Colorado Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes will not participate in 2016 spring training, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced on Tuesday. Reyes, who was arrested in November on domestic violence charges in Hawai’i, is due to go on trial on April 4th, the same date as the Rockies opening day game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Reyes has pleaded not guilty to all charges.
Under Major League Baseball’s new policy on domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual assault, the commissioner holds the power to suspend a player until they finish their legal proceedings.
Manfred’s statement on the matter reads:
“Colorado Rockies’ shortstop Jose Reyes has been placed on paid leave pending completion of his criminal proceedings in Hawaii, pursuant to Major League Baseball’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Section III.C.2 of the Policy permits the Commissioner to impose a paid suspension pending resolution of the legal proceedings or an investigation.”
“Upon resolution of Reyes’ criminal proceedings and the completion of the Commissioner’s Office’s investigation into the incident, Commissioner Manfred will make a decision whether to impose discipline on Reyes. The Commissioner’s Office will have no further comment on this matter until a final disposition is announced.”
Clarification: Reyes’ paid leave with #Rockies covers only regular-season games he will miss. Players are not paid during spring training.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 23, 2016
Jose Reyes becomes the MLB’s first player to be put on leave or be suspended under the league’s new domestic violence policy. Along with Reyes, Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Aroldis Chapman of the New York Yankees are both currently under investigation by Major League Baseball for domestic violence allegations. However, out of the three, Reyes was the only one to be formally charged with any sort of crime.
The MLB Players Association released this statement regarding Reyes being put on leave:
— MLBPA (@MLB_PLAYERS) February 23, 2016
Clearly, baseball is doing everything in their power to not look like complete buffoons similar to the way the NFL did during its domestic violence crisis in 2014 when Roger Goodell mishandled the Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Greg Hardy investigations. Rob Manfred knows that this is not a case that can be taken lightly, and it is better to play it safe and put Reyes on paid leave than to either not do anything about it (very bad look from a PR perspective) or completely cut Jose Reyes’ pay (likely create a lawsuit from MLBPA). This way, Reyes is being separated from the game of baseball while not being treated unfairly in any sort of way.