Bill Plaschke, a Los Angeles Times columnist since 1996, wrote Thursday that the Dodgers need to cut starting pitcher Trevor Bauer, "and they need to do it now."
Major League Baseball reportedly extended an administrative leave Wednesday for Bauer - who won the National League Cy Young Award last season for the Cincinnati Reds - until July 27, as police continue to investigate allegations that Bauer sexually assaulted a woman. Bauer has not been charged with a crime.
An excerpt from Plaschke's column:
It would be enormously costly, legally difficult, and maybe impossible to actually pull off, but the Dodgers need to send the community a message about their standards by ridding themselves of a guy who has clearly sunk far below them.
It would be a message that the organization has zero tolerance for domestic violence, a message that the team is representing Los Angeles with a culture of decency and respect, a message that prioritizes integrity over statistics and morality over money.
It is a message that has been lost in all the legal shuffling and posturing that has occurred in the two weeks since a San Diego woman filed for a temporary restraining order against Bauer accompanied by a declaration filled with graphic photos, hospital records and gory details.
At this point, even if he is never charged with a crime, it seems obvious Bauer will never again take the mound for the Dodgers.
So why do the Dodgers still have him under contract? Why are the Dodgers still waiting for MLB to do their dirty work?
By releasing Bauer, it could cost them the nearly $100 million remaining on his contract. It would probably also result in all sorts of legal action taken against the team by MLB, the players’ union, and Bauer, whose contract is actually protected by the same policy which has led to his administrative leave.
It could get ugly. It could be futile. The Dodgers need to try it anyway.
Plaschke explained that the Angels eating Josh Hamilton's contract in 2015 - when Hamilton admitted to a relapse in his sobriety - is "precedent for a local team spending big money to rid themselves of a perceived problem."
Hamilton starred as an outfielder for the Reds in 2007.
Earlier this month, the Dodgers removed a Bauer bobblehead night from their promotional schedule, and Bauer-related merchandise was removed from the team store as well as the team's official website and MLB.com.
When MLB announced its initial seven-day administrative leave for Bauer, a statement from Bauer's co-agents indicated that Bauer would not appeal MLB's decision "in an effort to minimize any distraction to the Dodgers organization and to his teammates."
The league "continues to collect information in our ongoing investigation concurrent with the Pasadena Police Department’s active criminal investigation," according to the announcement.
"We were looking into some things and we thought we were nearing the end," Lt. Carolyn Gordon, who is overseeing the investigation, told USA TODAY Sports earlier this month. "We are not close to the end.
"This investigation is bigger than we thought. So we have to look a few more places. We want to try to uncover as much stuff as we can.''
Bauer is in his first season as a Dodger after spending part of the 2019 season and all of the 2020 season with the Reds.