When Jose Reyes‘ domestic violence arrest was first reported back in November, it seemed like a blessing to MLB that the first test of its new domestic violence policy came so early in the offseason. By virtue of the timing, it would prevent the optics of having a player facing suspension on the field and in uniform while the league investigated him. Now, however, it seems that they’ve taken so much time in waiting to deal with his case that the blessing has disappeared.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports the Rockies’ front office “doesn’t relish” the idea of having Reyes at spring training while his domestic abuse case is still active and speculates that Reyes and the Rockies may try to come to some arrangement which prevents him from attending the team’s first workouts later this week.
It may be preferable for the Rockies to keep Reyes away from the team until he’s either suspended or his court case is settled, but unless he agrees to it, I’m not sure what the mechanism for that would be. If the Rockies were to put him on the restricted list or something that would look a lot like discipline that they, as a club, are not permitted to take under the league’s domestic violence policy. Even if they said they were doing it for another reason, it seems clear that that’s what they’d be doing, right? The only way they can do this, it seems, is for Reyes agree to stay away in defacto a paid suspension situation.
For as distasteful as it may seem to have someone in Jose Reyes’ situation on the field, I’m not sure what else MLB can do here. If you have disciplinary policy you are clearly making a demarcation between a player who has been punished and one who has not. MLB, by not punishing Reyes yet, has created this situation.