Manfred waits on Reyes decision, explains lifting Utley ban
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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred won’t decide on discipline Jose Reyes until after the domestic violence case involving the Colorado shortstop plays out in court.
Speaking Monday during the Rockies’ exhibition game against the Cubs, Manfred also said he met with the players’ association last week to begin collective bargaining for an agreement to replace the one that expires Dec. 1. He also said the decision to rescind Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Chase Utley’s two-game suspension stemmed from the new sliding rules announced last week.
Manfred placed Reyes on paid suspension ahead of spring training under the domestic violence agreement reached last August. Last week, Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman agreed to a 30-game suspension.
“It depends on the circumstances of each case,” Manfred said. “I can imagine a scenario where you’re able to get all the information and put yourself in a position to make a decision. On the other hand, I think the single-biggest mistake you can make here is to make a decision quickly and then have additional facts come out afterwards and undermine the quality of that decision.”
Reyes is scheduled for a trial April 4 on a charge he abused his wife at a Hawaii resort on Oct. 31. Reyes has pleaded not guilty.
“Once that process plays out, I think we’ll be in a position to have access to all the facts and be in a position to act quickly,” Manfred said.
Manfred explained each domestic violence case is different.
“And they’re not just what you think the facts are, it’s also what facts you can prove,” Manfred said. “We’re just not in a position to have a great grasp of the facts quite yet. I think we’ll be in a much better position once the legal process plays out.”
Manfred indicated he’s preparing for frequent meetings with the union on a new labor contract.
“We’ve had one meeting already, and they will continue during spring training,” he said. “I don’t talk about the substance of those other than to say we got a nice early start, and that’s a good thing for everybody.”
The commissioner said the new sliding rule played a role in the decision to rescind the suspension of Utley, originally penalized two games for a hard takeout slide that broke a leg of New York Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada during last season’s NL Division Series. The penalty was put on hold while Utley appealed.
“Given that you can’t go back to the World Series and alter him playing or not playing in that World Series, it seemed like a good result to move on and focus on the new rule going forward.”
Manfred also said his office consulted with the union before submitting a proposal to the U.S. Treasury Department that would allow teams to sign Cuban players without them having to establish residence outside the communist island nation.
“We did have a conversation about it. It’s pending,” Manfred said. “It’s really in the government’s hands at this point, and I don’t necessarily expect quick action there.”