After a long-pending investigation, Major League Baseball has announced a 75-game suspension of Blue Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna under the MLB-MLBPA Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. The ban is retroactive to May 8th and will end on August 4th of this year. Osuna will not appeal the decision, the league states.
Manfred’s statement does not specify the league’s findings beyond stating that he determined Osuna to have violated the domestic violence policy. In some of the prior announcements of suspensions under the policy, Manfred has offered factual assessments and some explanation of the basis for the punishment.
In another (perhaps related) distinction from some prior precedent, the criminal case against Osuna is still pending. The league has generally waited until criminal matters are fully litigated or otherwise resolved, at least in part to facilitate the acquisition of information.
In this case, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, “it is believed MLB was able to interview the alleged victim” of the domestic assault. Osuna is said to be facing charges of assaulting his girlfriend. It seems, then, that commissioner Rob Manfred has been able to secure sufficient information to reach a determination.
There was surely greater pressure to reach a resolution given that the issue arose during the season. Osuna has been on administrative leave since his arrest, which explains the retroactive treatment. Heyman previously reported that the Toronto organization had unsuccessfully lobbied MLB for an expedited handling.
Under the policy, Manfred can issue suspensions or other punishments upon a finding that a player has committed a domestic assault or otherwise violated the terms of the policy, regardless of whether charges are brought or a conviction is secured. Punishment is subject to a “just cause” standard, though that will not be tested since Osuna has agreed to forego any appeal.
The 75-game duration of this suspension makes it the third-longest issued under the policy. Jose Torres (100 games) and Hector Olivera (82 games) hold the dubious distinction of having merited lengthier bans.
As the suspension is unpaid, Osuna will lose something on the order of $2.5MM of his $5.3MM salary for the season. It remains to be seen just how the remainder of his career will be impacted — it seems reasonable to expect broader ramifications, certainly — but at a minimum, his future potential arbitration earnings will be impacted substantially by the time he will have missed this season.