- Ian Desmond’s work in center field has impressed observers, and the Rangers are not ruling out the possibility of retaining him beyond 2016, Rosenthal says. Even if they don’t (and they do have a wide variety of talented young outfielders), Desmond seems like a good bet to land a multi-year deal as a center fielder.
- Some in the Rangers organization felt the recently promoted righty — and former No. 1 overall pick — Matt Bush could help the team out of Spring Training, but since he was only a few months removed from being released from prison, they decided to wait. Bush, who has a long history of alcoholism, will be joined on the road by either his father Danny or Rangers special assistant Roy Silver (who had previously worked with Josh Hamilton).
- It’s unclear what the Cubs might need at the trade deadline, Rosenthal says. A left fielder is one possibility if Jorge Soler can’t get it going and if the Cubs elect to keep Kris Bryant at third. There’s also a chance they could add pitching. They could move Adam Warren from the bullpen to the rotation if needed, but might need to pursue relief help if they did.
- The Red Sox will be better-prepared for the trade deadline than their divisional competition, with a farm system that rates as significantly better than those of the Orioles or Blue Jays.
- Rosenthal also explains why Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes’ domestic violence suspension was shorter than that of an 80-game punishment for PED use. Rosenthal says that, in the eyes of the league, a positive PED test essentially amounts to proof of guilt, but in Reyes’ case, charges against him were dropped and he has never been convicted. Without “formal proof,” MLB can only make a suspension so long.
- Some players want stiffer sentences for players who fail PED tests, especially for players who use PEDs intentionally. While it’s possible there could be small changes to PED penalties, however, Rosenthal says bigger changes aren’t likely.
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.”
Despite the specter of what is reported to be “at least” a 60-game suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy hanging over his head and a significant amount of money remaining on his contract, Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes still has some trade interest around the league, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier this morning that Reyes’ suspension could be announced today, and several others in the media have since heard the same, which would seem to suggest that the league will indeed announce a punishment for Reyes, who was arrested and had criminal charges filed against him last October due to allegations of abuse from his wife. Reyes was slated to face a trial on Opening Day, but the charges were dropped in late March because his wife was no longer cooperating with the investigation. He’s been on paid administrative leave for the entirety of the 2016 season while MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred investigates the matter. Per Rosenthal’s report, instead of serving an additional 60 unpaid days on top of his paid leave, Reyes will be required to pay back the money that he has earned thus far in 2016 and then serve out the remainder of the length of the suspension (also without pay, of course).
It’s somewhat surprising to hear any rumblings of trade interest in Reyes. In addition to the deeply concerning allegations of abuse, he’s owed $39.945MM through the end of the 2017 season, assuming a 60-game suspension. That’s no small price for any player, let alone one with this type of off-field issues and one whose most recent on-field activity resulted in a .274/.310/.378 batting line despite splitting the season between two of the game’s best environments for offense (Toronto’s Rogers Centre and Denver’s Coors Field). Metrics like OPS+ and wRC+, which are weighted based on a player’s home park and league, felt that Reyes’ overall offensive contribution was 16 to 20 percent worse than that of a league average bat in 2015. Beyond that, he’s also received negative ratings from both Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved in each of the past seven seasons for his work at shortstop.
Reyes, who will turn 33 two days after Colorado plays its 60th game of the season (June 11), was productive at the plate as recently as 2014, and batted a solid .289/.342/.419 from 2012-14 between the Marlins and Blue Jays. One also has to imagine that given his off-field issues and the meteoric rise of his replacement, Trevor Story, the Rockies would be willing to eat a portion of the salary that remains on Reyes’ contract. Alternatively, the Rockies could show a willingness to take on a similarly undesirable contract from another club. Speculating further, a rebuilding club could agree to take on a significant portion of Reyes’ contract as a means of persuading the Rockies to include a meaningful prospect or two in the trade, then simply cut bait on Reyes.
It remains possible that a team (or multiple teams) would have interest in adding Reyes to its roster and hoping for a return to form at the plate. The Yankees acquired Aroldis Chapman from the Reds this offseason as he was dealing with his own domestic violence allegations, although Chapman is a cheaper, more productive player than Reyes and never had criminal charges filed against him. In spite of that, the return for Chapman was widely considered to be light. If there is indeed some degree of trade interest in Reyes, I’d expect that it’s conditional on significant financial/prospect incentive being included in the deal for the acquiring team and very little, if anything, going back to the Rockies in terms of young talent.
