Once upon a time, two years ago, I wrote that Major League Baseball had done nothing to punish domestic abusers. Today, given an abrupt about-face by the league and its new Commissioner, Rob Manfred, that's a very different story.
We already knew from the 30 game Aroldis Chapman suspension (which he apparently hasn't learned anything from, by the way), that Major League Baseball was getting serious about Domestic Violence in the sport. For months, we've waited to see what would happen with the first MLBer to test the policy, Jose Reyes.
Reyes was arrested in Hawaii in early December for allegedly grabbing his wife by the throat and shoving her into a sliding glass door. A security guard at the hotel reported that they had injuries to her face, leg, and neck. When Reyes's wife refused to cooperate (which is incredibly common in these instance for many complicated reasons), police dropped the charges against the Rockies' shortstop.
The good news, for our purposes, is that Major League Baseball is not bound by the same rules as the Hawaiian legal system, and intends to get its pound of flesh. Reyes has already been on (paid) administrative leave since the start of Spring Training. And according to Jon Heyman, Manfred is getting ready to announce his suspension for much longer than the 30 games Chapman had to sit out:
Jose Reyes should hear his penalty from MLB for domestic abuse soon, and word is that it'll be at least 60 games and perhaps significantly longer than that.
Eighty games, or about a half a season, may be a fair ballpark estimate, according to some.
We don't know for certain whether Reyes will get credit for "time served" under this suspension. He's already missed 31 games, after all. However, he has been receiving his full salary for those games (a little over $4.2 million), so my guess is that Reyes would have to serve the entire suspension starting now.
I'm never happy with anything in these investigations and allegations. After all, they're predicated on violence against women, primarily, and that's fundamentally awful. But I am immensely gratified to see that this policy has real teeth and that the Commissioner continues to be a zealous crusader to eradicate domestic abuse from the game. With every data point he adds to the discussion, I become more and more impressed with Manfred.
It may not actually reduce violence against wives and girlfriends of ballplayers in the short term. I certainly hope that it does, but I suspect that most abusers already in the game will continue to abuse regardless of the consequences. But it will eventually, and gradually, run most of them out of the sport. Good riddance to the lot of them.
It also demonstrates again just how seriously Manfred takes this issue, and effectively sends the message that the league won't tolerate violence against women by those who play the game. That message may not be as important as effectively eradicating domestic violence, but it's a huge step forward in that direction.