The first suspension under MLB’s new domestic violence policy, which allows the Commissioner to take punitive action against players even in the absence of criminal prosecution, has been levied. New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman has been suspended 30 games for his involvement in an incident last year, and he has agreed not to appeal his suspension.
Here’s the statement from Commissioner Rob Manfred:
I asked my staff to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the incident involving Aroldis Chapman on October 30, 2015. Much of the information regarding the incident has been made public through documents released by law enforcement. Mr. Chapman submitted to an in-person interview with counsel present. After reviewing the staff report, I found Mr. Chapman’s acknowledged conduct on that day to be inappropriate under the negotiated Policy, particularly his use of a firearm and the impact of that behavior on his partner. I am gratified that Mr. Chapman has taken responsibility for his conduct, that he has agreed not to appeal the 30-game suspension, and that he has agreed to comply with the confidential directives of the Joint Policy Board established under the parties’ Policy to ensure that a similar incident does not occur in the future.
By not appealing, Chapman helps create the precedent for these kinds of suspensions. Coming into this offseason, we had no idea what punishment would be given out for domestic violence incidents, and now we have a very clear idea. The suspension, which will cost Chapman around $1.7 million in salary, seems like a reasonable length, even though it’s hard to really know what’s appropriate in these situations.
If you’re wondering, no, this suspension will not be long enough to prevent Chapman from reaching free agency after this season (there was a possibility that, if his suspension was long enough, the Yankees would get an extra year of control over Chapman, which would have had an ugly strange feel to it – and would have certainly been appealed by Chapman).
MLB is expected at some point to issue discipline for Jose Reyes, who is currently on paid leave pending the resolution of a criminal case against him involving a domestic violence incident. Yasiel Puig may also receive some kind of punishment for an incident last year.