Worth the baggage?

A look at what Osuna brings to the Astros from a baseball perspective

A look at what Osuna brings to the Astros from a baseball perspective
Roberto Osuna from a baseball perspective is a great addition. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Houston Astros acquired Toronto Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna via trade on Monday afternoon.  Going to Toronto will be Ken Giles, David Paulino, and Hector Perez. Almost all of these players aside from Perez come with baggage.  Giles punched himself in the face, then cursed his manager out on the field a few months later, earning him a one-way ticket to AAA. Paulino was suspended last season for PED use.  However, neither Giles or Paulino have anywhere near the baggage that Osuna does, who was suspended 75 games for violating MLB’s domestic violence policy.

People are understandably upset, but before we get to that let’s take a look at the baseball reasons behind acquiring Osuna.

Osuna is one of the most promising young arms in baseball.  The 23-year-old made the all-star game last season, and in his three seasons has already amassed over 100 saves, has a career ERA of 2.87, and has a career K/9 of 10.2 comparing to a 1.2 BB/9.  Essentially, he’s elite.

The stuff looks equally as elite.  He has a fastball that sits 95-96 that he runs up to 98, and a devastating wipeout slider in the 87-88 range.  Speaking purely from a baseball perspective, the Astros just acquired that shutdown closer that everyone has been pining for since 2015.

Unfortunately, baseball isn’t the only question here.  Osuna was arrested on May 8th on suspicion of assaulting a woman.  Major League Baseball reviewed the facts of the case, and ultimately suspended Osuna for 75 games, retroactive to May 8th.  His suspension comes to an end on Aug. 4, meaning he could possibly be donning an Astros uniform by the end of the week.

“My office has completed its investigation into the allegation that Roberto Osuna violated Major League Baseball’s Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy on May 8, 2018.  Having reviewed all of the available evidence, I have concluded that Mr. Osuna violated the Policy and should be subject to discipline in the form of an unpaid suspension that will expire on August 4th,” Manfred said via press release.

People are upset with Jeff Luhnow and the Houston Astros for acquiring someone with that sort of baggage, but here’s what the Astros have to say.

“We are excited to welcome Roberto Osuna to our team,” said Luhnow.  “The due diligence by our front office was unprecedented. We are confident that Osuna is remorseful, has willfully complied with all consequences related to his past behavior, has proactively engaged in counseling, and will fully comply with our zero tolerance policy related to abuse of any kind.  Roberto has some great examples of character in our existing clubhouse that we believe will help him as he and his family establish a fresh start as he continues with the Houston Astros. We look forward to Osuna’s contributions as we head into the back half of the season.”

Osuna also released a statement following the trade.

“I am excited to join the Houston Astros and move forward with a fresh start to my career,” said Osuna.  “The positive character of my new teammates is a big reason for their success and I look forward to bringing a positive contribution to this great group of guys as we work towards many more winning seasons.  I thank Jeff Luhnow and the entire Astros organization for believing in me — I will not let them down.”

I do not condone violence or domestic violence in any way, and I understand everyone that is upset with the Astros for acquiring a player with this back story.  At the same time, I love a good redemption story, and I hope Osuna proves he is worth the second chance. He also hasn’t been to court and hasn’t been convicted of a crime yet.  

I would hate to be judged by the worst thing I’ve ever said or ever done, and I’m sure everyone reading this feels that same way.  Unfortunately for Osuna, what’s probably the worst thing he’s ever done has played out where everyone can see.

Osuna is also a troubled soul who has admitted to issues with mental illness and anxiety in the past.  Last season, Osuna took time away from baseball to address anxiety and depression issues. He said he was unhappy and that he never wanted to feel like that again.

I hope Osuna truly does feel sorry for what he’s done, and I hope he grows from this experience and never does it again.  However, I also hope Osuna comes to Houston and experiences great success, overcomes his mental health issues, and is a happy human being.  At the end of the day, we all deserve to be happy.

Osuna’s court date is Aug. 1.  He has been in AAA on a rehab assignment.  He hasn’t allowed a run in six innings pitched across three different minor league levels.


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