Reports are coming in that Starlin Castro, veteran infielder for the Washington Nationals, is being placed on administrative leave for domestic violence. The MLB is investigating an alleged incident involving Castro. The news should be disappointing, but it is completely unsurprising. While many sports have trouble with domestic violence and other things, MLB seems to have it the worst. They also seem to not care about it much, either. [Trigger warning: sexual assault and domestic violence]
Castro joins the long list of baseball players who have had domestic issues. Castro isn’t the first and isn’t even the most notable offender from this season. In the past, there have been plenty of notable players who have been charged with or allegedly committed acts of domestic violence.
In 2016, MLB suspended Aroldis Chapman for 30 games over domestic abuse charges. The charges were eventually dropped (which does not imply innocence). Shortly thereafter, he became a free agent. In a moral world, Chapman probably never pitches again. Violence against women is intolerable. That should extend to the baseball world. Instead, his charges caused his price to drop and allowed the Yankees to sign him at a discounted price. He’s on a much pricier extension now, but there was no downside to what Chapman had done, save for missing 30 games (a drop in the bucket).
Jose Reyes received a 51 game suspension in the same year. Did he play again? You bet he did. Reyes, at that point in his career, wasn’t even as talented as Chapman. Nor was he as impactful to a team. His charges and suspension didn’t really hurt him, either. Reyes played until 2020 when he retired.
MLB gave Jeurys Familia a 15 game suspension in 2017, which is alarmingly small. He served the suspension and didn’t miss a beat otherwise. He’s currently still pitching for the Oakland Athletics. 15 games is a really short suspension.
The Astros domestic violence incident
Roberto Osuna was suspended from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2018 for 75 games. The Astros traded for Osuna two months after he assaulted the mother of his three-year-old son. Charges were dropped in favor of a restraining order. After walking off the Yankees in 2019 (off Aroldis Chapman, ironically), a front office member, Brandon Taubman, shouted at three women (one of which was wearing a domestic violence awareness bracelet). He told them how “f****** glad” he was that they acquired Osuna. Osuna blew the save by giving up a two-run home run. That allowed Jose Altuve to walk it off in the next inning and the celebration to ensue.
Domingo German was suspended 82 games for a domestic violence incident involving his girlfriend. German drank and acted violently towards her until she hid and called for help. Zack Britton was notably irked that German remains on the roster after all that.
Odubel Hererra faced a suspension in 2019 for the remainder of the season, which amounted to 85 games. Herrera faced no other consequences, and he is still rostered in Philadelphia and playing most days. Julio Urias of the Los Angeles Dodgers faced a 20 game suspension in 2019. The same thing applies: he’s still pitching for the Dodgers.
Speaking of the Dodgers, in one of the more notable instances in recent memory, Trevor Bauer, former Cy Young winner, is on administrative leave right now. MLB is investigating reports that Bauer domestically and sexually assaulted a woman, including choking her unconscious, per reports. It actually took MLB a while before they even did anything regarding Bauer.
Major League Baseball has a serious domestic violence problem. Players are getting into trouble every single year and facing little to no consequences. A suspension, even a year-long one, doesn’t do much and is obviously not deterring anyone. MLB needs to start cracking down on this for the sake of women, the fans, and the rest of the innocent players.