Early in the 2016 Major League Baseball season, it was announced that New York Mets relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia was permanently banned from Major League Baseball after failing his third Performance Enhancing Drug Test. Mejia was the first player since Pete Rose to go on Major League Baseball’s lifetime ban list and that appeared to be the end of the story for Mejia…until July 6th, 2018 when Commissioner Robert D. Manfred announced that Jenrry Mejia would be reinstated (conditionally) back into Major League Baseball.
In his Major League career (before his lifetime ban, obviously) Mejia posted a 3.68 ERA and a strikeout to walk ratio of 162/76 in 183.1 innings across 113 games as a relief pitcher.
Jenrry Mejia’s first suspension came on April 11, 2015 when Mejia was suspended for 80 games after testing positive for use of a drug called Stanozolol. His second suspension came on July 28, 2015 (when he hadn’t even finished serving his first sentence) when Mejia tested positive for Stanozolol and Boldenone. His second failed Drug test resulted in a 162 game suspension. After recieving a contract extension from the Mets who were expecting Mejia to be back after the 2016 seaosn was 100 games through, Mejia was caught for the third and final time during the 2015-2016 Offseason using Boldenone. With his third failed drug test came the mandatory permanent ban under the Joint Drug Agreement.
Jenrry Mejia will be permitted to continue participation in non-public workouts at New York Mets’ facilities subsequent to the All-Star break and will be eligible for a rehabilitation assignment with a New York Mets’ affiliate in mid-August. If Mejia complies with specific conditions installed by Robert D. Manfred Jr. and the union (most likely PED-related), the 28-year-old will be reinstated from the Lifetime Ban list and be eligible to resume all baseball activities commencing with Spring Training in 2019.
Robert D. Manfred had this to say regarding the reinstatement:
“Under the terms of our collectively bargained Joint Drug Program, a permanently suspended player like Mr. Mejia has the right to apply to me for discretionary reinstatement after serving a minimum of two years. Upon receiving Mr. Mejia’s application for reinstatement last year, I invited him to New York to meet with me. During our meeting, Mr. Mejia expressed regret for poor choices he made in the past and assured me that, if reinstated, he would adhere to the terms of the Program going forward. In light of Mr. Mejia’s contrition, his commitment to comply with the Program in the future, and the fact that he will have already spent almost four consecutive years suspended without pay, I have decided to grant Mr. Mejia a final chance to resume his professional career.”
This offseason, the Mets and Mejia agreed to a one-year, $1.729 million deal to avoid arbitration just in case he was reinstated and while Mejia will not see a dime of this money until he is officially reinstated it will give the Mets controll over him for another season so that if he does make it back, it will be with the Mets.
Personally, I was suprised by this and it is hard to fathum that someone that was not given one, not two, but three chances to do the right thing before being banned forever is now getting a fourth chance. I am a strong advocate for lifetime bans of players that fail to comply with Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement, but what do I know, I guess a Lifetime Ban and a 3-year ban are the synonomous at this point in today’s game.