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Heyman | Blue Jays closer Osuna could be facing significant ban

Jon Heyman

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Mar 30, 2018; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) sets to pitch against the New York Yankees during the ninth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays star closer Roberto Osuna’s domestic issue is said by people familiar with the case to be serious and involve allegations of a physical nature, which would draw a significant ban; though, word is that he denies doing physical harm.

Osuna’s stay on paid administrative leave was extended a second time (through May 28 this time), as Canadian authorities continue to investigate. MLB has taken domestic cases very seriously in recent years, and even in cases where there was no physical abuse, such as those of Jeurys Famila and Steven Wright, MLB handed down suspensions of 15 games.

Where MLB ruled that something physical in nature did occur, much longer suspensions have been handed down.

The case has hampered the Jays, whose excellent bullpen was anchored by Osuna, but it could also end up hurting the pitcher financially; not only is any suspension unpaid, but if he is ultimately suspended more than 15 days, his free agency will be delayed a year until after 2021.

No specific details about the incident that resulted in Osuna’s arrest have come out, and there’s no indication yet even whether Canadian authorities are set on pursuing the case following his arrest (in all instances involving MLB players so far, the alleged victim ultimately decided against testifying against the player, compromising potential cases). However, early indications are that the accusations regard something that could draw a substantial penalty from baseball. MLB people haven’t seen any reports (or heard any word) to this point, as they and Osuna are awaiting the resolution to the case in Canada, which won’t necessarily move forward.

In any case, MLB has taken such incidents with the utmost seriousness, and has suspended players even in cases where there was no physical contact alleged. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has complete latitude based on MLB rules – though the players union can grieve any decision, so rulings are made with their knowledge.

Aroldis Chapman was found to have fired a gun and slapped a cell phone out of the victim’s hand, and he received 30 games, which was in between the Familia/Wright cases and ones involving physical abuse.

When the episode is alleged to be of a physical nature, the penalties are much lengthier. Former Brave/Dodger Hector Olivera, who was not only arrested but ultimately convicted and jailed, has the longest MLB-imposed suspension (82 games), but bans have varied widely under the relatively new setup designed to curtail such terrible activity.

Jon Heyman is an MLB Insider for FanRag Sports, featuring breaking news, information and his Inside Baseball column, which appears on FanRagSports.com every Thursday. Heyman also has been an insider at MLB Network since the channel launched in 2009 and is a regular contributor to WFAN in New York, where he appears weekly on the Joe and Evan Show and previously appeared on the Mike and the Mad Dog Show. He also appears on WSCR in Chicago, WBZ-FM in Boston and the Petros and Money Show on Fox in Los Angeles. Heyman comes to FanRag Sports from CBSSports.com, where he worked for five years and wrote the popular Inside Baseball notes column. Before going to CBS, Heyman worked for five years at Sports Illustrated and SI.com, where he was a senior writer and started an Inside Baseball Column. Heyman worked for 16 years at Newsday in New York, where he was the Yankees beat writer, a baseball columnist and finally a general sports columnist. Heyman started his career at the Moline (Ill.) Daily Dispatch, then moved to the Los Angeles Copley Newspapers (Torrance Daily Breeze and Santa Monica Outlook) before going to Newsday. Heyman at one time also served as a national baseball writer for The Sporting News. Heyman is a graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. The Santa Fe, N.M. native grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., on Long Island.

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