The Cincinnati Reds need to think about putting a policy in place for their Dominican Republican players after two deaths last week.
It is time that the Cincinnati Reds had a serious discussion. A week ago, Kansas City Royals ace Yordano Ventura and former Cleveland Indians third baseman Andy Marte died in separate car accidents. Last off-season Saint Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Tavares passed away following his own car accident. This is more than a case of young men being young men.
That is three men in two years in the Dominican Republic and nobody else in MLB passing away from car accidents. In September, Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez died in a boating accident in Miami. That is somewhat different, but likewise tragic.
The Reds currently have eight Dominican Republicans either on their forty man roster or invited to spring training as non-roster invitees. That is about one sixth of their players. They have almost as many players from Venezuela and a handful more Americans, but the Cincinnati Reds have strong ties to the Dominican Republic.
The question is whether they should establish a rule limiting their players from driving in the off-season when It may have saved three lives in two years. It would also be interesting to see what the player’s association would say about additional off-season limitations. Something must be done.
The Cincinnati Reds have several high profile team members that need protection in their own right.
The Reds claimed outfielder Gabriel Guerrero, nephew of Vladimir Guerrero, off of waivers this off-season. Since then they were able to option him to Louisville. He is from the Dominican Republic. At 23 he still drives himself. He is likely to return to the island every off-season.
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Aristides Aquino’s his last name is not as well known across baseball. The Reds minor leaguer of the year is also from the Dominican Republic. In 2016 he hit 23 home runs with an OPS of .846. He is still a year or two away from the majors as a 22 year-old. His profile will grow once he comes to the big league camp this spring.
The Reds’ new primary bench player is Arismendy Alcantara. He is also from the Dominican Republic. Alcantara has been in majors on and off for a few years now. He might not return home as often. The risk is still there.
So how can the Reds protect their investment in these and other players? Perhaps the Reds should fly all of the Dominican families to the states. In the off-season the Reds could host them in a hotel somewhere. Whatever ends up happening, something must change. No one wants to see such young and vibrant men pass away before their time.