Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna was arrested early this morning, per John Lott of The Athletic (subscription link). Osuna has been charged with domestic assault of his girlfriend, according to Hazel Mae of Sportsnet (via Twitter).
Details are scant at this point, so it’s far too soon to assess the situation. The precise nature of the allegations, possible range of legal ramifications, and potential for league punishment are all completely unknown publicly.
That said, given that this matter reportedly arose in the context of a domestic relationship, it falls within the purview of the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. It is worth reviewing some of the most salient aspects of that agreement, which has been deployed several times since it was implemented in August of 2015.
Under that policy, commissioner Rob Manfred has the authority to “place a player accused of” such behavior “on paid Administrative Leave for up to seven days while the allegations are investigated before making a disciplinary decision,” though players also have a mechanism to challenge that treatment “immediately.” That provisional authority was previously exercised in the middle of the 2016 season with regard to Hector Olivera and has again been utilized here. It does not suggest any particular final determination, however.
Manfred also has the power to oversee the full-scale investigatory and punitive regime set forth in the policy. Any ultimate punishment is subject to arbitration, with a “just cause” standard applied to any determinations made by the commissioner’s office. Olivera was ultimately convicted of a crime and suspended for 82 games. Other cases have involved quite different fact patterns and generally resulted in less significant suspensions. Most recently, for example, Steven Wright was suspended for 15 games. Following another recent investigation, it was determined that Miguel Sano would not receive punishment given the evidence compiled. Criminal charges or convictions are not required for Manfred to issue discipline, though surely that’s weighed in the balance.