Tracy Ringolsby

Reyes decision expected in 'days, as opposed to weeks'

Commissioner also discusses Mejia, Cuba, Royals' title and more

Reyes decision expected in 'days, as opposed to weeks'

KANSAS CITY -- Commissioner Rob Manfred said the onset of the regular season adds to the need to make a decision on the possible penalty facing Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes for domestic abuse allegations.

Reyes is currently on paid administrative leave, which was not an issue during Spring Training, because players are only paid their salary during the regular season. A suspension would most likely come without pay, which would provide the Rockies financial relief from the $22 million Reyes is due this year under the contract the team inherited when it traded shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Blue Jays last July for a package of players, including Reyes.

Reyes has two years and $44 million -- plus a team option of $22 million with a $2 million buyout for 2018 -- remaining on the six-year deal he signed with the Marlins prior to 2012. Police in Maui announced last week they were dropping domestic abuse charges against Reyes, because his wife has allegedly refused to cooperate with police in the investigation.

The charges stemmed from an incident on Oct. 31 that resulted in Reyes' arrest.

The dropping of the charges can help expedite MLB's dealing with the matter.

"The way these things generally work is the ability of the law enforcement to provide us information goes up once the criminal process is up," Commissioner Manfred said. "We want to take advantage of the additional findings and get as much information as possible."

The Commissioner did not set a deadline for a decision.

"The best I can tell you is it is days, as opposed to weeks," he said.

Rookie Trevor Story took advantage of Reyes' absence during Spring Training to earn a spot in the Rockies' starting lineup Monday night at Arizona, and he responded by becoming the first player to hit two home runs on Opening Day in his big league debut. He's the fifth with a multi-homer game in his MLB debut, the first since Toronto's J.P. Arencibia in 2010.

Story's two-home run debut

Manfred also touched on several other topics Tuesday:

• Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia, who in February became the first player given a lifetime suspension for testing positive for use of PEDs for a third time, has since hired legal counsel and claimed he was the victim of an MLB conspiracy, which MLB vehemently denied.

"The allegations made by Mr. Mejia's attorney are completely without factual foundation," the Commissioner said. "I don't think it is ever positive for somebody to come out and say things that aren't true.

"Every player has the right to file for reinstatement, and if he applies for reinstatement, we will consider that."

Mejia does have the right to appeal the suspension in a year, but he would still have to sit out a minimum of two years if he wins that case.

• Manfred was in Kansas City to take part in the presentation of the 2015 World Series championship rings to Royals players, and he said it was a special moment for him. The Royals are the defending champions, but they ranked in the middle of the pack in terms of Opening Day payrolls, according to information published this week.

"People have asked me about the highlights of my first year, and one of them was handing the World Series trophy to [Royals owner] David Glass," the Commissioner said. "The Glass family has been a good standard bearer for baseball in Kansas City."

• Manfred said he was pleased with the success of the game between the Rays and the Cuban national team in Havana during Spring Training, and he wanted to see the relationship between Cuba and MLB grow.

"In the short term, the key objective is to get to the point where the Cuban players can come to the United States, sign with a Major League organization, play baseball and return home in the offseason," he said. "That we can get out of the situation of the players being forced to take risks with their lives to get out of Cuba and come here to play."

Manfred on relations with Cuba

In the longer-term, Manfred said he saw potential growth with Cuba because "it is one of the countries where baseball is embedded in the economy."

• Manfred was impressed with the more than 96,000 tickets sold for last weekend's two-game exhibition series at Montreal's Olympic Stadium between the Blue Jays and the Red Sox, but he said there were three steps before serious consideration could be given to expansion that would bring MLB back to Montreal.

Manfred joins the booth

The Commissioner said a new Basic Agreement must be in place, the stadium situations for the A's and Rays must be solved, and a new plan and financing for a new stadium in Montreal must be in place.

"We left Montreal because the current stadium is unacceptable, and we won't go back until they address that," Manfred said.

Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.