Skip to content

Will Quentin get a greater suspension because Greinke was injured? Doubtful.

Apr 12, 2013, 8:40 AM EDT

carlos quentin getty Getty Images

After last night’s Dodgers-Padres brawl, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said that Carlos Quentin “shouldn’t play a game until Greinke can pitch.” It’s a totally understandable sentiment. Quentin’s idiocy has caused the Dodgers to lose a key cog in their rotation for a couple months in all likelihood, and it would hardly seem fair if Quentin were to get a slap on the wrist.

Thing is: Quentin is likely to get a slap on the wrist.

Baseball’s on-field discipline system is one based on precedent. When someone does something wrong, the league tends to look at comparable previous behavior and discipline and tends to apply similar penalties to the matter at hand.  It sort of has to, because the union defends players who are suspended and, if there is a dispute, the matter is appealed to an arbitrator. Baseball has to defend its discipline and there aren’t many easier defenses than “this is how we always do it.” And no harder sells than “this S.O.B. deserves WAY more.”

Typically, a player is suspended five or six games for charging the mound. There isn’t some database of brawl suspensions that I’m privy to (if I’m wrong, please let me know), but a relatively recent example which springs to mind is Kevin Youkilis charging Rick Porcello in 2009.  It wasn’t a situation unlike last night’s: Youkilis led the league in being hit by pitches, was hit again and decided that enough was enough. He threw his helmet at Porcello and the benches cleared. Youkilis got a five-game suspension. Notably, he didn’t appeal. Oftentimes Major League Baseball will give six-game suspensions and then reduce them to five if the player appeals. You get the sense they feel five games is about right.

In 2010 Nyjer Morgan received an eight-game suspension for a brawl between the Nationals and Marlins. That on top of a seven-game suspension that was then pending for throwing a ball at a fan in the stands. At the time it was considered a surprisingly heavy suspension for merely inciting a brawl.

Also in 2010 — and maybe this is the most instructive — the Cardinals and Reds got into a bench-clearing brawl. Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto, pushed up against the backstop by the scrum — began indiscriminately kicking people. One of the people he kicked was Cardinals catcher Jason LaRue, giving him a concussion which ended his career. HIS ENTIRE CAREER.  Cueto was suspended for seven games for his “violent and aggressive actions,” per the Major League Baseball press release. As a starting pitcher, that was, in effect, a one-game suspension.

All of this is a relatively recent phenomenon, however, as brawls were treated with light discipline prior to the 1990s. A great example: a May 20, 1976 brawl between the Yankees and Red Sox. After a lot of bad blood and then a rough collision at the plate that knocked Carlton Fisk on his kiester, Yankees’ third basemen Graig Nettles body slammed Red Sox pitcher Bill Lee — who had been jawing at the Yankees in the press for years — and broke his collarbone.  Then he punched him in the eye for good measure.  Lee missed nearly two months of action.  Nettles was not suspended at all.

So, yes, looking at what happened last night — a $147 million pitcher two games into his new deal gets sidelined for a long, long time — it’s tempting to say that Quentin should get a much more significant suspension than we’d normally see.  But baseball has rarely operated that way. They tend to punish the act — the charging of the mound — not punish based on the consequences of the act. Otherwise Cueto would have been suspended much longer, yes?

My guess: Quentin gets six games. Maybe eight if Bud Selig woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.  But it’s inevitable, it seems, that Quentin will be playing games long, long before Greinke is even tentatively throwing off a mound on a practice field.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Run scores after Ronald Belisario throws a wild pitch on an intentional walk

    Jun 30, 2015, 12:23 AM EDT

    belisario

    We often take intentional walks for granted. Four tosses to the catcher. How hard can it be? Pretty hard, at least sometimes.

  2. Billy Hamilton steals four bases against the Twins, now up to 40 stolen bases on the year

    Jun 29, 2015, 11:45 PM EDT

    CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 29: Billy Hamilton #6 of the Cincinnati Reds steals second base in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at Great American Ball Park on June 29, 2015 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Hamilton now has 40 stolen bases on the year, which is more than 15 MLB teams. You are reading that correctly.

