Trevor Bauer has some burned bridges to rebuild, and lots of amends to make.
The 2020 NL Cy Young Award winner made himself into one of the most polarizing figures in baseball, long before bombshell sexual assault allegations that are extremely graphic.
Bauer's personality on and off the field was either loved or hated - mostly the latter - during his first few years in baseball. Whether it was his sword celebration on strikeouts, or tossing a ball over the center field wall from the mound when Terry Francona was about to yank him, or lambasting a female on social media, Bauer constantly made headlines.
Then, in 2021, he was alleged to have knocked a woman out during sex without her consent - because of the allegations, he served a 194-game suspension from Major League Baseball.
Bauer says he never did anything "from a criminal" standpoint, but that doesn't mean he never did anything wrong at all.
"I never sexually assaulted anyone – that’s the first thing I have to say. But I did put myself in precarious positions where something like this could happen. I made myself a target," he told Fox News Digital in a recent interview.
That's why he's in the process of fixing relationships with three separate parties, the first being women.
"I was completely undisciplined in my personal life…" Bauer said, adding that he'd let people "come into my life, no questions asked" immediately upon a direct message on social media.
"Having casual sexual relationships and just not paying attention to the things I was doing in my personal life. Obviously, that puts you in a position where stuff like this can happen. It’s reckless, for sure. Even though I didn’t do anything from a criminal [standpoint], from my perspective at the time, it was like ‘well, I’m not doing anything wrong, so what can go wrong?’ And that was just naïve and immature.
"I made a lot of changes – I’m not having casual sexual relationships anymore, I’m applying a lot more scrutiny that I let into my circle and keeping things small, my circle small, not agreeing to do certain things in the bedroom. Made a lot of changes in that area to try to live my life better and be a better person."
Bauer also said he regrets a lot of the "contentious" behavior he's had with members of the press and fans on social media, firing back at anyone who ripped him.
"I think my viewpoint on it at the time was that I was defending myself. I was bullied a lot as a kid, and my life got a lot better when I started standing up for myself," Bauer admits. "But in reflection of the past couple years, I should have just had a professional conversation, man-to-man, woman-to-man, conversation to understand perspectives. Probably would’ve made the situation a lot better over the years.
"I’m not trying to downplay the severity of the allegations. If they happen, they should absolutely looked into. They’re very serious. They didn’t happen, but having that contentious relationship with the media certainly blew this thing up. It didn’t make things better for me, or for the Dodgers organization, for my teammates, for Major League Baseball, and that caused a lot of collateral damage."
And arguably most importantly, he has a lot of work to do with Major League Baseball in general.
Bauer has publicly been harsh on MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in the past, but now that he's a business owner himself, he says he had a "big perspective shift."
"I can’t imagine what I would do if an employee came out and said the things about me publicly that I said about Rob, especially without having those conversations with me privately first. So I look back on those comments with a lot of embarrassment and regret," he says.
"I wish I would have handled things differently," he continued. "As everyone grows, you make mistakes, you learn from them hopefully, and you’re better in the future for them. I’ve certainly made a lot of mistakes, and I’ve made a lot of changes in my life to try to repair some of the wrongs that I’ve done and also not make the same mistakes."
All the above is now Bauer's elevator pitch to MLB teams, as he looks for his first opportunity to pitch in the majors in nearly three years.
"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."