What the suspensions should be for Yankees-Rays mess

The penalties for the Yankees and Rays from Tuesday night’s ugliness likely will arrive in the next few hours, before the heated rivals conclude their 2020 series Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

Here’s how I would rule if I were king (of Major League Baseball):

1. A four-game suspension for Aroldis Chapman for throwing behind Mike Brosseau. For argument’s sake, let’s give Chapman the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say, as his teammate Zack Britton suggested, that the Yankees’ closer is still finding his way after missing the start of the season with COVID, then seeing the Yankees take an unscheduled five-day siesta last week thanks to the Mets’ positive tests as well as bad weather. Tuesday night marked just his fourth appearance of the season.

That still wouldn’t excuse the terrifying pitch he threw to Brosseau, on top of the high-and-tight pitches he threw to the Rays’ first two batters of the ninth inning, Joey Wendle and Austin Meadows.

So yup, four games, 11 in a 162-game season, because of just how dangerous that pitch was and the damage it could have caused.

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2. A seven-game suspension for Kevin Cash for his inflammatory rhetoric. In a vacuum, in actual society, would Cash’s words merit a tougher penalty than Chapman’s actions? Of course not. But we are not operating in a vacuum. We are operating in a specific industry that has unions and precedents and everything that comes with those.

A manager, however, has no such protection. He is management. So he can receive the discipline worthy of his transgression without incorporating the context of player punishments and he has little choice but to accept it.

And this transgression calls for a significant penalty. You just can’t declare “I’ve got a whole damn stable of guys who throw 98 miles per hour. Period,” and expect to go on with your day. That’s a threat by any definition.

Add the reality that managers are and should be held to a higher standard than players, as exemplified by A.J. Hinch taking the fall (along with his boss Jeff Luhnow) for the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, and there you go. A week out of the dugout.

3. A one-game suspension for Aaron Boone. Simple enough: When the benches empty, the manager pays a price.

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