Innocent, guilty or somewhere in-between, Trevor Bauer comes with his fair share of baggage. After the Dodgers designated him for assignment last week and subsequently released him, the former Cy Young winner would cost a club just the league minimum - but even that low price tag isn't enticing many teams, including the Cubs.
Bauer, who was reinstated after his MLB record 324-game suspension was reduced to 194 by an arbitrator, has been embattled by multiple sexual assault allegations that has kept him from playing since the middle of the 2021 season. He has not been convicted on any charges - but it's clear that if a team signs him, it'll come (rightfully so) with a tremendous amount of pushback and criticism.
Cubs are better off without Trevor Bauer and his baggage
A team like the Cubs, which lacks a bona fide ace, would otherwise be a fit for Bauer. Prior to his mid-season suspension, the former All-Star was dominant for the Dodgers, posting a 2.59 ERA, 1.003 WHIP and 11.5 K/9 in 17 starts. Set to turn 32 later this week, it remains to be seen whether a club out there decides to bring him into the fold ahead of the 2023 season.
When it comes to Chicago, though, after an offseason in which the front office has prided itself not only on the on-field talent of its acquisitions, but the character of these players, a Bauer signing would come with some major soul-searching for everyone involved.
In 2016, the Cubs seemingly turned a blind eye to Aroldis Chapman's domestic abuse history (he was the first player suspended under the league's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy) and then dealt with fallout with Addison Russell's domestic abuse allegations. Now, several years removed from those relationships, the Cubs seem to be doing the right thing and steering clear of involvement in a similar situation.
Chicago added right-hander Jameson Taillon to the mix this winter to shore up the rotation behind Marcus Stroman and Justin Steele - and also brought back left-handed veteran Drew Smyly for added depth. With Kyle Hendricks looking for a bounceback performance and a ton of young arms vying for innings, this team has what it needs and, clearly, knows what it doesn't need: another distraction.