Posted on May 8, 2018, by Bryan Zarpentine
Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna has been arrested and charged with assault. Toronto police arrested Osuna early Tuesday morning, charging him with the assault of an unnamed woman. Osuna has been released from custody and has a court date set for June 18. Tuesday afternoon, Major League Baseball announced that Osuna has been placed on administrative leave.
“MLB takes all allegations of this nature very seriously,” MLB said in a statement Tuesday. “We are investigating the circumstances and have placed Roberto Osuna on Administrative Leave in accordance with the Joint MLB-MLBPA Domestic Violence Policy.”
Police have not released any details about the location or nature of the incident. They have also declined to identify the victim for her own good. All we can determine is that the incident likely occurred late Monday night or early Tuesday morning. The Blue Jays had Monday off after concluding a road series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. The team is set to begin a three-game series at home against the Mariners on Tuesday night.
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“We are aware of the incident involving Roberto and fully support the decision by the Commissioner’s Office to place him on administrative leave,” the Blue Jays said in a statement. “We are taking the matter extremely seriously, as the type of conduct associated with this incident is not reflective of our values as an organization. As this remains an ongoing investigation by Toronto Police, the club will not comment further on the matter.”
Despite pitching in his fourth major league season, Osuna, a native of Mexico, is still just 23 years old. He’s been Toronto’s primary closer since midway through his rookie season in 2015. Osuna already has 204 career saves and was an all-star for the first time last season. This year, Osuna has nine saves in 10 opportunities, posting a 2.93 ERA in 15 appearances.
The next step in Osuna’s legal proceedings won’t come until June 18. In the meantime, MLB will conduct its own investigation into the arrest. Even if criminal charges against Osuna are ultimately dropped, MLB can still levy punishment against him. Prominent players such as Aroldis Chapman, Jose Reyes, and Jeurys Familia have all been hit with suspensions after being arrested for assault.
Chapman was suspended for 30 games despite no formal charges being filed. Reyes was suspended for 51 games and Familia for 15 even though charges were eventually dropped. The difference in Osuna’s case is that his incident has occurred in the middle of the season, while Chapman, Reyes, and Familia had their legal troubles during the offseason. It remains unclear how long MLB will keep Osuna on administrative leave, how long it will take to perform their investigation, and if his time on administrative leave will count toward a possible suspension.
On the field, the Blue Jays can’t afford to be without Osuna for long. Toronto’s bullpen currently has the best ERA in the American League. The Blue Jays have received impressive performances from several relief pitchers this season aside from Osuna. But the last thing they want to do right now is shake up their bullpen, something that may be inevitable as long as Osuna is unavailable.
Osuna and the Blue Jays can only wait for MLB to conduct its investigation and levy some kind of punishment. That may be some clarity from Osuna’s court date on June 18. But that’s a long time for Osuna to be in limbo if MLB doesn’t reach some kind of conclusion before then.