Free-agent starting pitcher Trevor Bauer agreed to a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of NPB in Japan, as reported by Japan’s Sakei Sports.
Bauer was previously suspended by MLB for 324 games for domestic violence and sexual assault. Last December, Bauer’s suspension was reduced by 130 games by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who Bauer pitched in 17 games for in 2021, released him following reinstatement.
The Dodgers initially signed Bauer after winning the NL Cy Young award during the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. He dominated with the reds, posting an ERA of 1.73 over 73 innings in 2020, and went 8-5 with a 2.59 ERA over 107 2/3 innings in 2021. His season ended quickly in June of 2021 after word came out about the accusation of sexual assault. Bauer got paid the rest of the season while the investigation into the matter was proceeding. During the time, two other women came forth with similar accusations against Bauer.
Although the Los Angeles County district attorney pursued no criminal charges, MLB still enforced the suspension, which does not require criminal charges to be enforced. Despite being reinstated early, only some teams showed interest in Bauer, including the likes of the Mets, Yankees, and Padres, all contending teams.
Since no Major League team signed Bauer as a free agent, even at the league minimum, the Dodgers do not have to pay the rest of his 2023 salary. Now the 32-year-old Bauer will take his skills to the far East to pitch in what is considered the second-best league in the world.
Bauer has a career MLB record of 83-69 with an ERA of 3.79 and 1416 strikeouts in 1297 2/3 innings. Should he pitch well in Japan, he might eventually draw interest from Major League Baseball teams in the future. That remains to be seen.