In the aftermath of his suspension and release from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Trevor Bauer spent the 2023 seasons where MLB careers go to die.
The 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner signed a one-year contract with the Yokohama DeNa BayStars of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) in Japan. That came about two years after a $102 million deal with the Dodgers.
Bauer was hammered with a 324-game suspension due to allegations of sexual abuse. It was eventually reduced to 194 to reflect the time he missed on administrative leave in 2021 and the games he was suspended for in 2022.
When the suspension was lifted, the Dodgers opted to part ways with him, making him a free agent. However, he did not sign with an MLB team, and crossed the Pacific Ocean.
For plenty of MLB players, NPB is where players hold out hope to get their careers back on track, but it is often where it finally fizzles out.
For Bauer, however, his career might have been revitalized.
"Going to Japan last year, had a really good year, set some new personal highs in velocity," Bauer told Fox News Digital recently. "My average velocity was second-highest ever in my career, peak velocity was the highest ever."
Leave it to Bauer, notoriously known as one of the "nerds" of baseball, to discuss levo (he also said he developed a new pitch).
He pitched for a 2.76 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP and 9.0 ERA.
However, off the field, it was a breath of fresh air for Bauer, who was celebrated in Japan while long being a villain in the United States.
"The experience in Japan was awesome…" Bauer said.
"The fans were fantastic… Every game there is like a European soccer game. Band in the stands, chants, drums, crazy energy, sold out, pack the stadium. Fans were incredible to me, personally, just walking around town. Can’t even count the number of pictures and autographs I signed. People were just so excited to see me. It was great. I can talk forever about how great the experience was."
Now, Bauer wants to get back to the major leagues, and after his success in Japan, he expects to.
"I think I’m one of the best pitchers in the world. I think talent-wise, I deserve to play in the MLB," he said. "Obviously, there’s outside circumstances, so hopefully I’ll get a second chance, but I definitely expect to be playing."