Blue Jays: Suspensions a bad look for the organization
The Blue Jays had three more minor league players suspended for using Boldenone, bringing the organizational total to six in the last week.
While the news has been fairly slow for Toronto Blue Jays’ big league club lately, their minor leaguers have been in the news a great deal lately. On the plus side, guys like T.J. Zeuch, Lourdes Gurriel, Andrew Case and Jordan Romano were all a part of the championship team from the Arizona Fall League, with Zeuch making the start in the final game.
Then came the bad news, first with three players getting suspended on 17th for testing positive for a banned substance known as Boldenone. The list included Hugo Cardona, Yhon Perez, and Leonicio Ventura, who are just 20, 18, and 17 years old, and will each receive a 72 game suspension that begins next season. Baseball has worked very hard on their performance enhancing drug issue in recent years, and have really ramped up the punishments, including for minor leaguers.
As if that wasn’t enough of a black eye for the organization for November, you can add three more players to the list with the news breaking on Tuesday. Pitchers Juan Jimenez and Naswell Paulino were named, as well as the Gulf Coast League’s Jol Concepcion. The first two will get 72 games as their punishment, matching the initial trio, and GCL’s Concepcion will get 60 games for his “reward”.
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The good news in this whole equation for the Blue Jays is that these are names you’re likely hearing for the first time, and not players ready to impact the big league roster in 2018, or maybe at all. Hopefully each youngster will take this as a learning opportunity, and play out the remainder of their careers in a clean manner. That’s the goal of the program after all, to get rid of PED usage, and also to educate players on the pitfalls, both for their health and their professional lives.
The bad news is this isn’t a good look for the Blue Jays organization, at all. I’m not suggesting for a minute that this is a systemic problem in their minor league system, but when you have this many guys using the same banned substance you’d have to think there was a little teamwork going on among the players.
Hopefully there weren’t any blind eyes turned in this case, but you never know. These guys are looking for any edge they can get to climb the ladder, and sometimes it takes learning it for yourself to understand the gravity of the situation. After all, each individual player is ultimately responsible for his own body, and how strictly they adhere to the rules of Major League Baseball.
Still, the Blue Jays front office can’t be happy about the news over the last five days, especially considering the volume of their young assets that have been caught breaking the rules. Hopefully that’s the end of the run of penalties, and now the organization can use this as a learning experience, not just for the players that got caught, but for the rest of the players in the system, as well as the training and coaching staff.