Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer’s appeal hearing is scheduled to begin on May 23, multiple sources told The Athleticon the condition of anonymity given that the appeal process is confidential.
Bauer is appealing a 324-game suspension issued on April 29 by Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred for violating the league’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy. He was first placed on administrative leave in July 2021, after a San Diego woman accused him of sexual assault during an encounter that began as consensual and, she said, turned violent.
Bauer has denied any wrongdoing. In February, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office declined to press charges against Bauer. MLB can issue penalties to players under its current policy, even if they are not charged with or convicted of a crime.
The appeal process, sources say, will follow the same steps of any other grievance in that it will take place over several days a month for the next few months, based on arbitrator availability. There are three members on the panel of arbitrators: One selected by Major League Baseball, one by the MLB Players Association, and one independent arbitrator approved by both sides. The panel will be selected specifically for Bauer’s case, though the independent arbitrator — the same one used for the now-dropped grievance from the players’ union over the shortened 2020 season — will remain the same. (That grievance was dropped during lockout negotiations.) This procedure for appealing or filing a grievance follows the stipulations laid out in Article 11 of the sport’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.
There are three possible outcomes from the arbitrators: They can dismiss the case totally; reduces Bauer’s suspension; or uphold the full 324 games. This is the first time since the league instituted the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy that an appeal has been filed. Bauer’s suspension is also the longest to be handed down under that policy since it went into effect in 2015.
Given that, and the potential scope of the case — the Washington Post reported last month that a third woman had made allegations against Bauer and participated in MLB’s investigation—it’s unclear when a verdict would be reached. The Post had also reported a second allegation last summer, involving a woman in Cuyahoga county. Bauer has also denied the allegations made by both of those women. Bauer has also filed a lawsuit against The Athletic for libel for its reporting on the woman’s petition for a protective order.
Multiple sources told The Athletic the appeal process could stretch into later this summer, and possibly beyond.
Shortly after the league announced his punishment, Bauer tweeted: “In the strongest possible terms, I deny committing any violation of the league’s domestic violence & sexual assault policy. I am appealing this action and expect to prevail. As we have throughout this process, my representatives & I respect the confidentiality of the proceedings.”
Bauer is currently on the restricted list and is not being paid while the grievance process unfolds, though the games he is missing now count toward his total suspension. Prior to the league’s announcement on April 29, Bauer was on administrative leave, which is not an admission of guilt and included full salary while the league conducted its investigation. None of the games he missed while on administrative leave count toward his suspension of him.
The Dodgers also issued their first public comments since his suspension, saying in a team statement on April 29:
“The Dodgers organization takes all allegations of this nature very seriously and does not condone or excuse any acts of domestic violence or sexual assault. We’ve cooperated fully with MLB’s investigation since it began, and we fully support MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy, and the Commissioner’s enforcement of the Policy. We understand that Trevor has the right to appeal the Commissioner’s decision.”
The Dodgers signed Bauer to a three-year, $102-million deal prior to the 2021 season.
(Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)