One of the biggest names in free agency later this year is facing the biggest crisis of his career.
Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias has been arrested and is facing trial on domestic violence charges. There’s even 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.
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.
Urias will be eligible for free agency for the first time in his career after this season. He hasn’t lived up to expectations this year, going 11-8 with a 4.60 ERA in 21 starts, but he’s 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 will be found criminally guilty or what level of discipline he will receive 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 today, “and that’s assuming Urias has learned from his transgressions, that his partner is safe, and that he’s as deserving of the privilege of being a major league pitcher as he says he is. But fans will never believe that again.
The implication is that Urias has lost the trust of his fans as a major leaguer.
“Regardless of Commissioner Rob Manfred’s suspension, Urias’ future is very unclear. ‘Trevor Bauer must have realized that when an athlete’s behavior reaches a point where his talent is extinguished, the paying public will never tolerate him in uniform, regardless of his contributions to the team, and Urias may have reached that point today,’ the article continued.
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 for more than a year and a half by MLB for sexual assault and effectively banned from Major League Baseball.
This effectively ruled Urias out of free agency later this year, along with Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani was diagnosed with a torn elbow ligament and will require surgery. His agent, Nez Valero, said he will undergo a simpler surgery rather than a Tommy John surgery, but in any case, he is unlikely to 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. Snell, who leads both leagues in ERA and strikeouts as of this date, 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.온라인바카
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.