Jenrry Mejia carved his own ignominious place in baseball history Tuesday, when the Mets reliever became the first player under the joint drug agreement to be hit with a steroids suspension twice in the same season.
Mejia's second ban came only three weeks after returning from his first PED sanction, an 80-game suspension that began in April. The pitcher's second offense carries a 162-game suspension, tying Alex Rodriguez for the longest sanction handed out under baseball's most recent joint drug agreement.
Mejia tested positive for Stanozolol and Boldenone. He is the first player to be handed a 162-game suspension for a second violation since the joint drug agreement was updated last year with tougher sanctions.
Guillermo Mota received a 100-game suspension for a second PED violation in 2012 while playing for the Giants. His previous ban was handed down in 2006, when he was a free agent following a season with the Mets.
A third offense would lead to a lifetime ban for Mejia, whose rapid ascent as the Mets' closer last season has been matched by his hasty descent.
"Not surprisingly, there's a tremendous amount of disappointment," said a visibly disturbed general manager Sandy Alderson. "I think to some extent anger, to some extent amazement, that this could happen so soon after a previous suspension was completed. And some sadness, for the sense that this is having a tremendously adverse affect on a very promising major- league career."
Continued Alderson: "And that's a shame. But the rules are the rules. We support the rules. And this is the consequence of making bad choices."
Terry Collins said he was "extremely, extremely disappointed" in Mejia's suspension.
"It's a choice," Michael Cuddyer said. "I don't buy into the 'mistake' thing. It's a choice."
The lengthy punishment casts serious doubt about the future in the organization for Mejia, who had not allowed a run in his seven appearances, all of which were made after his reinstatement July 7.
The righthander is not a free agent until 2019. But the Mets could balk at Mejia's price tag in arbitration -- he was due to make $2.6 million before his suspensions, without pay. He won't be eligible to pitch for the Mets until next July -- assuming that the club doesn't sever ties by non-tendering him first.
"I wouldn't want to be that hasty today," Alderson said. "If you just think about the total suspension, when he might be able to return, the commitment that would require from us, it's something that we're going to have to think about."
Mejia was not available for comment and his agents did not issue a statement. The players' association also did not issue a statement.
Still, Alderson did not hide his disappointment with the pitcher, especially with regard to his future with the team.
"Well, I think trust plays a big part," Alderson said. "It's not just a matter of trust, it's a matter of reliability. You know, for every player on our roster, there's another player who's not on our roster. So, dependability, consistency, those are all important considerations."
Mejia's second suspension leaves the Mets in a lurch, forced again to cope with his absence as they bid for their first playoff appearance since 2006.
The Mets received word from baseball on Monday that a second ban could be possible. At that point, Alderson said that the Mets had already been putting the finishing touches on their trade with the A's for Tyler Clippard. Alderson called the timing of the trade "coincidental," with the Mets already in the market for Clippard's playoff experience."I was totally shocked, incredulous, whatever the right term is, that this could happen so swiftly on the heels of a past suspension," said Alderson, who does not expect another move for a reliever. "I couldn't understand it."
Alderson could not disclose when Mejia tested positive. Nor could he speak to Mejia's motivation, a subject that the pitcher himself has glossed over.