Pirates right-hander Chris Archer will not appeal the five-game suspension that was issued by Major League Baseball last week, the pitcher told reporters Sunday. It’s less an admission of guilt and more a logistical decision, however, as the Pirates’ two off days will push his next scheduled start to the weekend, effectively nullifying the club’s need for a spot starter in his league-mandated absence.
The right-hander played a pivotal role in the Pirates-Reds fracas last weekend after he intentionally threw at Reds infielder Derek Dietrich for hitting — and admiring — a two-run, splash-hit homer in the second inning. The dispute led to a benches-clearing brawl, at which point Reds manager David Bell, outfielder Yasiel Puig, left-hander Amir Garrett, and Pirates relievers Keone Kela and Felipe Vázquez were ejected for their respective involvement in the fray.
On Tuesday, suspensions and fines were handed down to Archer (five games), Bell (one game), and Puig (two games). Both Bell and Puig served their suspensions immediately, while Archer was reportedly set to appeal his suspension before it became clear that he would not experience any interruption in his regular pitching schedule.
That’s an awfully light sentence for something as serious as throwing a 93.3-m.p.h. fastball at another player. As both Bill and Craig pointed out, it makes no sense for the league to hold starting pitchers to the same kind of suspension system that applies to regular position players, given that starters only pitch every five days and do not suffer the effects of a multi-day suspension in the same way that a position player might. Worse, not punishing Archer for his very punishable offense suggests that MLB is still willing to look the other way when it comes to the ‘unwritten rules’ of baseball — rules that continue to put players’ health and lives in jeopardy.