Dodgers executives addressed Trevor Bauer’s release for the first time publicly Wednesday, though they left several pressing questions about the process behind the decision unanswered, 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 it had made the right decision by 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 came from the fact that the commissioner’s office and the independent arbitrator reviewed all the aspects of the case and found him to be in violation, and to serve the longest suspension ever, under this policy,” Friedman said. “And as we went through that, that was enough for us. We feel good about our process and what led us to where we are now.”
Said Kasten: “We had the time to check all our bases, get all the input you could get to make a decision, which we did. And that included hearing from Trevor, because we had not spoken to him since the beginning of this … I stand by our decision. I’m very comfortable with it.”
Kasten and Friedman, however, were less willing to disclose various specifics surrounding the situation — including, most notably, the team’s in-person meeting with the embattled pitcher the day before their Jan. 6 announcement that he would be released.
Bauer, whose is eligible to play in 2023 after his original 324-game ban was reduced by an independent arbitrator, issued a statement in which he revealed unnamed members of “Dodgers leadership” had met with him in Arizona on Jan. 5 and claimed they “told me that they wanted me to return and pitch for the team this year.”
Kasten on Wednesday declined to address any specifics about the meeting, including who from the Dodgers met with Bauer and what exactly the sides discussed.
“I’m not gonna get into contradicting or agreeing with anything about what was supposed to be a private conversation,” Kasten said. “I’ll just say, within a very short time we came back and made our decision. I think that speaks for itself.”
Asked if there was anything Bauer could have said or committed to at that meeting that could have swayed the Dodgers to bring him back, Kasten again deflected.
“I think we all had strong feelings and until we decided — those of us who made this decision — until we decided I guess anything was possible,” Kasten said. “But I think we all had a strong feeling all the way through 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 that ensured they would not be able to stay under MLB’s luxury tax threshold this season and reset tax penalties for future years.
Friedman said the Bauer situation didn’t serve as a hindrance to the Dodgers’ moves this offseason — a series of smaller, short-term additions that have underwhelmed factions of the fan base that hoped the team would not only retain such stars as Trea Turner and Justin Turner, but also make another splashy addition to the roster following their early exit from the playoffs last season.
“Obviously, we didn’t know what the outcome would be,” Friedman said. “But we pursued some things that were more aggressive this winter that didn’t line up. So then, we felt like we had a really talented core in place, and supplementing the way we did felt like it kept us in position to contend for a championship. We feel like we’re gonna have a really good team this year.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.