Trevor Bauer has been on quite the roller coaster over the last three-plus years.
He parlayed a Cy Young Award in 2020 into a $102 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the following season.
Then, he was hit with graphic sexual assault allegations in which a woman said the pitcher knocked her unconscious during a sexual encounter without her consent.
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Bauer has been hit with other allegations but has cleared his name in just about all of them. However, he was still hammered with a 324-game suspension for violating MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
His suspension was reduced to 194 (representing the time he missed in 2021 while on administrative leave and the entirety of the 2022 season), but he was still released by the Dodgers before the 2023 season began. As a result, he played professionally in Japan last year.
Now, the majority of Bauer’s legal issues are over and he’s ready to go back to Major League Baseball. He has not pitched in the majors since June 28, 2021.
Bauer told Fox News Digital in a sit-down that he never did anything “criminally” but still had to look in the mirror and work on himself after the allegations.
And that is something he says all 30 MLB teams should look at and consider in their dialogue with the 32-year-old during free agency.
“Anyone that’s willing to sit down with me and listen: I’d like to play the second half of my career in a better way than I played the first half,” Bauer told Fox News Digital. “I’d like to be an example that you can make mistakes, recognize them, adjust and then be better in the future. I think that’s something us as humans have to do and should be doing constantly.”
“So, yeah, anyone who’s willing to listen: I want to make things right and do things better. Whether it’s MLB teams or media members or members of MLB, whoever. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the last two and a half years. There’s a lot of things I would like to do better, a lot of severed and damaged relationships I’d like to repair.”
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One of Bauer’s former teammates recently advocated for the pitcher. Mookie Betts called Bauer “an awesome guy” and said his experience with him “is not anything remotely close to what everyone else’s experience is.”
Bauer called Betts’ comments “a breath of fresh air.”
“Obviously, it’s a tough landscape for players to come out, coaches to come out and say things publicly, and I get that. So, I’m super appreciative that he said those things,” Bauer said.
But the pitcher said he’s gotten plenty of similar sentiments from others in private.
“You can go through my texts and pull up countless examples of that,” Bauer said. “It’s nice when some of the private support is shown publicly.”
He was recently an All-Star in Japan with a 2.76 ERA at their professional level, and he was elite in the majors just before his suspension.
In a combined 28 starts in the COVID-shortened 2020 season and his abbreviated 2021 campaign, his ERA was a minuscule 2.24, and he struck out 11.8 batters per nine innings with a 0.92 WHIP.
That’s why Bauer expects to play in the majors this year.
“I think I’m one of the best pitchers in the world,” Bauer said. “Going to Japan last year, had a really good year, set some new personal highs in velocity. My average velocity was second-highest ever in my career, peak velocity was the highest ever. [I] developed a new pitch. I think I’m one of the best pitchers in the world. I think, talent-wise, I deserve to play in the MLB. Obviously, there’s outside circumstances, so hopefully I’ll get a second chance, but I definitely expect to be playing.”
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“I have a lot to bring a team on and off the field,” he added. “I’m very passionate about helping other players around me. But I think it’s more of, I want to be a positive influence on the community, on the team, on the organization, on the players. I’m going to perform on the field. I’m in great shape. I’m better now than I ever have been in my career. I have no doubt that I’ll perform well on the field.”
“But I want to be a positive impact in the clubhouse. I want to be a positive impact in the community, and I will do those things. I’m committed to playing the second half of my career better than I played in the first, helping grow the game both from a skill perspective, on-the-field technical perspective and from a fan-engagement perspective. I have a lot to offer. I’m going to do the second half of my career better than I did the first, and I’m just looking for an opportunity to do that.”
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