02Following the 2011 season, the Rays traded John Jaso to the Seattle Mariners for Josh Lueke, a relief pitcher who had been accused of raping a woman in 2008 while playing in the minors leagues.

In some respects, it was a typical Rays transaction. The Rays had four potential big league catchers at the time after having just signed Jose Molina, and Lueke’s past meant he was cheaper than his talent would suggest.

While some of these moves work for the Rays, others do not, and this one has failed miserably.

Even if we ignore that Jaso has gone on to be a decent big league catcher with the Oakland A’s, Lueke’s past has become something that cannot be shoved under the rug in a way the Rays were almost certainly hoping (if you are not familiar with Lueke’s past, start here).

“Josh Lueke is a rapist,” is mumbled by fans at home while they are watching games on television.

“Josh Lueke is a rapist,” is announced on Twitter and Facebook anytime Lueke takes the mound or his name is mentioned.

I hear and see it a lot and have come to expect it. But apparently some Rays fans have become annoyed by the proclamations and have had enough, admonishing people who point out what many others were already thinking.

“Josh Lueke is a rapist,” has become too much for some Rays fans to hear over and over.

But at least one rape victim doesn’t care and actually wants people to keep saying “Josh Lueke is a rapist.”

In a story for Deadspin.com, Stacey May Fowles makes the argument for why Lueke deserves our scorn (please, go read the entire column).

Because of the nature of his crime and perhaps because of stories like MLB.com’s, which treated the “situation” as a bit of adversity for Lueke to overcome, some baseball fans have taken it upon themselves to remind the public—in the limited capacity they can—that regardless of how well Lueke may be pitching, he still victimized someone. In fact, there’s something buoying (and to be honest, culturally uncommon) about the fact that the collective still hasn’t forgotten the charges six years later, that each time he gets called out of the bullpen you can rely on a “Josh Lueke is a rapist” chorus rising up from stadiums, bars, and couches across baseball land. Links about his arrest litter my feed, and batters are cheered on against him. But during that Saturday night game, DRaysBay.com editor Erik Hahmann suggested that enough was enough. “It gets brought up every game by some asshole on twitter,” he tweeted. What ensued was a discussion, largely made up of male writers and fans, about the etiquette of reminding people that Lueke raped a woman…Apologies to those for whom these Josh Lueke tweets interfere with their enjoyment of a game, but the threat of sexual assault interferes with how a vast majority of women enjoy life. The collective vitriol over his ongoing employment by the Rays has everything to do with the fact that he is a high-profile example of the way rape works in everyday life. The act—the trauma—often leaves a life-long mark on the victim, influencing her ability to navigate the world safely and comfortably. In a very large percentage of cases, the perpetrator sees little or no consequence, and the victim’s suffering is exacerbated by his freedom and success. …My own fear may prevent me from calling out my attacker in a public forum, but at least I can remind the baseball community that we have failed victims every time Lueke comes up to pitch. The fact that others don’t see it as a meaningful action is entirely meaningless to me.

Some will argue that Lueke was never convicted of raping the woman. However, we can say he was never found not-guilty of rape and he did plead no contest to a charge of false imprisonment with violence.

As some of you know, in a former life I worked on hundreds of sexual assualt cases as a crime scene investigator. I know all too well how few of these cases go to trial and how even fewer result in convictions despite what the average person might consider overwhelming evidence of guilt.

That Lueke was convicted of anything is pretty damning in a case like this.

Earlier this week, a Rays fan said to me “I change the channel if that [piece of sh*t] comes in to pitch,” which brings us to the Rays.

We are entitled to our own personal opinions about Lueke and whether or not you think people should still announce “Josh Lueke is a rapist.” But Lueke is bad for business and he hasn’t been good enough on the field to justify all the negativity that comes with him off of it.

Lueke is just not a very good baseball player who may some day turn into a decent player. But the Rays have other options in triple-A who can post a 4.05 ERA (4.55 FIP) and 6.1 strikeouts per nine innings.

The problem at this point is that Lueke is out of minor league options, so he cannot be demoted. It is also unlikely that another team will be willing to give up anything in a trade, especially after the Deadspin.com article.

That means the Rays would have to cut Lueke and they hate giving up talent for nothing in return.

But at this point, Lueke is nothing more than an extra arm in the bullpen who is an evil man to some, an embarrassment to many, and who is a distraction to all.

In other words, he is just not worth it and it is time to move on.

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25 Comments

  1. AJNO says:

    Do whut?

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  2. Alex says:

    He can take Guyer with him

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  3. Dave L says:

    Some, like you Cork, justifiably, want Lueke to be gone because they never wanted him to be here.

    Your post could have been on ice for months or years, it has been applicable from the day he got here.

    I wont ague with that. I wish we never had him from day 1 as well.

