Blue Jays: This is bigger than when Roberto Osuna can return

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 03: Roberto Osuna /

After being arrested on Tuesday for alleged domestic assault, Roberto Osuna’s return to the Blue Jays is up in the air, and also not what’s important right now.

Tuesday brought news that no Blue Jays fan, or any decent human being for that matter, wanted to hear. Roberto Osuna was arrested on Tuesday, allegedly for domestic assault against a female whose identify has not been officially confirmed in order to protect the victim. Osuna will have to appear in court on June 18th, and has been placed on administrative leave by Major League Baseball.

At a minimum, Osuna will have to miss at least seven days according to the standard set forth by the league, but it would take a pretty drastic shift in the narrative for him to return in a week’s time. Without knowing the details it’s very difficult to predict how long he’ll be on the sidelines, and all we’ve really got to go on are the previous suspensions to guys like Hector Olivera (82 games), Jose Reyes (51 games), Aroldis Chapman (30 games), Jeurys Familia (15 games), and Steven Wright (15 game). Major League Baseball has been taking these situations very seriously, as they should, and I don’t think anyone should expect Osuna to get off easy at all.

And you know what? As much as I’ve been a huge fan of his and I’m really upset about the impact on the Blue Jays’ season, it just doesn’t matter. This is bigger than an individual, or a team performance.

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Sure, I’m choked about the fact that the Blue Jays just lost their best reliever for a yet to be determined length of time (current stats notwithstanding), and there’s no replacing his talent on the depth chart. But that said, it really should be the least of the Blue Jays’ worries when it comes to Osuna’s future in Toronto, or even in baseball.

In a best case scenario, one that would find Osuna falsely accused and wrongfully arrested, the fallout of the press coverage will still take a tremendous toll on the 23 year old, and his reputation will be sullied regardless of how this plays out in the courts. That’s the best case scenario, and I’d be genuinely surprised if that’s how this all shakes out. Again, I’m not making a judgment prematurely here, but it doesn’t look good for the 2017 All-Star.

In a likelier and more negative scenario, Osuna will face a long suspension from baseball, and could be up against some serious consequences on the legal side as well. We don’t know the severity of the alleged incident, but he could be facing a variety of potential punishments here, including the possibility of jail time, such as the 10 days served in jail by Olivera. It’s also possible this could have a serious effect on his work visa, as Osuna is a native of Juan Jose Rios, Mexico.

And as bad as those potential end games are, it’s still not what needs to be focused on the most. To me, the Blue Jays have handled this very well so far, at least in terms of their public statements on Tuesday, and the actions they’ve already put in place, such as replacing their upcoming Osuna t-shirt giveaway with one focused on Solarte. The message is clear that the Blue Jays will not condone or defend this behaviour.

I really believe that John Gibbons summed things up as best as we could expect from the team’s manager, and someone who genuinely cares about Osuna, regardless of the severity of the circumstances.

"“Hopefully there’s nothing there. I love the kid, and not because of what he’s done for us on the field, but because of who he is and my relationship with him over the years. Really, in society in general, there’s got to be a zero tolerance policy. You’ve got to protect the vulnerable and those that can’t protect themselves a lot. But hopefully when it’s all said and done, he’s back with us, it’s behind him and things turn out fine”. – John Gibbons"

You can’t fault Gibbons for hoping for the best for his young player here, and even for the way he talks about eventually moving past the situation. However, he also didn’t sugarcoat the scenario either, and rightfully stated that society can’t tolerate this kind of behaviour, let alone an organization like the Blue Jays.

To their credit, they’ve have sent the right message so far in my opinion, choosing to keep relatively quiet until things play out, but also taking the appropriate steps to do some damage control and ultimately stand behind the league policy on this sort of thing. It shows the fans and the league that his value on the diamond takes a back seat to something as serious as this, as it should.

I genuinely hope he can eventually return to the Blue Jays someday and redeem himself in a number of ways, but I’m thankful that isn’t the focus right now. Some things are more important than baseball, and unfortunately for everyone involved, this is one of them.

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