A Boston Red Sox minor leaguer got a bit ahead of himself Thursday morning when Fort Myers, Florida, police arrested him on charges of driving with a restricted license and he told them he didn’t care because, police said in their report, “he had money and made more money than we would ever see.”
The Red Sox prospect, 19-year-old Jon Denney, signed with Boston last year for a bonus of $875,000. But as a player in the low-ranked Class A minor leagues, he can expect to earn about $1,000 per month, Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported.
That’s not Denney’s understanding, apparently. According to the police report, he told the arresting officers that he would be “out in no time” because he played for the Red Sox “and that he made three million a year.”
Denney is in for a rude awakening when he sees his first paycheck, assuming the Red Sox keep him around after the incident early Thursday morning.
The World Series champion Boston club issued a statement saying, “The Red Sox are aware of the incident involving Jon Denney. At present, we are still gathering more information. At this time the club will make no further comment.”
Cops pulled Denney over shortly before midnight Wednesday in Fort Myers when police saw him fishtail his Ford pickup truck. Denney produced an Oklahoma driver’s license, but the license restricted Denney to business and emergency driving only, due to a reported DUI arrest.
Not knowing he was a baseball player, the officers asked the teenage catching prospect what he was doing in Fort Myers, to which he answered, “partying and looking to get some p****.”
About 2 1/2 hours later, the officers saw Denney get back into his truck, accompanied by a woman, though he earlier said he had a friend drive him home. This time, when they stopped him, the Red Sox minor league catcher became “belligerent” and verbally abusive to the police officers.
While Denney is only 19 and will presumably gain maturity with time, Thursday’s incident was not his first brush with the law, or with obnoxious behavior. He has the alleged DUI charge, and was arrested last December in Arkansas for being a minor in possession of alcohol and throwing a bottle of rum into traffic, nearly hitting a car.
The Red Sox generally do not look favorably on players with what in baseball are called “character issues.” Though Denney was considered one of the top high school catchers in the country at Yukon High School in Oklahoma, and a likely first-round draft pick in 2013, he went unselected until Boston picked him in the third round.
His behavioral issues are thought to have been a factor in the drop in his status. He then struggled to adjust to professional pitching, batting only.203 in 26 minor league games after signing with the Red Sox last year.
Whether Denney will ever be seen playing for the Major League version of the Red Sox, at Fenway Park in Boston, appears doubtful at the moment.
Image: Boston Red Sox