The Chicago Cubs, along with 28 other teams in Major League Baseball, will have an opportunity to add a former National League Cy Young award winner and the team must avoid such a move at all costs. On Thursday, a neutral arbitrator made a ruling that Los Angles Dodgers starting pitcher Trevor Bauer's suspension be reduced from 324 games to 194 games. Bauer has already served that suspension and now the Los Angeles Dodgers have until January 6 to either reinstate the starting pitcher or release the 31-year-old starting pitcher.
In response to the decision, Major League Baseball released the following statement:
"“Today, the neutral arbitrator selected by MLB and the MLBPA affirmed that Trevor Bauer violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy,” the league said in a statement. “After an exhaustive review of the available evidence the neutral arbitrator upheld an unpaid suspension of 194 games. As part of the decision, the arbitrator reinstated Mr. Bauer effectively immediately, with a loss of pay covering the 144 games he was suspended during the 2022 season. In addition, the arbitrator docked Bauer’s salary for the first 50 games of the 2023 season (i.e., the period covering March 30, 2023 to May 23, 2023). While we believe a longer suspension was warranted, MLB will abide by the neutral arbitrator’s decision, which upholds baseball’s longest-ever active player suspension for sexual assault or domestic violence. We understand this process was difficult for the witnesses involved and we thank them for their participation. Due to the collectively bargained confidentiality provisions of the joint program, we are unable to provide further details at this time.”"- MLB Trade Rumors
There is an expectation that the Dodgers will release Bauer.
For reasons far more important than anything baseball-related, teams will need to weigh the circumstances that would be involved with the signing of Bauer. This is not foreign territory for a team like the Cubs.
In 2018, Cubs shortstop Addison Russell was suspended 40 games for violation of Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse policy. The Cubs' decision to keep Russell after his suspension ended in 2019 was met with scrutiny and the team ultimately parted ways with the shortstop when he was non-tendered in December of the same year. Russell has not appeared in a Major League game since.
For a team that prides itself on its family culture and values, the Cubs need to stay clear of Bauer. The hope is the Cubs learned from their handling of Russell and understand that some players, regardless of any value they provide on the field, should not be afforded an opportunity if they don't align with an organization's values.