Relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia of the New York Mets has been permanently suspended by Major League Baseball after a third positive test for performance enhancing drugs(PEDs). Mejia tested positive for a metabolite of Boldenone, an anabolic steroid. Under MLB’s recent PED rules changes, a third positive test automatically results in a permanent suspension from Major League Baseball.
Interestingly, each of Mejia’s second and third suspensions occurred while he was serving the previous suspension: his first suspension, of 80-games, occurred in early 2015 as he was recovering from an injury sustained on Opening Day, and his second, 162-game ban occurred on July 28, as he was preparing for his return to the Mets.
What this means for Mejia
Mejia will be remembered in the history books as the first MLB player to be permanently suspended due to the new PED rules, and joins a very short list of players who have been banned for life by MLB in the modern era. The short list includes the eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox who were banned for fixing games in the World Series, and Pete Rose, who was banned for gambling on his own team.
Mejia will be allowed to petition MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred for reinstatement after a minimum of two years, but if Rose is any measuring stick, it’s highly unlikely we will ever see Mejia on a Major League mound again.
Some foreign leagues will also uphold the suspension, such as the top leagues in Japan and Korea, but other leagues will not enforce this ruling. Mejia most recently played for Licey in the Dominican Winter League, and at age 26, is likely to continue playing somewhere. Mejia’s Major League career ends with 113 appearances, a 3.68 ERA, and 28 career saves.
What this means for the Mets
The short answer: not much. While Mejia was the Mets’ closer in 2014, he sat out nearly the whole 2015 season. After Mejia’s Opening Day injury, the Mets were unsure which player would take over the 9th inning, but young-flamethrower Jeurys Familia quickly blossomed into a reliable, if not superb, closer.
Mejia was still under team control and was not yet arbitration eligible, but the Mets were prepared to offer him about $1 million, knowing he would be eligible to return and help the team in late July. That won’t happen now, and the Mets will be released from any liability with Mejia.
The Mets signed Antonio Bastardo in the offseason and added former closer Addison Reed late last season, so the back-end of the Mets bullpen is set. While Mejia was a valuable piece, his consistent wrongdoing has showed that any player can be replaced. And the Mets have indeed replaced him. Going into 2016, the job belongs to Familia.
Statistics provided by ESPN.com and baseball-reference.com
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