MAY 13: FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reports that an announcement on Reyes could come as soon as today, and he hears the same as Heyman: Reyes is expected to be suspended for at least 60 days. Interestingly, however, Rosenthal suggests that Reyes will not be suspended an additional 60 days on top of his paid administrative leave, but rather will repay the money he earned on leave and be suspended for an additional 26 games (or more, if the suspension proves lengthier than 60 days).
Rosenthal also adds that the delay in determining a punishment for Reyes has not been due to any differences between the commissioner’s office and the MLBPA, but rather due to difficulty in obtaining the necessary information to make a final ruling.
MAY 8: Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes could be facing at least a 60-game suspension under the league’s domestic violence policy, with some sources estimating that Reyes could be sidelined for closer to 80 games, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports.
A suspension has seemed inevitable ever since the alleged incident between Reyes and his wife took place in Hawaii last November. Criminal charges against Reyes were dropped in March since Reyes’ wife wasn’t willing to participate in the case (nor has she been willing to participate in MLB’s investigation of the incident) and the shortstop has been on paid administrative leave while the matter has been examined by the league and the player’s union.
The policy gives Commissioner Rob Manfred the ability to discipline players in such alleged domestic violence situations even if no criminal charges are filed. Aroldis Chapman, for instance, is nearing the end of his own 30-game suspension for an offseason incident, though as Heyman notes, Reyes’ incident has been considered to be a more serious matter due to the severity of the alleged violence.
Reyes was owed $22MM by the Rockies this season, so a suspension in the range of 60 to 80 games would cost him roughly $7.33MM-$9.77MM (as a reminder, players are paid over the 180-day MLB calendar, not strictly the 162-game season). Beyond this season, Reyes is also owed $22MM in 2017 and a $4MM buyout of a $22MM club option for 2018. There has been speculation that once Reyes’ suspension is up, the Rockies will simply release the shortstop and eat the rest of the money owed to him in order to cut ties as quickly as possible.
Major League Baseball is likely to punish Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes during the upcoming week for a violation of its domestic violence policy, reports Nick Groke of the Denver Post. Reyes’ status with the league has been in limbo for several months as a result of his arrest on domestic violence charges in November. Criminal charges were dropped in March because Reyes’ wife – the alleged victim – was unwilling to cooperate in the case, but punishment from the league has been expected all along. The situation has dragged in part because the league doesn’t have a presence in Hawaii, where the alleged incident took place, according to Groke. Reyes has been on paid administrative leave since February and has collected upward of $3MM from the Rockies to not play. The club will recoup some of the money owed to Reyes when the league punishes him, but it’s unknown whether the 32-year-old will play for the Rockies (or anyone else) again. Reyes was primed to collect $48MM, including a $4MM buyout in 2018, over the final three seasons of his contract before his off-field issues arose. Thanks to Trevor Story’s early season breakout, the Rockies haven’t missed Reyes at all on the field.
In other news from around the league…
- In an interesting piece, John Tomase of WEEI details the relationship between Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz and Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez, who had a falling out in 2014 that put their two-decade-long friendship in jeopardy. Ortiz took offense when A-Rod’s attorneys suggested back then that there was a PED-related double standard between him and players “who are God-like in Boston right now.” After a couple years of silence, the two finally spoke again during Spring Training, per Tomase. “I’ve always been a real friend to him, and I’m happy we’re hearing more good things about him than what we normally used to hear,” said Ortiz. Regarding Ortiz, A-Rod stated, “Look, I’ve known him for over 20 years. We’ve had an incredible relationship and I’m happy where it is today.”
- A pair of notable rotation reinforcements, Hyun-jin Ryu and Brandon McCarthy, are on track to rejoin the Dodgers’ early in the summer, writes Doug Padilla of ESPN.com. Ryu, who’s working his way back from shoulder surgery, threw a 40- to 45-pitch bullpen session Saturday and could return sometime in June. McCarthy, on the mend from Tommy John surgery, threw 50 to 60 pitches Saturday and might come back closer to July. Dodgers starters have held their own this year with a 3.37 ERA/3.33 FIP/3.58 xFIP, but adding accomplished veteran depth for the stretch run is never a bad thing. Ryu hasn’t pitched since 2014, though his first two major league campaigns were highly successful. In one of his best seasons to date, 2014, McCarthy compiled a 4.05 ERA, 52.5 percent ground-ball rate, 7.88 K/9 and 1.49 BB/9 while totaling a career-high 200 innings.
