Major League Baseball announced today that Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia will be reinstated for the 2019 season. He had previously been banned following a third positive PED test.
Mejia, who is now 28 years of age, last pitched in the majors in 2015. He has been on the restricted list since that time.
While the ban will not be lifted until next season, Mejia will be able to begin working out at Mets facilities after the All-Star break, per the announcement. He’ll also be eligible to take a rehab assignment this August and participate in Spring Training in 2019.
It comes as something of a surprise to see Mejia given a path back to playing, though of course he was never released by the organization precisely because it remained a possibility. Indeed, the Joint Drug Program allows banned players to seek reinstatement after two years away.
Mejia, though, seemingly burned some bridges by launching claims of a conspiracy that were vigorously contested by the league. In his comments today, released through the MLBPA, Mejia acknowledged “the false allegations [he] made about Major League Baseball’s investigation into my testing history.” He also offered apologies all around and specifically thanked Commissioner Rob Manfred for allowing him back into the game.
Ultimately, this represents great news for Mejia but also, potentially, a nice turn for the Mets. Though the righty has certainly caused some headaches in Queens over the years, he’s still youthful and has mostly been a quality MLB reliever — even serving as the organization’s closer at times in 2014.
That said, the upside for the New York organization is somewhat limited. The club said in a statement only that it will assess its options after seeing Mejia on the field. Though Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported in 2016 that Mejia would continue earning service time while technically banned, Tim Britton of The Athletic tweets today that Mejia will be deemed to have four years and 140 days entering the winter. If the Mets choose to tender him a contract, they’ll presumably revert to his most recent salary ($1.729MM) and would possess control rights through 2020.