Craig Calcaterra

Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Domestic Violence Charges against Jeurys Familia likely to be dropped

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Yesterday Mets closer Jeurys Familia pleaded not-guilty to domestic violence charges arising out of an October 31 incident in which his wife, Bianca Rivas, called police and was found to have been scratched and bruised. There is a December hearing scheduled in Familia’s case. It seems, however, that the case may not last even that long. James Wagner in the New York Times:

When the hearing concluded, Familia and Rivas embraced and walked out of the courthouse together before driving away in the same car. Asked if Rivas wished to drop the charge, her lawyer, Cathy Fleming, answered, “She’s dropping it,” and then declined further comment.

Contrary to what TV and movies tell you, a victim of a crime does not have the power to formally “drop charges.” Charges are brought by the government, in this case Fort Lee, New Jersey, and decisions to prosecute or not rest in the government’s hands. However, if a victim in a case where the prosecution hinges almost exclusively that person’s testimony signals their that they will not cooperate and that they desire the case not to proceed, it has basically the same effect. Upshot: figure that the prosecution of Familia will, in fact, progress no further.

There are a lot of reasons why an alleged victim in a domestic violence case may not wish to see the prosecution proceed and such a situation is not necessarily uncommon when the alleged victim is the spouse of the accused and has a child with the accused as Rivas does with Familia. Often, perversely enough, the prosecution of the alleged abuser can work newfound harm on the alleged victim, especially if she depends on him to any extent for financial support. Domestic violence charges, for this reason and a host of others, are often the most difficult cases to prosecute.

If the criminal case does end soon, it will then be Major League Baseball’s turn to determine whether Familia will face suspension under the league’s Domestic Violence Policy. A policy which does not hinge on the successful and completed prosecution of the accused player.

The Blue Jays whiffed on their first offer to Edwin Encarnacion

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The conventional wisdom is that the Blue Jays want to retain free agent DH/1B Edwin Encarnacion and that Encarnacion wants to stay in Toronto. I suspect that will still happen, but round one of the negotiations was not successful for the club.

We hear that via Encarnacion’s agent, Paul Kinzer, who told Sportsnet 590 The Fan in Toronto that his client has received an offer from the Blue Jays “but it’s not where the camp wanted it to be.”

Encarnacion is one of the top free agents available this offseason and, though he declined a bit in 2016, has been one of the best and most reliable hitters in baseball for the past five years. He’ll get his money, be it from the Jays or someone else.

Will Trump’s immigration policies impact Latin American players?

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Everyone is all “stick to sports” until politics deprive their favorite team of a shortstop.

OK, sure, that’s a flip way of putting it, but today Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch asks a legitimate question for Major League Baseball in the wake of Donald Trump’s election: will his inevitable changes to U.S. immigration policy impact the market for international players?

The election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States leaves baseball, more than any other professional sport, to consider what the immigration policies he proposed during the campaign could mean for acquiring talent. The President-elect and his running mate, Vice President-elect Mike Pence, have both argued for tighter restrictions on immigration from Mexico. Trump pledged to build a wall between the two countries. He and Pence have both said at various times during the campaign that they would outright undo Obama’s push to normalizing relationships with Cuba, or rethink the approach.

Goold talks to agents and executives about it and they are, understandably, not offering much in the way of strong opinion yet. There’s a lot of uncertainty about a lot of Trump policies — he was not terribly detail-oriented when it came to specific laws he’d propose — and, of course, Major League Baseball has always tried to stay friendly with whatever administration is in power, so no one is going to rock the boat a couple of days after an election.

Still, it’s a question worth asking. While Trump’s immigration position has stressed crackdowns on illegal immigration, the implementation of new laws and regulations always brings with it unexpected consequences. Most ballplayers from other countries get work visas to play here, but what happens if a player gets a DUI in the Dominican Republic and a tough new regulation dealing with immigrants with criminal records takes effect? Could a player who never had trouble getting into the United States for the baseball season before face new hurdles?

And what of asylum matters? It seems likely that new scrutiny will be exerted there as, in all cases, we can assume that the laws will get tougher, not looser. A few years ago Wilson Ramos was kidnapped in Venezuela and, afterward, moved his entire family to the United States for their safety. Could a player do so if it happened in 2018 and the laws have changed? And what of players who have never before been here? Maybe someone who broke in five years ago is immune, but are new visa applicants going to face tougher restrictions?

There are a lot of changes coming to the United States after Donal Trump is sworn into office. Some of them will have an impact on baseball. The question Derrick Goold asks in this article is a good one.

UPDATE: To those of you who are saying that Trump’s policies only cover “illegals,” know that that is simply not true. He is proposing a tightening of visa-issuance and proposes to eliminate the family provisions of immigration/visa/asylum rules, the sort of which allows Venezuelan players to bring their familes here.

Rather than just say “that’s not what Trump meant” in response, take the president-elect at his word.