- Blue Jays reliever Brett Cecil became the holder of an ignominious record Saturday, tweets Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet: The southpaw suffered his fifth defeat, giving him the most losses in relief at the end of April since data became available in 1913. Cecil, whose ERA is up to 5.79, failed to register an out while allowing three straight hits and the game-winning run against the Rays. The 2016 campaign has brought an unexpected fall from grace for Cecil, who had been one of the league’s most effective relievers the previous three seasons. Of course, given the sample size (9 1/3 innings), all isn’t lost for Cecil, but his strikeout, swinging strike and ground-ball rates all took noticeable dives during the first month of the season.
Here’s the latest from around the NL West…
- There’s a good chance Jose Reyes has played his last game for the Rockies, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post writes as part of a reader mailbag piece. Saunders postulates that the team will wait until Reyes completes his probable suspension under MLB’s domestic violence policy and then release him outright. The suspension will erase some of the $46.25MM still owed to Reyes through the 2017 season (counting the $4MM buyout of his club option for 2018) and Saunders believes the Rockies will simply then eat the rest of the money in order to sever ties with the troubled shortstop.
- Of the veteran Padres most often cited in trade rumors, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune opines that catcher Derek Norris is the most likely to be dealt. Following Norris are, in order, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, James Shields and Matt Kemp. Sanders covers several other Padres topics as part of this online chat with Union-Tribune readers.
- With Mac Williamson not getting regular at-bats while sitting on the Giants bench, Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks the team could make another roster move this week to recall a shortstop and more directly fill the spot of injured infielder Ehire Adrianza. The Giants didn’t want to be “hasty” with a 40-man roster spot to address Adrianza’s loss, though if Ian Gardeck is shifted to the 60-man DL, the team could add an experienced shortstop like Hak-Ju Lee and send Williamson back to everyday duty at Triple-A.
- The Diamondbacks could be in for a few days’ worth of roster shuffles after using nine pitchers in Saturday’s 14-inning loss to the Padres, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. “It could be one of those things where this whole week is flip-flopping people. [We] might have to go down to 12 position players, too, at some point,” manager Chip Hale said. Shelby Miller had to leave Saturday’s start after just 1 2/3 innings under odd circumstances, as he twice banged his throwing hand against the mound and scraped his knuckles after extending his follow-through on pitches. The D’Backs entered Sunday’s action with a league-high 47 1/3 bullpen innings, though Patrick Corbin gave the staff some breathing room by tossing 6 2/3 frames in today’s win.
Rockies GM Jeff Bridich says that the organization has not entertained any thoughts of a full-blown rebuild, as Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports. “We’re always trying to win,” Bridich said. “People are questioning us, or they’re confused. ’Why aren’t you trying some sort of nuclear rebuild?’ Those things have to happen when you feel like you don’t have talent on the field to compete or a system of depth to add to it. Our belief is that we have talent on this level to compete.” Though the payroll is down a bit over prior years, the club certainly acted as a team with intentions of winning this winter — dedicating assets to the bullpen and then setting aside service-time considerations with the Opening Day promotion of shortstop Trevor Story. Needless to say, the 23-year-old has rewarded that decision early, swatting three home runs in his first two major league games.
Here’s more from out west:
- MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says that a decision on Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes — currently on administrative leave in the wake of domestic violence allegations — will likely come “in days as opposed to weeks,” as Neil Best of Newsday reports. While Manfred emphasized that he hopes to move along quickly now that the charges against Reyes have been dropped, he also expressed hope that he’ll be able to acquire new information before making a final call on whether (and for how long) to suspend the veteran infielder. “The ability of law enforcement to provide us with information, that only goes up,” said Manfred. “They have more flexibility to provide us with information once the criminal process comes to an end, one way or the other . . . We’re trying to take advantage of that additional flexibility to get all of the information that’s available as quickly as possible.”
- There have been complaints in some quarters about the Dodgers’ offseason — which we just reviewed this morning — because it featured numerous smaller signings rather than a big splash or two. While there’s “skepticism” in “some parts of the clubhouse,” writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Adrian Gonzalez remains a believer. The veteran first baseman says the organization is well-equipped to deal with injuries with “the best [40-man roster] and the best farm system in baseball,” and predicts that a major mid-season addition would go down if there’s a need. Gonzalez obviously isn’t responsible for any of these decisions, but it’s an interesting perspective.
- Rangers ace Yu Darvish has worked his way up to throwing fifty pitches in his most recent bullpen workout, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports on Twitter. Though a return to the Texas staff is still a ways off, it’s certainly encouraging that Darvish continues to tick past various milestones as he works back from Tommy John surgery.
The criminal charges filed in Hawaii against Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes will be dropped, Jennifer Sinco Kelleher of the Associated Press reports. The domestic abuse trial that had been schedule for Opening Day will not go forward, per the prosecuting attorney, because Reyes’s wife — the alleged victim — was not willing to cooperate in the case.
