Former Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer is finalizing a one-year contract with the Yokohama DeNA BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball, where he’ll rejoin professional baseball for the first time in nearly two years following a long suspension and release from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 32-year-old Bauer last pitched in June 2021, when a San Diego-area woman accused him of sexually assaulting her. He was placed on administrative leave for the remainder of the season and eventually suspended for 324 games by Major League Baseball. An arbitrator in December 2022 reduced the suspension to 194 games and reinstated Bauer, and the Dodgers released the pitcher in January, eating the final $22.5 million of his three-year, $102 million contract.
Bauer would still get his full salary from the Dodgers in addition to his BayStars salary.
Every team in MLB could have signed Bauer for the major league minimum but opted against it. He will join the BayStars, typically a middle-of-the-road team that last won a championship in the 12-team league in 1998.
Bauer denied the allegations of sexual assault by the woman, who said he choked her and hit her during rough sex. A California judge denied the woman’s attempt to get a permanent restraining order against Bauer, saying she “set limits without fully considering all the consequences.” At least two other women accused Bauer of sexual abuse, and the three spoke with MLB for its investigation, which led to the record-long suspension.
In the past, Bauer has expressed interest in potentially playing in Japan. His Twitter bio includes his name spelled out in Japanese kanji, and in 2020, when he officially reached free agency, he tweeted: “I’ll consider offers from any MLB or NPB team.”