  3. Pablo Sandoval swung at a pitch tonight that was five feet off the ground

    Jun 29, 2015, 9:58 PM EDT

    sandoval 1

    You’ve probably heard this advice for hitting knuckleballers before: If it’s low, let it go. If it’s high, let it fly. Well, Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval took that to the extreme tonight against R.A. Dickey of the Blue Jays…

  4. Khris Davis to begin minor league rehab assignment Wednesday

    Jun 29, 2015, 9:00 PM EDT

    ATLANTA GA - MAY 22:  Khris Davis #18 of the Milwaukee Brewers stretches in the batter's box during the first inning of a baseball game on May 22, 2015 at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Butch Dill/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Brewers outfielder Khris Davis needed surgery about a month ago for a torn meniscus in his right knee.

  5. Mets, Dodgers not having “active discussions” about Jon Niese trade

    Jun 29, 2015, 8:09 PM EDT

    TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 17: Jon Niese #49 of the New York Mets makes his way from the bullpen to the dugout before the start of the MLB game against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 17, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Getty Images

    It was reported over the weekend that the Dodgers and Cubs were among the teams with interest in a trade for Mets left-hander Jon Niese.

  6. MRI comes back negative on Hanley Ramirez’s hand

    Jun 29, 2015, 7:28 PM EDT

    cD05ODdlNmNhY2MwMjRlZWQzNTJhM2ViYTQ1Y2VlY2YzOCZnPTcxZThlNjJlYTk2MzE4ZmFhMzc4MDliNDI4YjY5ZDUy Getty Images

    Ramirez has been cleared to swing a bat and Red Sox manager John Farrell is optimistic that he’ll be able to return during the team’s four-game series in Toronto this week.

  7. Tigers acquire infielder Alexi Casilla from Rays

    Jun 29, 2015, 6:14 PM EDT

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 27:  Alexi Casilla #10 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a photo on photo day at Charlotte Sports Park on February 27, 2015 in Port Charlotte, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Casilla has mostly played at the Triple-A level for the past two seasons.

  8. C.J. Cron hits his way back into the Angels’ plans

    Jun 29, 2015, 5:40 PM EDT

    C.J. Cron Getty Images

    Cron hit well at Triple-A, batting .323 with six homers and a 1.014 OPS.

  9. Wanna buy Felix Hernandez’s house?

    Jun 29, 2015, 5:30 PM EDT

    Felix Hernandez house

    It’ll only cost you a cool $3.8 million.

  10. The Orioles shut down Dylan Bundy

    Jun 29, 2015, 5:03 PM EDT

    Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

    More bad health news for a guy who has had his fair share of it in his brief career.

  11. Ruben Amaro will be making all of the Phillies’ moves for the rest of the season

    Jun 29, 2015, 4:35 PM EDT

    Ruben Amaro Getty Images

    As of now, Ruben Amaro is in control here, in the White House. Er, I mean in the Phillies’ front office.

  12. NL All-Star voting update: Carpenter vs. Frazier, Holliday vs. Aoki

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:50 PM EDT

    Matt Carpenter AP

    Six of the eight spots seem all but settled.

  13. AL All-Star voting update: now “only” five Royals in the starting lineup

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:40 PM EDT

    All-Star Logo

    By this time next week we may have an actually acceptable All-Star squad for the Junior Circuit.

  14. Oakland may have to choose between the A’s and the Raiders

    Jun 29, 2015, 3:30 PM EDT

    Seattle Mariners v Oakland Athletics Getty Images

    I know which one I’d choose, but then again I’m biased on the subject.

  15. Andy MacPhail introduced by the Phillies. And the first topic of conversation is sabermetrics

    Jun 29, 2015, 2:39 PM EDT

    phillies logo Getty Images

    He will become President, overseeing baseball and business operations, at the end of the season.

  16. The Rays were early supporters of the same-sex marriage case as well

    Jun 29, 2015, 12:30 PM EDT

    Rays logo

    It wasn’t just the Giants who signed on to the amicus brief.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. S. Matz (3936)
  2. B. Harper (3801)
  3. H. Ramirez (3503)
  4. J. Hamilton (3350)
  5. G. Stanton (3240)
  1. Y. Puig (2938)
  2. M. Moore (2699)
  3. A. Jones (2531)
  4. M. Holliday (2408)
  5. F. Freeman (2394)