This time last year, Roberto Osuna was The Blue Jay’s saving grace. The pitcher, drafted in 2015 as a 20-year old protege, would run to the field with a roar of applause.
Fans marvelled at Osuna’s age, athletic ability, and success rate, as he rarely left the mound without striking out batters and doing the sign of the cross across his chest.
This is why fans were shocked and heartbroken when Roberto Osuna was arrested on May 8th for assault. To make matters worse, the charge was domestic abuse against his girlfriend. The incident violated the MLB’s Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy, causing Osuna to be suspended for 75 games. The suspension is unpaid, costing him $2.7 million in salary, roughly $35k per game. This suspension is one of the longest the league has given in 3-years, inferring that the severity of the incident was worthy of the length of the suspension. Osuna will go to court on Thursday and will technically be eligible to play as of August 4th, but he will not be continuing his career with the Blue Jays.
With the suspension, The Jays were in a difficult position. Here was one of there most gifted athletes on their roster who has been accused of committing a violent, senseless crime. Surely, he could not continue to play for any self respecting baseball organization – so where would he go? The Jays managed to make a trade to the Houston Astros for a total of three players: Ken Giles, David Paulino and Hector Perez. These new additions to the Jay’s roster aren’t exactly million-dollar picks – Paulino is currently serving an 80 game suspension for PED (performance enhancing drugs) and has shoulder problems. Perez has pitch control issues. Giles, is perhaps the sweetest part of the deal, with stats that are a stone throw’s away from Osuna’s.
However, it is disheartening that Osuna was able to find a new organization so quickly. It makes one wonder what the Houston Astro’s think about domestic abuse and how scarily tolerant they seem to be in hiring an abuser. Jeff Luhnow, Houston’s GM, had this to say about acquiring the former Blue Jay: “Quite frankly,I believe that you can have a zero-tolerance policy and also have an opportunity to give people second chances when they have made mistakes in the past in other organizations. That’s kind of how we put those two things together.” One can easily see the statement is hypocritical and it is terribly unfortunate for female fans of Major League Baseball.
Fan disappointment and confliction is very apparent on Twitter:
— Matt (@DiFrann) July 30, 2018
Why’d my organization have to make me feel awkward? #Osuna
— I❤theStros❤ (@AstrosRepeat18) July 30, 2018
Not all domestic abusers receive second chances, but professional athletes often do. Even with policies such as the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy in place, men like Osuna are still able to go to work and bank obscene salaries, despite conduct that wouldn’t be tolerated at any other workplace. If Osuna wasn’t such an incredible talent – would he get so easily snapped up by another organization? If a fan at a game where to strike a woman, would he not receive overwhelming backlash from the organization and its fans? The fact that Roberto Osuna is still employed by the MLB is a sad fact, but Torontonians can take pride that he will no longer be wearing a Blue Jay’s jersey.