The Cleveland Indians will be without Yasiel Puig for their three-game series against the Red Sox, as MLB punishes the Tribe for another team’s mistake.
Cleveland Indians right fielder Yasiel Puig dropped the appeal for a three-game suspension stemming from his role in a benches-clearing melee on July 30 between the Pittsburgh Pirates and his former team, the Cincinnati Reds. He will begin serving the suspension on Monday, and it will last the duration of Cleveland’s series against the Boston Red Sox.
The fight itself was a well-documented spectacle, with the kicker being that it took place in uncannily close chronological proximity to reports that Puig had been traded to the Indians. What hasn’t been as well-documented is how absurdly, preposterously unacceptable it is that the Reds hadn’t removed Puig from the game before the fight happened.
What’s even more ludicrous is that Puig’s involvement in the brawl will now leave the Indians–tied for first place in the AL Central with every single one of their remaining 44 games qualifying as meaningful–without a vital piece of their lineup against Boston.
Oh, and the Reds? They’re just going to have to find a way to come in fourth place in the NL Central without Amir Garrett.
Puig has admittedly not done himself many favors by garnering the reputation of a firebrand throughout his career, but the fact that MLB can’t see–or is indifferent to–the real ramifications of this suspension is nothing short of laughable. The fact that the Reds will more or less receive a free pass for their negligence is even worse.
At what point does someone with some actual pull blast the Cincinnati front office for somehow failing to communicate the trade to their coaching staff in order to make sure the player is removed from the game in a timely manner?
It’s 2019. People are more connected via an ever-growing multitude of communication devices than ever before. In fact, one of the dominant story lines during the Mets’ near total collapse earlier this year was GM Brodie Van Wagenen allegedly sending Mickey Callaway instructions on how to manage his team via text message in the middle of games.
The Reds, on the other hand, inexplicably didn’t see it as a top priority to–at the very, very least–practice business in good faith and see to it that a player they had just traded was removed from a game before a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match broke out. But hey, at least Joel Sherman was kept in the loop.
To the best of my knowledge, the Indians have no real recourse in this situation. They’ll be punished for something they didn’t even have any control over, let alone something they didn’t do wrong.
Rather than look at the bigger picture, and perhaps levy a hefty fine against Puig, MLB is evidently content to punish a well-run, upstanding organization in the middle of a playoff race in which every game counts, and then wash their hands of it.
The Indians were doing just fine before Puig got to Cleveland. They’ve been even better with him. And they don’t deserve to be without him.