Jenrry Mejia claims that MLB was out to get him

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Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia was given a permanent ban from Major League Baseball in January for testing positive for performance enhancing drugs for a third time. He was the first player to be given baseball’s harshest PED penalty and cannot apply for reinstatement for at least two years. There is an excellent chance he has thrown his last pitch as a professional in affiliated baseball.

Now he tells Ben Berkon of the New York Times that he was set up by Major League Baseball. That they were out to get him in what he calls a “witch hunt” and that they fabricated his second and third positive drug tests to do so. He further claims that the union did not sufficiently defend him. Major League Baseball denies Mejia’s accusations. The union gave no comment citing confidentiality provisions in the Joint Drug Agreement. Mejia has hired a lawyer to explore his options.

I suppose anything is technically possible, but this sure sounds a lot like someone lashing out out of frustration than it sounds like a plausible claim. While Major League Baseball did not cover itself with glory in past PED cases, those involved non-testing situations like the Biogenesis investigation and misconduct, to the extent there was any, centered around investigators in the field. Ryan Braun, for his part, accused Major League Baseball of mishandling his positive drug sample but those were accusations based in chain-of-custody protocols, not conspiracies.

More broadly speaking, and with all respect to Mejia, one must ask why MLB , even if it was out to get people, would target a middle reliever of little renown. If you wear a tinfoil hat 24/7 you could make out some unlikely but at least moderately plausible case that MLB, in the past, looked to single out superstars in some fashion. Even that sort of thing would be an amazing stretch, of course. To suggest that it decided to go after Mejia for some reason, however, is another thing altogether.

Here’s hoping this is just a case of a young man trying to process the likely end of his career and nothing that either has any bit of truth to it or, more significantly, doesn’t consume the guy as he tries to make sense of what he’s going to do with the rest of his life.