Sudden Major League Promotion for Anraku and Bauer Amid Bullying and Assault Allegations Against Junior Players | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Sudden Major League Promotion for Anraku and Bauer Amid Bullying and Assault Allegations Against Junior Players

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Bauer pitching well in the Mexican League

Rakuten’s pitcher, Tomohiro Anraku (27), who became a free agent due to allegations of power harassment, has signed with the Mexican professional baseball team “Mexican Red Devils” (hereinafter referred to as the Red Devils). Trevor Bauer (33), who played for DeNA last year, also joined the same team. Both players were involved in trouble and were looking for new teams. After playing in the Central and South American leagues, there is a possibility of a significant step up in their careers.


“Anraku, now a player for the Red Devils, pitched as the sixth pitcher in a friendly match against the Yankees held in Mexico in late March. He struck out two consecutive batters and recorded his first save. Although the opponents were minor league players, considering the solid performance by Bauer, who started the previous day’s game and pitched three innings with four hits, three strikeouts, and no runs, Anraku’s achievement might have been a relief for him,” says a local writer.

Both Anraku and Bauer were expelled from their former teams due to misconduct. In Anraku’s case, several players reported incidents of power harassment during contract negotiations last year. After the team’s investigation revealed harassment acts such as making junior players do handstands in the locker room and exposing their lower bodies, Anraku became a free agent in December.


Surprising Strengths in the Mexican League

On the other hand, Bauer was accused of assault in May 2021 after engaging in sexual activities with an acquaintance, allegedly causing injuries to her face. While there was insufficient evidence for prosecution, he received a suspension from Major League Baseball and was released by the Dodgers in January 2023. After playing for DeNA last year and becoming a free agent in the offseason, he signed a short-term contract with the Red Devils this season.

The Red Devils are a prestigious team that has won the Mexican League championship 16 times. What is the level of baseball there?

“In terms of intricate details, Japanese baseball is superior, but overall, the quality is high. There are many talented players, including pitchers with fastball speeds exceeding 150 km/h and power hitters who previously played in Major League Baseball. Romero and Amador, who both played for Rakuten like Anraku, are also with the Red Devils (Romero retired last year). Anraku’s signing may have been facilitated by the team’s support,” says the same source.

What’s intriguing is the future trajectory of both players. Bauer, in particular, is eager to return to the Major Leagues. A Major League source shares:

“In Bauer’s case, he has the talent to win the Cy Young Award and is still only 33 years old. He has been making efforts to appeal for a return to the Majors, including apologizing and explaining the sexual assault allegations on a US television news program in January this year.

He consistently denies the sexual assault allegations. Support for him increased when messages from the victim suggesting financial motives and a video of a woman laughing next to Bauer’s bed the day after the incident were made public. He has already reached a settlement with the victim. He was also invited to the Dodgers’ spring training in March this year. If he performs well in Mexico, there might be an unexpected return to the Major Leagues.”

For Anraku, returning to Japanese professional baseball in the short term is deemed difficult.


“It’s unlikely for at least several years. There’s a precedent with Sho Nakata, who was traded due to bullying of a fellow younger player, but Anraku’s case seems to involve a higher degree of habitual behavior. It might be possible for him to join an independent league after the dust settles and make a comeback to NPB from there, but he should be prepared for harsh criticism,” says a sports newspaper journalist.


However, there’s a higher likelihood if it comes to making it to the Major Leagues. Major League Baseball is also strict about misconduct. Yasiel Puig, who hit 132 home runs for teams like the Dodgers, was involved in a sexual assault case and now plays in Mexican professional baseball. Similarly, Julio Urias from the Dodgers was arrested for domestic violence but left the team and is currently seeking to play in Japan. On the other hand, there are cases where players faced no punishment.


“Kim Ha-seong, who plays for the Padres, was accused of habitual assault by a younger player from his Korean days. However, since Kim counter-sued the younger player for alleged extortion when asked for settlement money, there have been no repercussions for the ‘assault’ so far.


There’s a perception that foreign players are treated more leniently for troubles they cause in their home countries, compared to American players. Anraku might sign a minor league contract in the future and then be promoted to the Major Leagues. However, it’s essential for him to leave a notable mark in Mexico to attract the attention of Major League scouts,” the journalist concludes.


The day when Anraku and Bauer, despite their troubles, achieve a double promotion from the Mexican League to the Major Leagues might become a reality.

  • Reporting and writing by Masayoshi Katayama (journalist) Masayoshi Katayama (Journalist) PHOTO AP/Afro

Photo Gallery1 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles