MLB’s next steps with Chapman under policy not quite clear yet

While police in Florida are no longer investigating Aroldis Chapman, the same cannot be said of MLB. But what the league can do under the rules of its new policy remains unclear.

Joe Robbins

NASHVILLE, Tenn.

A trade that would have sent Aroldis Chapman to the Dodgers was held up due to an allegation of domestic violence against the Reds closer, a major-league source confirmed to FOX Sports.

The question: As Major League Baseball plans to investigate Chapman, will it have sufficient evidence to discipline him under its new domestic-violence policy?

The answer is not clear.

Chapman, 27, was not arrested after police investigated an incident that occurred at his Miami-area home in October. Nor did the state of Florida charge him with a crime. There is no video of the incident and conflicting accounts about what happened, sources said. 

AROUND THE HORN

The incident, described in police reports obtained by Yahoo Sports, included Chapman’s girlfriend telling police he "choked" her and pushed her against a wall. Chapman, following the argument, allegedly fired eight gunshots in the garage of his home.

Chapman’s attorney, Jay Reisinger, repeated to FOX Sports what he told Yahoo — that after reviewing the facts as portrayed, "On behalf of Mr. Chapman, we vehemently deny the allegations as stated."

Yet, while the case is closed in Florida, baseball is just opening its own investigation. Baseball officials will interview Chapman, and his discipline will be based on whatever the facts determine, a source said.

The sport’s domestic-violence policy, adopted last August after collective bargaining with the players union, says, "The Commissioner’s authority to discipline is not dependent on whether the player is convicted or pleads guilty to a crime."

The policy also states, "The Commissioner may place a player accused of domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse on paid Administrative Leave for up to seven days while the allegations are investigated before making a disciplinary decision."

MLB’s Chief Legal Officer Dan Halem addressed the situation Tuesday afternoon adding that whether an arrest is made or not will not factor into MLB’s own investigation of Chapman’s domestic incident, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

The situation was different with Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes, the first player to be investigated under baseball’s new policy. Reyes, 32, was arrested and charged with abuse of a family member last month in Maui. Baseball has yet to determine the extent of his discipline.

The Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig is in a similar situation over an alleged altercation with his sister in a Miami bar in November. Neither side pressed charges and Miami police consider the case closed, but MLB is investigating the situation under the same policy, according to the LA Times.

After Reyes’ arrest, baseball issued a statement that said, "As evidenced by our Joint Domestic Violence Policy, Major League Baseball understands the seriousness of the issues surrounding domestic violence, and our Policy explicitly recognizes the harm resulting from such acts.

"Consistent with the terms of this Policy, the Commissioner’s Office already has begun its investigation into the facts and circumstances. Any action taken by the Commissioner’s Office in this matter will be wholly in accordance with this Policy."