As reported by Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union Tribune, the Padres are hesitant to call-up Everth Cabrera due to a pending domestic violence charge. With the Tucson Padres, Cabrera can easily travel between Tucson and the Phoenix area for court dates. With the San Diego Padres he could not. He has a pre-trial conference scheduled for next week in Scottsdale.
The arrest, the delayed call-up, and the fact that he is a professional athlete raises questions about how a ball club should handle such situations. According the the Tribune article, Cabrera is not the only one facing charges. His wife, Connie was also arrested and faces charges. Many states now file charges against both parties in domestic violence cases regardless of the circumstances. It is no longer as simple as choosing the aggressor and filing charges. While Cabrera was arrested and faces charges, the exact details of the altercation involving his wife will probably never be known. To label him a wife-beater would be too harsh and too hasty. To let him off the hook would be to ignore the law. So what does it mean to a Major League ball club?
In almost every other profession a charge of domestic violence could end your career. The court dates and the bad publicity could be enough to lead to termination. With most companies, an employee is the face of that business. The same is true of baseball. Lucky for Cabrera, he was not with the Major League club when this happened. The incident occurred on March 16th, during Spring Training.
So why are you just hearing about it now? That is not clear, but the reason it has come out is because Cabrera is tearing up the PCL while shortstops for the Major League club are simply costing the team games. Whether it be Jason Bartlett and his errors and his .135 batting average or Andy Parrino and his usually sure hands failing him, the club’s middle infield is in shambles. Cabrera on the other hand is hitting .333/.392/.386. He has committed four errors on the year compared with Bartlett’s five. The questions about why Cabrera has not been called up were bound to pile up.
“As we consider our options to improve the club, we certainly want to know all the facts related to these charges,” Padres General Manager Josh Byrnes said in the Union Tribune article. “If in fact we make a decision to promote him while this is pending, we know in the back of our mind we have to stay on top of it and act accordingly once the legal process has concluded”
The facts Josh Byrnes may be alluding to is the possibility of Cabrera being convicted and having to serve out a sentence in Arizona. The Grand Canyon State is not lenient on criminals regardless of their profession or social status. So San Diego is simply hoping the case settles without jail time it would seem.
Crime is nothing new among professional athletes. However, teams handle crime with their players differently. Some suspend their players, some wait for the league to suspend them, and some ignore it. San Diego thus far has not necessarily ignored Carbera’s arrest, but it would seem they are waiting for a final conviction or lack thereof before making a decision.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but thanks to Cabrera’s actions, the Padres are currently stuck with a sub-par middle infield, and he may be blowing one of the last opportunities he will get to prove he’s Major League worthy.