The last time Bauer signed a contract it was for $102 million over three seasons with the Dodgers, a deal announced with a press conference on the field at Dodgers Stadium. This time, Sankei Sports, a newspaper in Japan, broke the news of Bauer’s signing. According to that article, Bauer’s single-season contract is for 400 million yen, or roughly $3 million.
The team confirmed Bauer’s signing Monday evening, posting a video which included Bauer said that playing in Nippon Professional Baseball — his new league — “has always been a dream of mine and I can’t think of a better organization to do it with.”
Bauer’s representatives did not respond to messages seeking comment.
The Dodgers will still be on the hook for $22.5 million owed to Bauer in 2023. If he had signed with an MLB team, that team — which likely would have acquired him for the league minimum — would have only offset his Dodgers’ salary. But because Bauer signed with a foreign club, the Japanese salary will be in addition to the Dodgers’ pay.
In January, a representative for Bauer told The Washington Post that he was “negotiating with multiple MLB teams for a new contract.” But the overseas deal suggests that MLB teams passed on the once-dominant pitcher dogged by a string of similar allegations made by women since an initial accuser emerged in June 2021.
After that woman sought a restraining order against Bauer, alleging that he had strangled her unconscious and repeatedly punched her during a sexual encounter that resulted in her hospitalization, more women came forward with similar allegations of nonconsensual violence during sex.
Following a lengthy investigation in April, MLB suspended Bauer for 324 games, or two full seasons, the longest suspension in the history of the league’s domestic violence policy. Bauer appealed, leading to a months-long confidential hearing during which at least two of his accusers testified against him. An arbitrator reduced the suspension to 194 games.
Prosecutors in Los Angeles declined to charge Bauer for the alleged sexual assault, and a judge there denied his initial accuser’s request for a restraining order. Bauer has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and has never publicly expressed contrition concerning the allegations against him. Instead, he has gone on the offensive, including by filing a still-ongoing defamation lawsuit against one of his accusers.
After the Dodgers announced they were cutting ties with him in January, Bauer claimed that team officials had told him they “wanted me to return and pitch for the team this year.” He said he was “disappointed” by the team’s decision but “look[ed] forward to competing elsewhere.”
The Japanese outlet that reported Bauer’s signing wrote that Yokohama “investigated the acquisition carefully,” and that the team found that “the assault allegations against Bauer [were] dismissed due to a lack of evidence; with no ongoing criminal prosecution against him; and after close discussions with Bauer himself, decided to give Bauer the offer.”