One of the biggest starting pitchers to hit free agency later this year is facing the biggest crisis of his career.
Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias has been arrested and will stand trial for domestic violence. There is speculation that he could be banned from Major League Baseball.
‘Urias was arrested on Sunday night on felony domestic violence charges, according to the Los Angeles Police Department,’ ESPN reported on Friday, ‘He was previously arrested on the same charges four years ago. After being taken into custody at 1 a.m. Monday, Urias was released at 4:47 a.m. after posting $50,000 bail. His initial court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 28.
Urias’ alleged offense was reportedly violence against his wife. He was arrested by police and charged with the offense.
The Dodgers tweeted, “The organization is aware of an incident involving Julio Urias. Mr. Urias will not be with the team while the facts are determined and we have no further comment at this time,” the organization said on Twitter. 스포츠토토
If the allegations are confirmed, Urias could face severe discipline from MLB. He was previously suspended 20 games in May 2019 for violating the domestic violence policy that MLB and the Major League Baseball players union agreed to in 2015. No player has been disciplined twice for the same offense under that policy in the last eight years. The worst-case scenario is a suspension of more than a year.
Blake Snell is considered a top free agent choice later this year. AP
Urias will be eligible for free agency for the first time in his career after this season. While he hasn’t lived up to expectations with an 11-8 record and 4.60 ERA in 21 starts this year, he has emerged as a top-tier starter, finishing seventh in the NL Cy Young Award in 2021 and third last year. In two seasons, he has a 37-10 record and a 2.57 ERA. Prior to the start of this season, local media outlets predicted that Urias would sign a free agent contract totaling more than $200 million.
Now, however, the situation has taken a 180-degree turn. While we don’t know if he’ll be found guilty of any crimes or what level of discipline he’ll face from MLB, it’s clear that teams and fans are turning their backs on him.
“It’s no exaggeration to say that he could have gotten a contract worth close to $100 million this offseason,” USA Today wrote, “and that’s assuming that Urias has learned from his transgressions, that his partner is safe, and that he’s worthy of the privilege of being a major league pitcher as he says he is. But fans will never believe that again.
In other words, Urias is no longer trusted as a major leaguer.
Trevor Bauer was suspended and later placed on administrative leave in May 2021 following a sexual assault scandal while with the Los Angeles Dodgers. AP
“Regardless of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s suspension, Urias’ future is very unclear,” said USA Today. Trevor Bauer said that when an athlete’s behavior reaches a point where it extinguishes his talent, he realizes that paying customers will never tolerate him in uniform, regardless of his contribution to the team, and Urias may have reached that point today.
The situation is similar to that of Bauer, who is currently playing in Nippon Professional Baseball. In May 2021, the first season of his three-year contract with the Dodgers, Bauer was suspended by MLB for more than a year and a half following sexual assault allegations, effectively removing him from Major League Baseball.
Shohei Ohtani, the biggest name in free agency after this season, will miss at least the first half of next year after undergoing elbow surgery. AP
Urias joins Shohei Ohtani as two players who are effectively off the free agent market later this year. Ohtani has been diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament and will require surgery. His agent, Nez Valero, said he will undergo a simpler surgery rather than Tommy John surgery, but in any case, he will not return to the mound for at least the first half of next year.
With Ohtani and Urias out of the picture, the starting pitching order for free agency later this year is roughly Blake Snell, Aaron Nola, Eduardo Rodriguez, Lucas Giolito, Jordan Montgomery, and Sonny Gray. As of today, Snell, who leads both leagues in ERA and strikeouts, is the favorite for the NL Cy Young Award and will likely command more than $200 million in free agency. Nola and Rodriguez are also expected to get $100 million deals.
Add to that the market demand for Hyun-jin Ryu, who is coming off Tommy John surgery, and Clayton Kershaw, who has overcome frequent injuries. Both should be able to get 1+1 or 2-year deals with ease.