Mets can make example out of Jeurys Familia, but don't expect it

In June, Sandy Alderson talked extensively about the responsibility the Mets had when they signed Jose Reyes. Coming off, at the time, the longest suspension under MLB and the union’s joint domestic violence policy, Reyes was cut by the Rockies and was basically a pariah in baseball. The Mets GM said the team was willing to take a chance because they knew the person beyond the player and with that came a responsibility, especially to the fans he knew were outraged by the decision.

Alderson explained that “both Jose and the organization will be held to a standard going forward that recognizes the seriousness of domestic abuse and a commitment to stand against it.”

Now, the Mets have a chance to prove that wasn’t just talk, but don’t hold your breath. In sports these days, there has been a lot of talk about how serious of an issue domestic abuse is, but not too much serious action.

Monday Jeurys Familia was arrested for an alleged domestic violence incident in Fort Lee, N.J. According to court papers, police officers who responded to a “dispute,” in a Fort Lee apartment after 2 a.m. Monday morning they found probable cause “to believe that domestic violence had occurred.”

Accused wife beater Jose Reyes gets warm welcome at Citi Field

Tuesday the Mets “reacted.”

“The matter was brought to our attention and we are monitoring the situation,” a Mets spokesperson said when the news of Familia’s arrest surfaced.

No more than 7 images from any single MLB game, workout, activity or event may be used (including online and on apps) while that game, activity or event is in progress.

Jeurys Familia faces serious domestic violence allegations, but don’t hold your breath on a strong stance from Mets.

(Elsa/Getty Images)

That statement does not exactly scream the Mets are taking a strong stand against domestic violence.

Familia, and any other athlete, absolutely deserve to be considered innocent until proven guilty in these cases. According to court records, Familia was released on bail and will possibly have his day in court to plead his case.

Lighter workload for Jeurys Familia could end playoff struggles

The Mets and all of sports, however, are seemingly judging how seriously they actually take these growing numbers of domestic abuse cases on the field and courts. The talk of zero tolerance and serious consequences always seems to be quieted when it comes up against the cold, hard facts of wins and losses.

It’s doubtful that will change anytime soon. MLB has certainly gotten out in front of it better than the NFL and will force the Mets and Familia to suffer some consequences on the field.

Exactly one year to the day that Reyes was arrested in Hawaii for allegedly grabbing his wife and shoving her into a sliding glass door at a hotel in Maui, Familia was arrested in a similar situation.

No more than 7 images from any single MLB game, workout, activity or event may be used (including online and on apps) while that game, activity or event is in progress.

The Mets were willing to bring Jose Reyes back despite his domestic violence because of what he could do on the field.

(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The complaint filed Tuesday said that Familia caused “bodily injury to another” and that the police officers observed a scratch to the chest and a bruise to the right cheek of the victim, whose name was redacted in the court papers.

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MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred issued a 52-game suspension for Reyes, who had his criminal case dropped when his wife refused to cooperate with prosecutors, he was required to donate $100,000 to a charity that dealt with family abuse and Reyes had to undergo therapy.

If MLB finds any credence to the charges against Familia, he will face the same type of punishment. If he is convicted, as Atlanta outfielder Hector Olivera was last month, Familia could be looking at 82 games.

The Mets will see this as severe.

Familia is the best closer the Mets have had. This season, he set the record with 51 saves in a season, the most ever by a Dominican-born reliever. Over the last two years he has put together 94 saves. Aside from three blown saves in the World Series and giving up a three-run home run in the wild card game this season, he is one of the main reasons for the organization’s success the last two years.

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Familia was the Mets' most valuable pitcher out of the bullpen the last two seasons.

Familia was the Mets’ most valuable pitcher out of the bullpen the last two seasons.

(Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports)

They were already going to need to think about bringing in a veteran, back-of-the bullpen reliever next year because they felt, in part, Familia’s heavy workload led to those postseason breakdowns. Now they will most likely need a closer for at least 30% of the season.

They could go out and land a big-name reliever like Kenley Jansen, but that would cost a big contract. Arbitration eligible this winter, Familia is expected to get tendered a contract over $9 million.

With the Mets expected to pick up Reyes’ option and having Familia under this cloud, this issue will certainly cost the team some fans who are upset with the message this sends about domestic violence.

But in terms of wins and losses, Familia and Reyes are too good a deal for the Mets to pass up. It’s easy to talk about the responsibility of taking a stand against domestic violence, it just seems it’s too hard to actually do it at the cost of wins and losses.

Tags:
mlb
new york mets
jeurys familia
domestic violence
jose reyes

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