Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will receive a suspension in the coming days, reports Jon Heyman (on Twitter). Heyman doesn’t include the length of Chapman’s apparently looming discipline, but the left-hander “will get a ban,” per the report.
A suspension for Chapman, who allegedly choked his girlfriend and discharged a handgun eight times in his garage during an offseason incident, has been the expectation for quite some time despite the fact that criminal charges ultimately were not filed, and Chapman’s girlfriend, Cristina Barnea, delivered a significantly different recap of the events in the months that followed the incident itself. Barnea eventually told Broward County prosecutors that she only heard one gunshot and was not sure who fired the weapon. She also told prosecutors that she didn’t recall telling the police that Chapman had hit her, either. Witnesses from the birthday party at which the incident allegedly took place have not corroborated the initial allegations against Chapman.
Commissioner Rob Manfred recently spoke with reporters, however, explaining that disciplinary measures under the newly implemented domestic violence policy could still be taken even in the absence of criminal charges. Manfred implied that the decisions of law enforcement wouldn’t make up his own mind, stating that there are “lots of reasons for non-prosecution” and pointing out the differences between establishing proof in labor arbitration as opposed to establishing proof in criminal proceedings.
Chapman’s camp has said that he will appeal any disciplinary measures set forth by Major League Baseball, so the process could continue for quite some time even after an initial decision is announced by the Commissioner’s Office. It’s worth reminding that Chapman, who has five years, 34 days of Major League service times, is 138 days shy of reaching the requisite six years of big league service to qualify as a free agent. If he is suspended for longer than 45 days of the regular season (not games), he will be on track to fall shy of free agency. Of course, in light of a ban of that magnitude, one can imagine an adamant protest from Chapman’s representatives.