The Red Sox front office has made a controversial move by signing, previously banned for life, pitcher Jenrry Mejia ahead of the new season.
MLB Network’s Jon Heyman broke the news on Tuesday that the Boston Red Sox have signed right-handed reliever Jenrry Mejia to a minor league deal.
He followed up with details of the deal including that the pitcher will earn $675,000 if he does play for the Red Sox.
Mejia is a name that plenty of MLB fans will know. Some might not have heard of him as he’s been out of the league since 2015. But the people who did know him wouldn’t have forgotten about him – that’s because of the circumstances surrounding his exit from major league activities four years ago.
The 29-year-old pitcher was expelled from all MLB activities ‘for life’ in January 2016, following three separate occasions where he was tested positive for performance-enhancing drug use. Mejia’s situation is a very bizarre one and for sure there’ll be plenty of Sox fans against the signing. How are you supposed to support a three-time cheater? This is a question that you can ponder, but the Sox have made a decision, a decision that comes at a time where the majority of fans know that any bullpen help whatsoever is necessary.
We can dwell on his past but it isn’t going to change anything. Mejia’s served a three-year sentence, losing his prime years in the process – something very grueling for a major leaguer. I’m not saying three years is enough for three accounts of PED use, but it is what it is and the Sox have decided to take him on, taking any controversy that comes along with the decision on the chin.
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With Mejia looking to start the year in the minors, it’ll be interesting to see how he performs after an extended period of time out of the game. In baseball terms, the signing comes at a time where the Sox were really left needing a reliever. If Mejia can pitch to a decent level, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him getting the call to pitch at Fenway. The Sox bullpen currently has plenty of weaknesses, which were pointed out emphatically last year. This season, however, they’ve lost Joe Kelly while star closer Craig Kimbrel remains unsigned – the Red Sox haven’t made any substantial efforts to bring him back from what’s been reported.
The righty pitcher spent 2010 with the Mets, before being banned for the first time, and then returned from 2012 until 2015. The legitimacy of his past performances is obviously questionable, however, he did show that he has baseball ability.
It was in the 2014 season where it became evident that he had MLB talent. Being named the Mets closer for the 2014 year, Mejia recorded 28 saves on the season. How his time with the Red Sox organization pans out will be seen. He’ll have to prove himself again, but will need to work undoubtedly hard in the minors for another real shot at the major league level.