Of course, the termination of criminal proceedings does not mean that Reyes will necessarily avoid discipline from the league under its domestic violence policy. Commissioner Rob Manfred recently handed Yankees hurler Aroldis Chapman a 30-game suspension despite the fact that — unlike Reyes — he was not arrested or charged in the incident in question. Chapman and the MLBPA also agreed not to appeal that ban, which some have suggested may have reduced its duration.
The charges stemmed from an incident on Halloween night last fall in which Reyes allegedly assaulted his wife in their hotel room. According to reports at the time, Reyes’s wife accused him at the time of grabbing her throat and pushing her into a sliding glass door. He was arrested as she was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Reyes has already been placed on paid administrative leave by the league pending the outcome of his case. He did not appear in Spring Training with the Rockies as a result. Now, Manfred faces the difficult matter of investigating and reaching a resolution on the matter with the regular season set to open in less than a week.
The Rockies, who acquired Reyes in last summer’s Troy Tulowitzki deal, owe the veteran shortstop $48MM over the next two years, including a buyout of a 2018 club option. Colorado would stand to avoid paying a pro-rated portion of that for whatever length of time, if any, Reyes is unavailable due to suspension. The Rockies seem set to utilize prospect Trevor Story at shortstop in Reyes’s absence; needless to say, the future outlook for Reyes and the club remain unclear at this time.
Rockies infielder Daniel Descalso has a “very small” fracture to his left hand, manager Walt Weiss told reporters, including Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post (Twitter links). He is expected to miss “several weeks” with the injury, Weiss added, as will southpaw Tyler Anderson, who is dealing with an oblique issue but wasn’t expected to challenge for a roster spot.
Descalso was penciled in as the club’s utility infielder, but he’ll now certainly be on the shelf for Opening Day and some stretch beyond. That may help open things up for some younger options. Colorado was already deciding between Christhian Adames and Trevor Story to fill in for Jose Reyes at shortstop, and both now look like good bets to crack the majors (so long as Colorado is willing to put Story on track for Super Two status).
The Rockies will be hopeful of a bounceback from Descalso when he returns. Never much of a threat at the plate, he fell to a paltry .205/.283/.324 batting line in 209 plate appearances last year despite the benefits of hitting at Coors Field. That line was good only for a 43 wRC+. Descalso is most valued for his defensive versatility, of course, and continued to show a playable glove at both middle infield positions last season.
Diamondbacks executives Tony La Russa and Dave Stewart tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that their winter wasn’t just about near-term contention. The club has also picked up some younger assets since the front office turned over, and was careful to protect its most prized younger assets — Jake Lamb, Brandon Drury, Archie Bradley — who La Russa deemed “too dear” to be dealt. That being said, there’s no question that the haul given up for Shelby Miller — along with other decisions to give up controllable talent to free up money and add other pieces — was about maximizing the club’s chances now, with several key players in their primes and Zack Greinke joining the fold. As Stewart puts it, “you trade the unknown for the known.”
- Interestingly, Stewart added that the Padres had “big interest” in center fielder Ender Inciarte before he was shipped to Atlanta in the Miller deal. But San Diego wasn’t willing to deal away Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner to get him, according to the D-Backs GM. That’s certainly a bit surprising to hear in regard to Cashner, who — despite his established ceiling — is coming off of an uninspiring 2015 season and is destined for free agency after the season.
- The Padres have been “very active” in pursuing free agent righty Tim Lincecum, agent Rick Thurman said in an appearance on The Mighty 1090 (via Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune). Teams are waiting for the former Cy Young winner to put on a showcase, which Thurman now says will take place within the next two weeks. He explains that Lincecum preferred to work his way back to form on his own before signing, with the plan being to “build up his arm strength so that when he actually goes and does a showcase he’s going to be game-ready.”
- Meanwhile, Lin has an interesting piece on Padres hopeful Jabari Blash, who says he’s come a long way since he was a laid back teenager in his native U.S. Virgin Islands. The towering 26-year-old is still raw, of course, which is why he was available in the Rule 5 draft. San Diego will give him every opportunity to make good on his talent and earn a spot this spring, writes Lin.
- Commissioner Rob Manfred says that he’ll be prepared to move quickly on disciplining Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes once his legal proceedings are completed, Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports. Manfred explained that he doesn’t rush a decision, only to learn something new thereafter. “My expectation is, once that process plays out, we’ll be in position to act quickly,” he said. “We’ll have access to all the facts.”