Red Sox

Hot Stove Lunch: Red Sox signing of Mejia not without its risks

(Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The Red Sox’ signing of free agent reliever Jenrry Mejia to a minor league deal was bound to be controversial.

After all, Mejia has been suspended on three separate occasions for violating baseball’s drug policy, each time nabbed for use of anabolic steroids. He was “permanently banned” from the game after his third failed test before earning first a conditional reprieve and then full reinstatement from commissioner Rob Manfred.

It sure seems something of a risk for the Red Sox, even though there’s not of money at stake. (The Sox will play Mejia less than $100,000 while he’s in the minors and just $625,000 if he makes it back to the big leagues. That figure is just above the major league minimum salary for 2019).

But if there isn’t a big financial investment, there are other gambles here. If Mejia is caught violating the PED program again, the Sox will look foolish for trusting someone with a checkered past.

While many are sympathetic to those who have battled substance abuse and the medical community views addiction as a disease, PED use is another matter. It’s a choice made by players, who knowingly use banned substances to gain an unfair advantage.

And there’s this: in an atmosphere where players and the Players Association believe too many teams aren’t doing enough (read: spending enough), at least one free agent is angry that Mejia, who hasn’t pitched in the majors for three and a half years, got signed before he did.

On the same day that Mejia signed, the Arizona Diamondbacks signed reliever Greg Holland to a one-year deal for $3.5 million. Granted, that’s about $2.9 million more than the Sox spent on Mejia. And Holland is no guarantee either, after coming off a nightmarish season in 2018.

But if Holland turns out to be an inexpensive find for the D’backs and Mejia either doesn’t reach the big leagues or falls back into trouble with PED police, the Red Sox will have some explaining to do.

Elsewhere…

AL EAST 

Clint Frazier has recovered from his concussion symptoms.

The Orioles will have a rookie manager, but no bench coach.

The Rays would be wise to extend some of their younger players.

Freddy Galvis should help improve Toronto’s infield defense.

AL CENTRAL

Breaking down the best and worst contracts on the Indians roster.

There’s an opening in the Twins’ rotation.

Tigers starter Daniel Norris is hoping injuries are behind him.

Top prospect Eloy Jimenez can’t wait to reach the big leagues.

The Royals are looking for payroll flexibility.

AL WEST

The Astros still need some bullpen help.

Even with some additions, the Rangers still have some work to do with their rotation.

Sandy Alderson and the A’s have reunited.

The Mariners welcomed their new Hall of Famer.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Old friend Torey Lovullo received a contract extension.

 

 

 

 

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