One day after Yankees’ Owner, Hal Steinbrenner came out in defense of new closer, Aroldis Chapman, Florida prosecutors have decided not to press charges in a domestic disturbance case involving the MLB pitcher and his girlfriend. With Chapman no longer facing any legal ramifications, the only decision left as it pertains to the baseball diamond will be from MLB when it is expected to make its own decision on punishing Chapman by March.
It’s a tricky situation since any professional sports organization is going to want to take any domestic dispute seriously regardless of legal decisions (to an extend). If Chapman is suspended, the length will be intriguing. Suspend him too long and you risk an appeal and without legal backing, a potential loss. You also run the risk of future players who are prosecuted or charged by law then having to be suspended even longer.
Essentially, MLB will want to avoid doing anything the NFL has done in regards to the issue and it will be an interesting test case for new Commissioner, Rob Manfred. If no suspension is handed down, you could face public scrutiny and if a minor suspension is handed down, you could still face a suspension or public scrutiny.
As it pertains to the Yankees, a suspension of 45 games or longer would add an extra year to Chapman’s contract as he would miss his arbitration requirements for Free Agency. Anything close to but under 45 games would be a serious blow to the signing itself, with Chapman scheduled for free agency at the end of the year.
At this point the Yankees are likely rooting for no suspension and either collecting a pick or resigning Chapman with a lot of money coming off of the books. MLB may still decide a short suspension is in order on account of player conduct as nowhere in the handbook does it say a player has to be prosecuted in order to be punished.
With the Collective Bargaining Agreement expiring after this upcoming season, the cases of Jose Reyes, Chapman and Yasiel Puig will be interesting to gauge moving forward.
The gut feeling has to be no suspension or a short (under 10 games) suspension of Chapman, who did fire at least one shot into the air during the altercation. Either way at this point it would be hard to imagine the baggage which may have cut into Chapman’s asking price will have a serious impact on his eligibility on he field in a walk year.