Major League Baseball announces sports betting violation suspensions

Major League Baseball placed Padres infielder/flyer Tucupita Marcano on the permanent ineligibility list Tuesday for violating the league’s sports betting rules and policies. Four other players were suspended for one year for other gambling-related violations.

Athletics right-handed pitcher Michael Kelly received a one-year suspension, as did minor leaguers Jay Groome (Padres left-handed pitcher), José Rodríguez (Phillies infielder) and Andrew Saalfrank (left-handed backs pitcher). D). All five players were sanctioned for unrelated violations of the league’s gaming policy following investigations by MLB’s Department of Investigation.

Under Major League Rule 21, “Any player, umpire, official or employee of a club or league, who bets any amount whatsoever on a baseball game in which the bettor has a duty to play, shall be declared definitely ineligible. » The rule also states that bets on any baseball game “for which the bettor has no obligation to perform will be declared ineligible for one year.”

None of the five players played in a game they bet on, the league said, and all denied having inside information regarding the betting.

According to MLB, the betting data does not suggest that the results of the games these players bet on were compromised, influenced or manipulated in any way.

“Strict enforcement of Major League Baseball’s rules and policies governing the conduct of gambling is an essential part of upholding our most important priority: protecting the integrity of our games for fans,” the statement said. Commissioner Rob Manfred. “The long-standing ban on betting on Major League Baseball games by players in the sport has been a fundamental principle for more than a century. We have made it clear that with the privilege of playing baseball comes the responsibility to refrain from certain types of behavior that are legal for other people.

“Since the Supreme Court decision opened the door to legalizing sports betting, we have worked with licensed sports betting operators and other third parties to put ourselves in a better position from an integrity perspective thanks to the transparency that a regulated sports betting system can provide. MLB will continue to invest heavily in integrity monitoring, educational programs and outreach initiatives in an effort to ensure strict compliance with this fundamental rule of our game.”

None of the players use their discipline.

The league’s investigations included interviews, a thorough review of available information on each matter and significant cooperation from MLB’s legal sports betting partners.

In March 2024, a legal sports betting operator notified MLB that it had identified past baseball betting activity from accounts linked to several major and minor league players. MLB obtained data from this operator and other sportsbooks, including authentication data for bets.

Betting data shows that between 2022 and 2023, Marcano placed 387 baseball bets, including 231 MLB-related bets, through a legal sports betting site. Marcano’s MLB bets were usually parlays. Some included multiple MLB-related steps. Others included both MLB-related and non-MLB branches.

In total, Marcano bet more than $150,000 on baseball, including $87,319 on MLB-related bets. Of the MLB bets placed by Marcano during this period, 25 of them included Pirates games while he was a member of the Pittsburgh Major League club. Marcano, however, did not appear in any of the games he bet on, as he was on the injured list after suffering a season-ending knee injury last July 24.

Marcano played parts of three major league seasons (2021-23) with the Padres and Pirates, posting a .217/.269/.320 slash line with five home runs. He hasn’t appeared in an MLB game since suffering an ACL injury last July. He was claimed off waivers by the Padres last November.

The Pirates released the following statement following MLB’s announcement: “We are extremely disappointed in Tucupita’s actions and fully support Major League Baseball’s decision. The Pirates, along with MLB, the Players Association and each club, strive to ensure that everyone involved in our game is aware of the rules and policies relating to gambling. While the extensive investigation has revealed no evidence that games were compromised, influenced, or manipulated in any way in this matter, protecting the integrity of our game is paramount. »

Kelly was discovered to have placed 10 bets on nine Major League games between October 5 and 17, 2021, while assigned to the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate in Sugar Land, Texas. Kelly’s bets included bets on the outcome, the over/under on the number of runs scored and on an individual pitcher’s strikeout total – three of those games involving the Astros’ major league club.

Kelly bet a total of $99.22 on the MLB games, winning five of those bets for a net win of $28.30. He did not appear in any of the games he bet on and he made no bets involving his assigned team.

Following MLB’s announcement of Kelly’s suspension, the A’s released the following statement: “The A’s were disappointed to learn of the matter involving Michael Kelly. While we cannot comment on the specifics, this violation occurred before Michael joined the A’s organization, and we fully support MLB’s sports betting policy and the need to comply with all provisions of the rule 21. We will continue to educate all members of our organization regarding their obligations under the policy.

Groome was found to have placed 32 MLB-related bets in 2020-21, including 24 involving the Red Sox Major League club while assigned to the organization’s High-A affiliate in Greenville, Caroline from the south. All of these 24 bets were on the final outcome of the games.

In total, Groome wagered $453.74 on 30 bets related to MLB games, suffering a net loss of $433.54 on those bets. Groome did not appear in any of the games he bet on and he made no bets involving his assigned team.

Rodríguez placed 31 baseball bets in 2021-22, including 28 MLB-related bets and three on college baseball games, while under a minor league contract with the White Sox.

His MLB bets included seven involving the White Sox major league team while he was assigned to the club’s Double-A affiliate in Birmingham, Alabama. Two club-related bets involved the results, while the others were over/under for points scored in the game.

Rodríguez bet a total of $749.09 on baseball, including $724.09 on MLB-related bets. Rodríguez did not appear in any of the matches he bet on and he made no bets involving his assigned team.

Betting data shows that between 2021 and 2022, Saalfrank placed 29 baseball bets, including 28 MLB-related bets and one college baseball bet. He was under a minor league contract with the D-backs at the time, placing all of his MLB-related bets – including four involving the D-backs – while he was on the Single-affiliate’s injured list. A from Arizona.

Saalfrank bet a total of $445.87 on baseball, including $444.07 on MLB-related bets, taking a net loss of $272.64 on those MLB bets. Saalfrank did not appear in any of the games he bet on and he made no bets involving his assigned team.

MLB requires its staff to participate in sports betting educational programs annually that emphasize policies applicable to the respective groups. Each spring training, all major and minor league players must attend in-person sessions that outline the requirements of the Major League Rule 21 and MLB Sports Betting Policy and other best practices.

MLB hosts a wide range of other English and Spanish awareness programs that reach players as they begin their professional baseball careers, as they approach the major leagues, and as each new season begins. MLB’s efforts also include in-person sessions for minor league players and other baseball employees to prevent gambling-related harm in their professional and personal lives.

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