Trevor Bauer’s domestic/sexual violence case has been a headline grabber for over a month. However, it is not the only case in MLB under its joint agreement with the MLBPA this year. There are three others whose misdeeds ought not be forgotten. Here they are:
Sam Dyson—He was suspended for the entire season as of Mar 5, 2021. His ex-girlfriend had accused him of physical and emotional abuse as well as throwing objects at both her and her cat. One can only presume there was pretty damning evidence for the MLB to hand down its longest domestic violence suspension to date. He is a free agent once he comes off suspension after the playoffs. He has a career 3.40 ERA, so it’s conceivable some team will take a flyer on him if they think it won’t create too big a PR stink.
Starlin Castro—He was once charged with sexual assault, back in 2011. He was placed on administrative leave on July 16, and ultimately suspended for 30 games on July 30. In the articles I read, I did not see any references to new incidents, so I’m presuming he withheld information to MLB and the Nationals. The Nationals have indicated they will release him as soon as his suspension (without pay) is done. Game #30 is the Nationals vs the Mets on Friday, Sep 3…so watch for an announcement of his release/being cut this weekend. If any team does roll the dice on signing him, he is not eligible for the postseason as part of his suspension (he also would be ineligible for the postseason due to not being on the roster by Sep 1). He’s an approximately league-average player, had 1.1 WAR through 87 games, so again some team could conceivably take a flyer on him if they thought it was worth the PR risk. I suspect, however, both he and Dyson are more likely to end up overseas for a season or two.
Marcel Ozuna—On May 29, 2021, he was arrested after police witnessed him grab his wife by the neck, throw her against a wall, and strike her with her his casted left hand. He was initially charged with aggravated assault, a felony, but the charges have since been reduced to family violence assault and battery…a misdemeanor. That means at most a year in jail. His next court appearance is supposed to be next week, Sep 9. His wife is also divorcing him. His case and Trevor Bauer’s are both likely to (at minimum) match Sam Dyson’s for length of suspension. Once Ozuna’s case has finished in the legal system (and he’s still being paid although not allowed to play while the case is still pending), whatever sentence is complete, and whatever subsequent suspension also complete, I expect the Braves to attempt to terminate his contract for cause. (He’s signed through 2024 at $18M per year with a team option in 2025.) The Dodgers are likely to do the same with Bauer, so it will be interesting to see which case is done first as the one is very likely a precedent for the other because I’ll bet both appeal the loss of the otherwise guaranteed contract to arbitration. (As I wrote yesterday, I expect Bauer with his prickly pugilistic personality to fight everything every step of the way.)
Ozuna had been off to a slow start this year prior to getting hurt and then in legal trouble, but had been an above average player the rest of his career. Like Bauer, however, his case has been high profile…actually the Bauer case is Ozuna’s best chance at maybe having his forgotten somewhat. I hope the court appearances keep the memory of what he did fresh though. I hope none of these players step foot on a major league diamond again, at least anytime soon.