Suspensions loom after Blue Jays-Rangers brawl ... but how stiff?

Last time I looked, nobody in Vegas had established betting lines on how long Rougned Odor will be missing in action for that Mike Tyson right cross he unloaded on Jose Bautista on Sunday. But if past precedent is any guide, eight games is the likely over/under on the suspension Odor can expect.

Sources say that Major League Baseball plans to hand down multiple suspensions either late Monday or early Tuesday for the wild, bench-clearing free-for-all Sunday in the final meeting of the season between the Texas Rangers and Toronto Blue Jays. But how stiff will those suspensions be? Here’s a look at what’s possible:


Over the past 10 seasons, 10 players have received lengthy suspensions for either inciting or escalating a bench-clearing brawl. More than half of those suspensions were for five games. But there is reason to believe Odor could be headed for a sentence north of five games.

By throwing a punch to Bautista’s face that is destined to go down as one of the signature video moments of 2016, the Texas second baseman is no longer in the category of your average player who started a brawl. He has likely elevated himself into one of those cases that is likely to inspire MLB to make a statement in whatever discipline it hands out.

So what’s the precedent? There have been three cases in the past decade in which players initiating particularly noteworthy brawls received suspensions of either eight or seven games.

In 2013, Carlos Quentin got eight games for charging the mound and breaking Zack Greinke's collarbone. In 2010, Nyjer Morgan also got an eight-game sentence for starting a major ruckus by going out of his way to collide with St. Louis catcher Bryan Anderson, then making a series of what MLB called “inappropriate” gestures and comments. And in 2008, Coco Crisp got seven games for charging the mound after getting drilled by James Shields, kicking off a lengthy, haymaker-filled fracas. So it would be surprising if Odor didn’t land in that group.

LATE-BREAKING ADDENDUM: Then again, as many of you have reached out to tell me via the miracle of Twitter, if eight games is the over/under, there’s a reason to take the over. And that reason can be summed up in two words: Michael Barrett.

Our study of the last 10 seasons began with the 2007 season. But back in 2006, Barrett got to his feet after A.J. Pierzynski had steamrolled him at home plate -- and landed a solid haymaker to the side of Pierzynski’s head, emptying the benches faster than you could say “Manny Pacquiao.” Barrett got 10 games for that punch. Yes, it’s a long time ago. But it’s about as close to what happened Sunday, on multiple levels, as you’ll find in this millennium.


It was Bush who jogged in from the Rangers’ bullpen for the second appearance of his big league career and fired the 96 mph fastball that drilled Bautista in the ribs Sunday. While the Texas reliever wasn’t ejected, both benches were immediately warned. And pitchers don’t have to be ejected in order to be suspended, if MLB decides after the fact that they were throwing at a hitter on purpose.

Over the past two seasons, five other relief pitchers have been suspended for what MLB ruled to be “intentionally” throwing at a hitter. All of those relievers were suspended for three games -- including Cincinnati’s Ross Ohlendorf earlier this month. It’s still possible Bush won’t get suspended at all. But if he does, three games has become the clear standard for this offense.


The Blue Jays’ manager already had been ejected from the game five innings earlier for arguing balls and strikes, but charged back onto the field when the Odor-Bautista donnybrook busted out. That’s normally worth a one-game suspension, according to past precedent. Plus, Gibbons could get a second game because he had a pitcher (Jesse Chavez) ejected for plunking Prince Fielder after warnings had been issued.


See those previous two items. Whether Bush gets suspended or not, Chavez is all but certain to get a three-game sentence for his purposeful HBP of Fielder.


Nobody on the Blue Jays’ roster got more animated during the melee than Donaldson, earning him an ejection for his contributions to the festivities. For the most part, if precedent holds, that’s normally worth a two-game suspension. But Jonny Gomes got five games for his part in the Coco Crisp brawl in 2008. So there are exceptions in special cases. And this is one to watch, because every game the defending MVP misses is a significant hit for the Blue Jays.


This is the case that’s almost impossible to predict. Could Bautista get suspended for his illegal slide into Odor? Possibly. You might recall Chase Utley got two games for breaking Ruben Tejada’s leg last October with a far more violent slide. But that suspension later was rescinded because the “Chase Utley Rule” couldn’t be applied to Utley himself -- because it hadn’t been implemented yet.

Now it has, though. So a couple of games for Bautista, for his slide alone, isn’t out of the question. But it’s theoretically possible that Bautista could receive a longer sentence for his role in the fight. He never did throw a punch. He just took one to the face. But he did throw his hands into the boxing position briefly, before Odor beat him to it.

Maybe that’s worth an extra game or two. But there’s pretty much no recent precedent that mirrors Bautista’s part in one of the most unforgettable base-brawls of the 21st century. So how much time (if any) will he wind up serving? Only MLB’s discipline czar, Joe Garagiola Jr., knows for sure.