USA TODAY Sports’ Bob Nightengale breaks down how players and teams fared at the MLB trade deadline.
The Houston Astros might be able to repeat as World Series champions this year without selling their souls, but they already gave away a chunk of their integrity.
A very big chunk.
On Sunday, the Astros issued a second statement on the acquisition of Roberto Osuna that still fails to answer a vital question: How can a team that claims to have a zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence trade for a pitcher who still was serving a 75-game suspension for violating the league’s domestic violence policy?
Well, certainly not in good conscience.
Osuna, the hard-throwing All-Star closer who the Astros acquired by trade with the Toronto Blue Jays on July 30, addressed his new teammates Sunday in a 10-minute meeting at Dodger Stadium before the game.
“I was very happy to meet them and very happy to be a part of this team and be a part of this World Series championship team,” Osuna said through a translator, according to the Associated Press. “I will do my best to win another World Series this year.”
Osuna said he couldn’t talk about why he was suspended. Perhaps his comments behind closed doors were more convincing than what the Astros provided in their statement.
“This was an extremely difficult decision for our organization,’’ the statement reads in part. “We understood that it would cause significant debate.’’
To which one Twitter user responded by writing “He throws hard” with a shrug emoji across the release.
And that’s just one example of how some female fans are reacting.
Debate? Let’s be clear about the undebatable: The Astros have made it clear they do not have a zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence. But they do have a pitcher who could help them win another World Series title. And while he didn’t play Sunday, he can be called upon at any time.
Osuna, who was arrested and charged with assaulting his girlfriend May 8 in Toronto, is due in court Sept. 5. He is expected to plead not guilty. Daniel Brown, a Toronto defense attorney not involved in the case, talked to USA TODAY Sports about how things could play out in court.
The case is in the early stages of prosecution and the two sides likely are discussing if they can resolve it without going to trial, said Brown, adding, “The parties will consider the wishes of the complainant as well as any remedial efforts completed by Osuna, including his counseling efforts to determine whether it is still in the public interest to prosecute.’’
The jury no longer is out on the Astros and their zero-tolerance domestic violence policy.
The idea of its existence is a most unfortunate joke.
Contributing: A.J. Perez