When Major League Baseball teams weigh player acquisitions against potential backlash and PR storm

In 2016, David Wright was still the face of the New York Mets, team captain, and club veteran Hakim despite the nearing end of his playing career.

That spring, when the club and then-general manager Sandy Alderson jumped at an opportunity to bring Jose Reyes back to Flushing—after Reyes had served a lengthy suspension for violating their joint domestic violence policy—it was Wright who welcomed Reyes back to the Dominicans. The flowing fold.

“One of (Reyes’s) best friends was still there, and that was David Wright. When Jose walked in those clubhouse doors, the first guy to get up and go and give him a hug was David,” says Terry Collins, who was the Mets manager at the time. “He told you.” This kind of impact of Jose’s return. David was definitely the face of the team. I think that helped the situation a bit.”

Embracing his old club Reyes, just months after a disturbing domestic violence charge was filed in a Maui Police Department press release, underscores the delicate and multi-layered decision-making process teams face when considering the acquisition of a controversial player. The equation.

Reyes was a member of the Rockies at the time of his October 31, 2015 arrest, and while serving a 51-game suspension under MLB management. But Colorado released him shortly thereafter, opening the window for a signing by the Mets. Reyes was not prosecuted after his wife refused to cooperate with the Hawaiian authorities.

Pitcher Trevor Bauer, who was released by the Dodgers earlier this month after his months-long arbitration hearing ended, now faces a similar professional crossroads: Will one of the 29 other Major League Baseball franchises sign him in the wake of his very public legal odyssey during the last two years?

Bauer, 32, was disciplined by Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred for violating the domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy — the same policy that MLB determined Reyes had violated in 2016.

Bauer was the subject of a league investigation into allegations of sexual abuse made against him by several women. Rightholder was not arrested nor charged with any crimes — unlike Reyes — and one of Bauer’s accusers, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, dismissed a permanent restraining order against him and also set aside a temporary restraining order in the same hearing in August 2021.

Among the allegations made to Bauer by a San Diego woman was that he choked her to the point of unconsciousness during two sexual encounters at Bauer’s Pasadena home in 2021. Bauer denied the allegations and later released a YouTube video saying he had consensual rough sex with the woman.

But Manfred has the power to discipline policy offenders even if they are not arrested or convicted in a court of law. Manfred Bauer gave a historic 324-game ban, which the pitcher appealed, and an independent arbitrator later reduced the penalty to 194 games. The suspension runs through the 2023 season. Bauer lost about $38 million in salary as a result of the discipline. He signed a three-year, $102 million contract extension with the Dodgers prior to the 2021 season.

The charges against Reyes were listed in the 2015 Maui PD press release as “abuse of a family and/or a family member.” The release also stated that Reyes and his wife “were involved in an altercation that turned physical and resulted in injuries. Ms. Reyes was treated by paramedics at the scene and was subsequently transported to Maui Memorial Medical Center for further treatment.”

Collins now says he “had no issues with that at all” after Alderson made the decision to sign Reyes.

“I certainly didn’t get into the allegations of what happened,” Collins says. “I knew my boss (Alderson) pretty accurate. If he’s okay with it, I’m okay with it.”

Alderson said in 2016 New York Daily news The story is that one of the conditions Reyes would have had to agree to if he signed with the Mets was to continue treatment outlined in their joint domestic violence policy, as well as agree to several other team conditions. Alderson said in the story that Reyes continued to fulfill all conditions throughout the 2016 season.

“I know Sandy would have taken care of all that stuff before Jose came along at that club,” Collins says now.

The Mets pitched the 2016 postseason, but Reyes wasn’t a factor, going no-hitter in the Mets’ 3-0 loss to the Giants in a wild card game. 267 in 60 games that season.

Reyes benefited from many allies in the Mets, most notably Wright, as well as front office approval. In Bauer’s case, though he may have had Dodger clubhouse allies—which he seemed to address in a statement upon his release—the team’s higher powers ultimately decided to sever ties. And even though he still owes Bauer $22.5 million.

Bauer’s last appearance in the major leagues was in late June 2021. He previously played with Cincinnati (with whom he won the 2020 National League Cy Young Award), Cleveland, and Arizona.

“I appreciate the great support I have received from the Dodgers,” Bauer said in his statement. “I wish the players all the best and look forward to competing elsewhere.”

It remains to be seen if “elsewhere” will be in the major leagues or another professional baseball league.

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