11:48am: Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has released the following statement on the team’s behalf:
“The Office of the Commissioner informed the Angels that an arbitrator determined Josh Hamilton’s recent conduct did not violate his treatment program under MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, and therefore the Commissioner is not permitted to suspend or otherwise discipline Hamilton. The Club had no involvement in the proceeding or the ruling. The Angels have serious concerns about Josh’s conduct, health and behavior and we are disappointed that he has broken an important commitment which he made to himself, his family, his teammates and our fans. We are going to do everything possible to assure he receives proper help for himself and for the well-being of his family.”
11:12am: Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will not be suspended following a relapse into substance abuse, the league announced today. An outside arbitrator ruled that Hamilton’s conduct did not violate his treatment program and, as such, he is disallowed from being suspended by commissioner Rob Manfred. The commissioner’s office has issued the following statement:
“The issue of whether Josh Hamilton violated his treatment program was submitted to the Treatment Board established under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The MLB representatives and the Players Association representatives on the Treatment Board deadlocked on that issue, with MLB taking the position that Hamilton violated his treatment program and is subject to discipline by the Commissioner. Under the procedures of the Program, an outside arbitrator was appointed to break the tie, and the arbitrator ruled that Josh Hamilton’s conduct did not violate his treatment program. As a result of that decision, the Office of the Commissioner is not permitted to suspend or impose any discipline on Hamilton. The Office of the Commissioner disagrees with the decision, and will seek to address deficiencies in the manner in which drugs of abuse are addressed under the Program in the collective bargaining process.”
In addition to the personal implications for Hamilton and his well-being, the situation comes with financial implications for the Angels. Namely, had Hamilton been suspended without pay, the team would not be required to pay him his $23MM salary (at least, not while he was on the restricted list).
It’s unclear exactly how long a potential Hamilton suspension would have lasted, but based on the comments from the commissioner’s office, it seems rather likely that Manfred had intended to suspend Hamilton, should the arbitrator’s decision have gone the other way.