Oakland Athletics’ outfielder Ramon Laureano has been suspended six games.
Major League Baseball has officially handed out punishments for the benches-clearing brawl between the Oakland Athletics and the Houston Astros that drew national attention.
According to reports, Astros coach Alex Cintron received a 20-game ban for his actions instigating the interaction. It is believed to be the longest suspension in history for a person at his position.
MLB absolutely made the correct call by dropping the hammer on Cintron. When footage of the melee first surfaced it seemed as though Laureano was the person most responsible.
However, upon review of the tape, it is clear that Cintron incited the situation by taunting the A’s outfielder from the dugout. It has also been reported that Cintron’s comments were demeaning toward a family member of Laureano’s.
This is unacceptable for an MLB coach.
While the punishments seem harsh for both parties, the sport has been clear that bench-clearing interactions will not be tolerated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the sake of context, Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly was recently suspended eight games for his role in an altercation, also against the Astros.
The Effect on the Oakland Athletics
The loss of Laureano will have an effect on the Athletics at some point soon. While it is possible that he can delay his suspension by appealing the decision, the league seems intent on scrubbing this sort of behavior from the sport until it is safer to be in closer proximity.
Laureano has served as the A’s starting centerfielder for the entirety of the season. He is currently hitting .263, with three home runs, 10 RBI, and 15 hits. The 26-year-old’s defense has also been a major asset to his team.
He has certainly been a key reason for the franchise’s blisteringly hot start to the season. Currently, the A’s are in the midst of a nine-game win streak and pace the entire MLB with a 12-5 record.
When the suspension is served, it is likely that backup Mark Canha will see increased time in center field, with Robbie Grossman or utility man Chad Pinder slotting into Canha’s normal left field slot.
This will also put additional defensive pressure on outfielder Stephen Piscotty and possibly Tony Kemp. It is also possible that the team could consider options outside the current depth chart.
It was refreshing to see the MLB offices take their time and make an informed decision when handing out repercussions.
While Laureano must exercise more self-control, particularly in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, it seemed clear that the Astros’ coach deserved the brunt of the punishment.
A’s manager Bob Melvin will have to get creative with his options in center field while the rest of the team tries to keep things afloat until Laureano returns.
*Editor’s Note: Ramon Laureano has decided to appeal his suspension*