
“Most of what we know comes from the fact that the commissioner’s office and the independent arbitrator reviewed all aspects of the case and found it in violation and served the longest suspension ever, under this policy “Friedman said. “And as we went through it, that was enough for us. We feel good about our process and what got us to where we are now.
Said Kasten: “We had the time to check all of our bases, get all the input you could get to make a decision, which we did. And that included listening to Trevor, because we haven’t talked to him about this in the beginning… I stand by our decision. I am very happy with it.
Kasten and Friedman, however, were less willing to divulge various details about the situation, including, most notably, the team’s in-person meeting with the pitcher fought the day before the Jan. 6 announcement that he would be released.
Bauer, who is eligible to play in 2023 after his original 324-game ban was reduced by an independent referee, released a statement revealing that unnamed members of the “Dodgers leadership” had met with him in Arizona on January 5 and claimed that “he told me they wanted me to come back and pitch for the team this year.”
Kasten on Wednesday declined to give details about the meeting, including who of the Dodgers Bauer met with and what exactly the sides discussed.
“I’m not going to contradict or agree anything about what was meant to be a private conversation,” Kasten said. “I will just say that in a very short time we came back and made our decision. I think it speaks for itself.
Asked if there was anything Bauer could have said or committed in that fight that might have convinced the Dodgers to bring him back, Kasten again deflected.
“I think we all had strong feelings and until we made up our minds — those of us who made this decision — until we made up my mind, I guess anything was possible,” Kasten said. “But I think we’ve all had a strong feeling throughout the process of the right way to handle this.”
Though they released him, the Dodgers must pay Bauer his reduced salary of $22.5 million this season, an amount he ensured they would not be able to stay below MLB’s luxury tax threshold this season. and reset the tax penalties for future years.
Friedman said Bauer’s situation hasn’t been a hindrance to the Dodgers’ moves this offseason — a series of minor, short-term additions that have disappointed factions of the fan base who hoped the team wouldn’t keep only stars like Trea Turner and Justin Turner, but they also make another flashy addition to the roster following their early playoff exits last season.
“Obviously, we didn’t know what the outcome would be,” Friedman said. “But we’ve been pursuing some things that were more aggressive this winter that didn’t line up. So, we felt like we had a really talented core and integrating how we did that seemed to keep us in position to challenge for a championship. We feel like we will have a really good team this year.
This is a developing story and will be updated.
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.