Mets agree to one-year contract with disgraced former closer

Jenrry Mejia agreed to a new one-year contract with the Mets, but will not receive any of the money due to his lifetime ban.
By Zach Gewelb

Well, it’s that time of the year again.

The Mets and Jenrry Mejia agreed to a one-year contract earlier this week while the disgraced reliever continues to serve his lifetime ban from Major League Baseball. Mejia, banned since February 2016, will not see a penny of the $1,729,000 million contract while he serves his “suspension,” which was issued after his third positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Mejia was suspended for 80 games in April 2015 after a positive test for stanozolol, a banned drug, and admitted that he took a banned substance. Then, in July 2015, he was suspended for 162 games for using stanozolol as well as boldenone, an anabolic androgenic steroid developed for veterinary use and most commonly used to treat horses. He was banished after a third failed test in February 2016.

So my question is, why go through the charade of tendering Mejia a contract when he’s supposedly never going to play again?

By signing him to a contract, the Mets essentially are retaining Mejia’s rights in the case he is ever reinstated. Mejia can plead to the commissioner any time he’d like to be reinstated, but it’s unlikely he’d be allowed back in the game.

The league came down hard on Mejia in an effort to deter players from using banned substances. What message would it send to players if the league allowed Mejia to play again?

The old saying goes, “if you can’t do the time, then don’t do the crime.” Mejia flunked three drug tests and does not belong in the game anymore, and there’s no reason for the Mets to continue going through the process of resigning him every year.

Even if Mejia is eventually allowed back into baseball, would he be any good? The 28-year-old righty last pitched in 2015, when he tossed seven shutout innings. Before that, he pitched to a 3.65 ERA and recorded 28 saves as the team’s closer in 2014. He has pitched in more than seven games in a season just twice — as a rookie in 2010 and in 2014. He’s simply not worth all this trouble.

The Mets should be trying to establish a better team culture, as all great organizations should. That means cutting ties with players like Mejia. The team puts up with the antics of a Yoenis Cespedes, or Amed Rosario, or Noah Syndergaard because their talent merits patience. There should be no patience with players like Mejia.

Reach reporter Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewelb@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4539.

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