There are precious few things that one can say categorically about baseball. For every argument for modernization, there’s always a curmudgeon stomping their feet and wailing about tradition. Don’t bring up the shift at Thanksgiving, it’s safer, by far, to talk politics, or religion. Hell, we aren’t even done arguing about the designated hitter in the AL and people in high places are floating the concept league-wide. I don’t want to be anywhere near MLB’s twitter account when that shitstorm starts. Full disclosure, from my perspective it’s the following: modernize a bit, limit the shifts and the DH should undoubtably be adopted league-wide. Stomp your feet, it’s cool. You know where to find me on twitter. But more on that in a later column.
But here’s one thing that we can all agree on.
The trade that sent Toronto reliever, and defendant in a domestic assault case, Roberto Osuna to the World Series Champion Houston Astros should never have happened. Call me crazy, but the fact that Osuna’s suspension, which will be over on August 4 th , will conclude with him returning to the game on a playoff-bound team is sickening. Now, bear in mind that despite not appealing the MLB suspension, Osuna will be pleading not guilty, per his attorney, Domenic Basile. Osuna is scheduled to return to court in September, and the process is likely to continue into the offseason. There’s a decent enough chance here that this guy helps Houston win a second title, then must to trade his uniform for a different shade of orange entirely. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow isn’t exactly shying away from the issue, either. From his statement:
“We are excited to welcome Roberto Osuna to our team. The due diligence by our front office was unprecedented. We are confident that Osuna is remorseful, has willfully complied with all consequences related to his past behavior, has proactively engaged in counseling, and will fully comply with our zero-tolerance policy related to abuse of any kind. Roberto has some great examples of character in our existing clubhouse that we believe will help him as he and his family establish a fresh start and as he continues with the Houston Astros. We look forward to Osuna’s contributions as we head into the back half of the season.”
If the arrogance and insensitivity here don’t make you a bit sick, they should.
I know that he’s innocent until proven guilty, but maybe, just maybe, Houston could have exercised a little discretion and not helped continue the professional baseball career of an allegedly violent abuser, at least until the courts have their say in the matter. The guy was cheap and available (Toronto was parting ways with Osuna no matter what) because he’s tainted and very well might be pitching in a Canadian penal league next year, so Luhnow is betting that winning NOW will cure all ills. It’s a calculated gamble, but a decidedly sickening one. You’re thinking that he’ll keep his head down, keep quiet and help you win a few more games to keep the upstart Mariners and A’s in the rear-view. Good for you. The Astros were a nice feel-good baseball story last year, at the time when we all needed one. I think we can all agree that whatever goodwill we felt last season toward the plucky underdog champs is long gone.
Be better, Jeff Luhnow. Be better, Houston. Be better, baseball.