Relief pitcher Jenrry Mejia became the first Major League Baseball player to ever be banned for life as a result of steroid use on February 12, 2016, when the league announced that he had failed his third drug test in the course of a year. Apparently, the term “for life” does not have the same connotation for Major League Baseball as it does for the rest of us.
Mejia was given an 80-game suspension in early April 2016 after testing positive for the use of Stanozolol before returned for about a week and a half in July before failing a second test and serving the subsequent 162-game penalty for the use of Stanozolol and Boldenone. Before that suspension even ended, Mejia was once again busted for an easily detectable performance-enhancing substance (Boldenone).
Mejia was a rising talent in the offseason prior to the 2010 season and was praised by scouts for having electric stuff. Mejia was the next big thing for the Mets until a rocky few seasons and numerous drug suspensions ended a seemingly brilliant career in the making.
When he wasn’t serving time for his poor choices, Mejia was not turning heads with his pitching. In his career thus far, Mejia has put up a 3.68 ERA with 162 strikeouts in 183 1/3 innings during his career with the Mets. Mejia’s best season came in 2014 when he put up 28 saves and recorded 98 strikeouts in 93 2/3 innings. It has all been downhill since then for Mejia.
After serving his suspension for three years, Mejia was granted a conditional reinstatement by Commissioner Robert Manfred on June 6, 2018. The deal will enable Mejia to play in the Majors in 2019. After being released by the New York Mets on November 20, 2018, the Boston Red Sox signed Mejia to a Minor League deal on Tuesday.
“I’ve had a long, difficult time away from the game to contemplate the mistakes I’ve made both with regard to my positive drug tests and also the false allegations I made about Major League Baseball’s investigation into my testing history,” Mejia said in a statement after being reinstated. “Baseball is my profession, my passion, and my life, and for those mistakes, I am truly sorry.”
If Mejia impresses in Spring Training this year and is added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster, the reliever will receive a one-year contract worth $625,000 while in the major leagues and $90,400 during his time in the minors.
“He has been reinstated by MLB, so we are hopeful he has learned from his past mistakes,” Boston Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski told the Boston Herald.
Long story short, Mejia, who was foolish enough to fail not one, not two, but three PED tests in a single year (with the third coming before his second sentence had been fully served) is getting let off the hook once again. The fact that Mejia is getting away with his foolish actions is a disgrace to the game of baseball. Mejia is getting away with murder and after undisputedly, undeniably, incontrovertibly proving that he is a cheater and has no business ever putting on a Major League Baseball uniform again, he will be getting a fourth (and final according to the Commissioner) chance at redemption.
“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.”
Robert Manfred had a real chance to show the rest of Major League Baseball that this behavior would not be tolerated and the repercussions of these actions would be severe. Unfortunately, this is not what happened and Major League Baseball has completely blown it.
The use of Performance Enhancing Drugs tarnished the integrity of this beautiful game for an entire era and the negative effect that it has had on the league and its players is irreversible. Players that are caught using these substances should not have their cases taken lightly and need to be made an example out of. Just as Pete Rose was made an example of for gambling on the game, players like Mejia must be punished harshly and without mercy.
Hopefully, for Mejia’s sake, he ditches the Performance Enhancers and doesn’t blow this opportunity (that let’s face it, he doesn’t deserve). If he doesn’t who knows he might actually get a lifetime suspension…or not.