MLB Daily Dish's own Mike Bates joined NPR's All Things Considered on Wednesday to explain the difficulty Rob Manfred will have applying MLB's new policy to the Jose Reyes situation.
The key passage is when Audie Cornish asks about how the new policy is different from before:
CORNISH: So help us understand what's different now.
BATES: Prior to this, the league didn't even have a policy in regards to domestic violence. Players were subject to discipline by their teams. But Major League Baseball essentially gave those teams a free hand, didn't interfere.
Under the current policy, the commissioner investigates and has broad powers in terms of how long a player is suspended. He is given time to investigate, during which time that player is on unpaid administrative leave. He's not on the field. Then that punishment is subject to review by a three-arbitrator panel.
Bates explains the difficulty in a bit more detail here:
The trouble is that most of these powers are only relevant during the regular season...which...we are not in. According to the new MLB policy, Manfred can put Reyes on unpaid administrative leave for a week while he figures out an appropriate punishment. That punishment is not bound to precedent, and is at the discretion of Manfred alone based on what "he believes is appropriate in light of the severity of the conduct."
Then, once the commissioner figures out a punishment, Reyes is able to appeal that decision to an arbiter. If, somehow, there are still charges pending against Reyes once Spring Training or the regular season starts, Manfred can suspend Reyes without pay for that time as well. Then, regardless of whether he is convicted of or pleads guilty to domestic abuse, Manfred can levy the official punishment.
As Bates says it's hard to say exactly what the policy's impact on Jose Reyes's ability to play, much less his ability to negotiate with teams in the future.