On Tuesday afternoon, Los Angeles Dodgers fans learned that Trevor Bauer will not face criminal sexual assault charges for his actions in 2021.
This does not necessarily end Bauer’s saga; an MLB investigation remains ongoing, and the 31-year-old could still face a lengthy suspension (and/or civil charges, if his accusers in California and Ohio decide to file).
Some speculated that, under MLB’s domestic violence policy, Bauer could face a full year’s suspension even after seeing his criminal charges dissipate. Baseball has failed repeatedly to take a proper stand in domestic violence cases, so it would not be shocking for them to either make Bauer an example to prove they’ve changed or levy a light suspension yet again, in accordance with their previous behavior.
In the case of a full year’s suspension, the Dodgers would be rid of Bauer’s onerous contract, and he would be free to sign elsewhere following the 2022 season.
If the deal does not get voided, it would still seem to be an awfully uncomfortable proposition to add Bauer back into a locker room that rejected him last season, watching his bobblehead day and all promotional materials scrubbed from the Dodger Stadium team store during the middle of a pennant chase.
Seeking Bauer’s next destination is a difficult proposition. During his much-ballyhooed free agency, the two finalists — and only two teams who really seemed the least bit interested — were the Dodgers and Mets. When Steve Cohen blinked, LA won the bidding, leading to a year-long victory lap from the New York owner that he avoided Bauer’s contract. Especially with Max Scherzer now in Flushing, that is not a fit.
Where else might Bauer be welcomed? Based on prior evidence, behavior or need, these three teams make a modicum of sense.
3 destinations for Trevor Bauer after Dodgers tenure
3. Houston Astros
No strangers to controversy — and no strangers to feuding with Bauer — the Houston Astros would be a stunningly interesting fit for the star right-hander.
Under Jeff Luhnow, Houston’s ruthless decision-makers almost took pride in ignoring red flags, making the baseball decision to trade for closer Roberto Osuna as disturbing domestic violence accusations loomed overhead. The move resulted in a 2018 ALCS flameout and a 2019 World Series loss, though disgraced former executive Brandon Taubman would have you believe it helped him secure back-to-back rings.
Bauer’s headbutting with the Astros occurred in the wake of their pitchers’ rising spin rates. The right-hander was at the forefront of accusing the team’s starters, from Justin Verlander to Gerrit Cole to Lance McCullers Jr., of using a substance that wasn’t above board to doctor the baseball. McCullers, especially, spit venom back and forth with Bauer, referring to him dismissively as “Tyler” in his ongoing crusade to devalue Houston’s work on the mound.
Was Bauer right? Of course! As the midseason Spider Tack ban has taught us, plenty of the league’s elite pitchers were using something that went above and beyond to change the baseball’s spin.
If you can’t beat ’em, though, you’ve got to join ’em, right? Bauer’s spin rates ticked up artificially during his 2020 breakout Cy Young season in the exact manner he once decried. After years of claiming he could alter his spin rate but cared too much about authenticity to ever try it, he clearly left his morals aside when a free agent payday was a few steps ahead of him.
In more ways than one, Bauer’s become the perfect Astro in recent years, and we could see a union — as long as McCullers signs off.