Reliever Roberto Osuna has signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced yesterday. Mexican publication Beisbolpuro first reported the agreement (Twitter link) last week.
Osuna has spent the 2022 season playing in the Mexican League, where he’s appeared in 12 games with the Diablos Rojos del México. He tossed 13 1/3 innings of three-run ball, striking out 15 batters and collecting six saves. That strong work caught the attention of the Marines, who figure to install Osuna at the back end of their bullpen.
The 27-year-old hasn’t appeared in a major league game since 2020, when he was outrighted off the Astros roster. Osuna had missed much of that season with an elbow injury that limited him to four appearances. That malady initially came with a recommendation he undergo Tommy John surgery, but a second opinion suggested he could rehab without going under the knife. He’s spent the past couple seasons pitching in Mexico and seems to have recovered from the elbow issue, considering how effective he’s been for the Diablos Rojos.
Of greater import is that Osuna served a 75-game suspension in 2018 for violating the MLB – MLBPA Domestic Violence Policy. A member of the Blue Jays at the time, he was arrested in Canada and charged with the assault of his then-girlfriend. He later agreed to a one-year peace bond, with the alleged victim withdrawing the charges to resolve the criminal case.
Per the Canadian Department of Justice’s web site, peace bonds are generally used when “an individual (the defendant) appears likely to commit a criminal offence, but there are no reasonable grounds to believe that an offence has actually been committed.” The Canadian Department of Justice further adds that peace bonds are obtainable by “any person who fears that another person may injure them, their spouse or common-law partner, or a child, or may damage their property.”
The Astros acquired Osuna from Toronto at the 2018 trade deadline while he was in the midst of serving his suspension. He posted excellent numbers, tossing 103 innings of 2.53 ERA ball with a 26.1% strikeout rate through the end of 2019. He led the American League with 38 saves in 2019, his most recent full season in the majors. There’s little question of his on-field effectiveness when he’s healthy, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll get another MLB opportunity at any point down the line.