Saturday, February 13, 2016

Mejia Permanently Suspended by Major League Baseball

Jenrry Mejia's major league career, for all intents and purposes, is over. The flame-throwing right hander threw away a terrific privilege that only comes to a select few right down the drain when he tested positive for steroids for the third time in less than a year. This time the suspension is permanent.

Last season, Mejia was suspended 80 games in April after he tested positive the first time. Then in July, as he was about to comeback from both the suspension and a leg injury that initially derailed his season, Mejia was caught again and suspended 162 games. He had only 99 games left on his second suspension before this third violation was committed.

There is a way for Mejia to return to a Major League field if he applies for reinstatement in exactly one year, February 12, 2017 -- and must state his case for reinstatement in front of the the commissioner, who will have 30 days to rule. Even with that, Mejia would have to serve a full two year ban before full reinstatement. Obviously he would have to be clean for two years before he can ever be considered for a possible return.

With that said, it's highly unlikely that we will see Mejia on a Major League Baseball field ever again. And it is a slam dunk that he will never play for the Mets again. The Mets barely missed Mejia last season. Jeurys Familia took over the closer's role and never let  it go. He nailed down 43 saves and pitched to a 1.85 ERA. Familia is line for a monster contract down the road, and he stays with the Mets, could be their version of Mariano Rivera.

One could argue the Mets missed Mejia's presence in the backend of the bullpen, as Addison Reed and Tyler Clippard struggled at times, but heading into 2016, they filed that void by signing Antonio Bastardo. The Mets moved on a long time ago, and have not looked back. Mejia, tragically, never understood that. He didn't see what a great opportunity lay before him in the Majors, and like many other players before him, thought he was above the law.

Mejia is a victim of his own poor judgement. While other baseball players have certainly continued to use roids after getting caught, they have been smart enough to do so while masking it. Not long ago, it was Alex Rodriguez who had the most severe ban when he was suspended for an entire season for his role in the Biogenesis scandal. Of course Rodriguez returned in 2015 and played well enough to put the scandal behind him. At the time, I thought Rodriguez should have gotten a life ban, considering the intricate role he played in the scandal and how he lied about it for over a decade. Yet, Rodriguez was smart enough to keep it under wraps for such a long time. Mejia wasn't as smart and as a result, wasn't so lucky.

Where will Mejia end up next? My guess is somewhere in Indy ball. Independent baseball doesn't have the severe steroid testing and rules that Major League Baseball has. In the past users like Jose Canseco and Daryl Ward have found homes in Indy ball. The Can-Am League, American Association, Atlantic League, or Frontier League could all be possible destinations for Mejia if he were to continue to play in the States. If he plays outside the United States, he could find a home either in his native Dominican Republic or even Japan.

No matter how one slices it, Mejia's Major League career is over, and he has nobody to blame but himself.

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