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[NOTES on a SCORECARD] For Trevor Bauer, a Quick Return to MLB Looks Increasingly Unlikely

Trevor Bauer, who pitched for NPB's BayStars in 2023, wants to return to MLB, but past accusations of sexual assault appear to be impacting that goal.

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Trevor Bauer
Yokohama DeNA BayStars starter Trevor Bauer pitches against the Hanshin Tigers on June 25, 2023, at Yokohama Stadium. (ⒸSANKEI)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [NOTES on a SCORECARD] For Trevor Bauer, a Quick Return to MLB Looks Increasingly Unlikely

With roughly one week left until MLB teams require pitchers and catchers to report for spring training (February 14 or 15 for most teams), free agent pitcher Trevor Bauer remains unsigned. The 33-year-old spent the 2023 season with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars, where he compiled a 10-4 record with an ERA of 2.76 in 19 games as a starter.

Bauer's situation is complicated, to say the least, in that previous allegations of sexual battery against him never resulted in any criminal charges being filed. However, they have cast a shadow that has followed from the United States to Japan and back.

While playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2021, Bauer was put on administrative leave by MLB over the allegations. He was then suspended by MLB in April of 2022 for a record 324 games as a result of its investigation into his conduct. On appeal, the ban was later reduced to 194 games.

The Dodgers' decision to release him in January of 2023 made Bauer a free agent and cleared the way for him to play in Japan.

Why is the 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner still unsigned?

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The answer is simple.

MLB owners, executives and managers don't want the distraction that would come along with signing Bauer. 

In the social media era of the past 15 years or so, one does not have to be indicted or convicted of a crime to be ostracized in the court of public opinion. They only have to have allegations leveled at them.

Trevor Bauer
Then-Yokohama DeNA BayStars teammates Trevor Bauer (right) and Shota Imanaga chat in the dugout on April 26, 2023, at Yokohama Stadium. (ⒸSANKEI)

Past Allegations Tarnish Trevor Bauer's Reputation

Bauer could clearly still contribute to many MLB teams. But some of his previous behavior along with the allegations leveled by multiple women of physical abuse at his hand, are making clubs reluctant to step forward and offer him a chance.

The pitcher tried to put a new foot forward with a high-profile interview on Fox News in January where he admitted he "made mistakes" and was "reckless" in his personal life.

"I agreed to do things I shouldn't have done," Bauer said in the interview. "It hurt a lot of people along the way."

He then said, "It made things very difficult for Major League Baseball, for the Dodgers, my teammates, friends, family, people close to me. So, I've done a lot of reflection on that and made a lot of changes in my life to address that."

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When Bauer signed to play the 2023 season in Japan, I remember thinking that if he thought one year here was going to clear the path for him back to MLB, he was mistaken. There was just too much fallout from the allegations against him.

I thought he would have to play in Japan for two or three years to ever get another shot at playing in the majors.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.

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Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.

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