Major league baseball has announced that Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes has been suspended without pay through May 31st under the league’s joint domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse policy. He’ll be credited for the time he’s already missed in calculating the suspension, though he’ll forego salary that had previously been available under his paid administrative leave.
Reyes will not contest the ban. It’ll technically cost him 52 games, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets, though Colorado will only have had 51 contests to that point (with one re-scheduled rainout). Reyes will be eligible to begin working out now and could start a rehab assignment as soon as the calendar flips to June.
The veteran infielder will end up losing just over $7.09MM of his total $22MM salary this season, as he’ll ultimately go without pay for the first 59 days of the 183-day “championship season,” as defined in the CBA. Plus, he’ll make a $100K donation to a charity for domestic abuse. That’s a more or less token amount, but presumably its inclusion in the terms of the agreed-upon suspension was motivated by some reason beyond the money involved.
All told, the severity of the punishment is surprisingly light, at least in comparison to the precedent set in this and other spheres of league discipline. He’ll ultimately lose quite a bit less time and money than had he been caught with a PED for the first time. Indeed, his suspension barely tops the 50-game bans handed out to minor leaguers for such relatively innocuous actions as testing positive for marijuana use.
Aroldis Chapman previously received a 30-game domestic violence suspension of his own, with commissioner Rob Manfred citing his use of a firearm in the course of a domestic dispute with his girlfriend. But he was never arrested or charged in the matter, and there was seemingly never any clear evidence that he had initiated any physical contact with his girlfriend.
The Reyes case seemingly contained an even more serious factual setting: his wife said at the time that he grabbed her by the throat and shoved her into a sliding glass door, and she received treatment at a hospital. He was arrested, charged, and set for trial until the charges had to be dropped when Mrs. Reyes decided not to testify against her husband.
To be fair, Reyes has been on administrative leave and in limbo for quite some time, as the incident in question occurred on Halloween night. But that delay occurred in large part because of the pending legal action and, it seems, an effort by the league, union, and Reyes’s representatives to avoid a grievance over the length of the ban.
It’s unclear what the future holds for Reyes. He has been bypassed at the major league level by Trevor Story, and it’s not apparent what role he would play for the Rockies, who still owe him the remainder of his salary for the present season and $26MM more thereafter (including a buyout on his 2018 club option).
A report earlier today suggested that there is trade interest in the soon-to-be 33-year-old, though it’s not clear whether he’d be pursued as a means of prying a prospect or draft pick from the Rockies or also because of his potential to aid another club down the stretch. If history is any indication, he’ll have another shot at the majors at some point, though Reyes already seemed in decline before this black mark went on his record.
Reyes issued a statement apologizing, rather vaguely, “for everything that has happened,” as Nick Groke of the Denver Post was among those to report. He went on to say that he’s “happy to put all this in the past and get back to doing what I love the most, playing baseball.” Reyes also thanked his wife, who he said “has remained by my side throughout everything.”
Regardless of how one weighs those words, Reyes will certainly have a long ways to go to show he’s learned from the incident. He’ll also be required to submit to counseling, as contemplated in the policy. Commissioner Rob Manfred said that he’s “encouraged by Mr. Reyes’ commitment to the treatment provisions of the Policy in order to ensure that such an incident does not occur in the future.”