New York Yankees reliever Aroldis Chapman will be looking at the game from afar. Commissioner Rob Manfred handed the bullpen ace a 30-game suspension for domestic violence, per ESPN. After learning of allegations of violence from Chapman’s Miami home, the league reacted with a strong statement.
The suspension goes into effect on Opening Day. Chapman will be allowed to participate in spring training and preseason games. Chapman won’t appeal the decision. The suspension is the first, under a new set of rules agreed upon by the MLB Players Association.
Chapman will lose 30 days of pay. That’s a hefty $1,856,557 of his $11,325,000 salary. He’ll also be forfeiting 30 days of major league service. That time will allow him to reach six years of service time after this season, enough to become eligible for free agency.
While Chapman’s suspension is 30 days, the Yankees have an advantage. If the Yankees can’t play all their games, due to typical weather issues and postponements, Chapman may be able to come back against the World Champion Royals on May 9.
“I want to be clear. I did not in any way harm my girlfriend that evening. However, I should have exercised better judgment with respect to certain actions, and for that I am sorry. The decision to accept a suspension, as opposed to appealing one, was made after careful consideration. I made this decision in an effort to minimize the distractions that an appeal would cause the Yankees, my new teammates and most importantly, my family. I have learned from this matter, and I look forward to being part of the Yankees’ quest for a 28th World Series title. Out of respect for my teammates and my family, I will have no further comment.”
The MLB Players Association said in a statement that it was pleased with Chapman’s decision.
Yankees manager, Joe Girardi, was prepared for the loss of his reliever. He’s ready for the time to be served and anxious to get the season back to normal.
“That’s what you want him to do,” Girardi previously said, via the New York Daily News. “In a sense, it’s out of his control now. The Commissioner has spent a lot of time investigating what happened and is going to make a decision. He needs to get prepared, that’s what he can control right now.”
Florida prosecutors announced they would not file criminal charges against Chapman. The Yankees ace allegedly pushed and choked his girlfriend, Cristina Barnea, then fired multiple shots from a gun inside his garage on October 30.
Under the new domestic violence rules, Chapman was subject to punishment, despite the prosecutors’ decision not to file further charges. They have since said that the case was closed, pending further evidence.
Aroldis Chapman wasn’t the only high-profile case to surface. Two other incidents involved Jose Reyes of the Colorado Rockies and Yasiel Puig of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Reyes was placed on paid leave last week. He is facing a charge stemming from an incident with his wife in Hawaii in October. Puig still hasn’t received any penalty after a reported altercation with his sister and a bouncer at a Miami nightclub last November.
The Cuban Missile, acquired by the Yankees in January from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for four minor leaguers, is making a shaky debut in pinstripes. Chapman and his 104 mph fastball are amazing to behold. But, with a serious charge like domestic violence, the first strikeout seems to be on him.
[Photo by Chris O’Meara/AP]