    But lately some are here arguing his 2014 play justified his replacement

    Here is his 2014 game by game breakdown

    GM 1 - 1.0 IP down 4-0 scoreless 2 SO 1 BB ---Loss 2-4
    GM 2 - 1.0 IP down 0-2 2 hits 1 run allowed we never even scored Loss 0-3
    GM 3 - 0.2 IP down 0-8 2 hits 1 run allowed we got blown out Loss 1-8
    GM 4 - 0.2 IP down 0-2 2 hits 1 run allowed we never even scored Loss 0-3
    GM 5 - 1.0 IP down 4-8 Bell allows 2 runners no outs Lueke 2 runs on only homer allowed YTD blown out Loss 4-12
    GM 6 - 2.0 IP down 1-7 1 hit no runs allowed Loss 1-7
    GM 7 - 1.1 IP down 1-7 Gets Bell out of a jam and then pitches 3 groundouts next inning Loss 2-10
    GM 8 - 1.0 IP up 16-1 Pitches clean 1-2-3 inning blowout Win 16-0

    Next up - First 3 leveraged game situations- first 2 McGee Peralta Balfour spent

    GM 9 - 0.1 IP tied 1-1 extra innings Bases loaded comes in gives up 2 singles 3 CJ Riefen runs score then gets final out
    GM 10 - 2.0 IP tied 4-4 - pitches scoreless 12th inning then loses the 13th on 4 hits 2 runs Loss 4-6
    GM 11 - 1.0 IP down 6-9 Hits a guy walks a guy but hits, no runs Loss 7-9

    So Lueke is the problem?

    Seriously.

    He has more innings mostly garbage time logged than any Rays reliever in 2014

    He participated in many loses, however he contributed to exactly 2 in extra innings where he in the first inherited bases loaded and second pitched a previous scoreless inning before surrendering the winning runs in the 13th.

    In the other loses the runs he allowed had no bearing on the outcome of the game.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      I would agree that Lueke is about reason #36 on the list of why the Rays are struggling at this point. But while Lueke is not to blame, he is also not helping and is potentially take a spot from somebody who could. As you point out, he is a garbage-time pitcher. I guess every team needs one or two of those guys. But at the same time, you would also like to have a guy that you have confidence in on those rare occasions they are needed. If Lueke isn't that guy, then what's the point of having him here at all?

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  4. Skateman says:

    Josh Lueke is a fairly poor MLB reliever. The Rays should let him go. But it's a stretch to call him a "rapist" over and over again for the rest of his life. This is just piling on. The girl was blind drunk, and so was he, apparently. She has no recollection of giving consent. But she was making out with various people in the bar and went home with him. That doesn't mean she deserved to be forced into sex. But it also means that she may have had drunk sex, not remembered, then suffered regret. This happens ALL THE TIME. There is proof that they had sex but not proof of rape. And since Lueke was not convicted of rape, it's unfair to label him a rapist shitty pitcher or not. He never should have plea bargained the false imprisonment charge. But people take a deal to lesser charges to end legal nightmares (without thinking of the long-term consequences) all the time, particularly when they're young and dumb. Now flame away...

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      According to the law in most (all?) states, if the victim was too drunk, she was too drunk to consent. It's rape even if they don't say "no." If a person could not remember, that would seem to be a good indication that they were too drunk to consent. Proving it is something else.

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      • Skateman says:

        As you perhaps accidentally wrote, "they" were too drunk to consent. Also, "proving it is something else." So let's label the guy a "rapist" for the rest of his life, right? I've had drunk sex. So has pretty much everyone in the world. It is not inconceivable that any of us could be put in the exact same situation as Lueke. Maybe Lueke really did take advantage of this girl and he wasn't that drunk. But it is also quite possible that it was normal drunk sex and the girl regretted it the next day. Again, without proof people who follow Lueke around calling him a rapist for the rest of his life are just piling on. If this exact same situation happened to your brother or son, I bet your stance would be quite different.

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        • kellyann says:

          This was not typical consensual "drunk sex". After the victim went to the hospital and reported the crime, Lueke was questioned about the incident...he denied having sex at all with the girl. Now, think about it, if you had a night of drunk sex and it was consensual, you wouldn't deny it because you wouldn't have anything to hide. He had plenty to hide and there's also the fact that the victim's story has stayed consistent whereas Lueke's has not. It's very sad and disappointing to see that commenters on this website still do not understand or maybe they just do not have the maturity to understand the seriousness of rape and how it forever changes and can potentially ruin a victim's life.

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          • Skateman says:

            No one denies that rape is a terrible crime and forever changes the victim's life. This is a straw man argument - The issue is that in this particular case we don't know if rape occurred. If I had to bet I would say that Lueke probably was guilty. But I don't "know" this for a fact, and neither do you. So I'm not going to get on my holier than thou horse and start throwing the word rapist around. Shitty pitcher, yes. Rapist, no.

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      • Skateman says:

        I now see "they" in your post refers to the singular, the victim. My other comments still stand.

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    • ken says:

      Very intelligent post skateman. Rape is a particularly heinous crime and has a polarizing effect on the community and the nation. We'll never know the truth behind his crime, but unfortunately for all, we'll suffer this debate as long as he's a Ray. If he was pitching "lights out" right now, would fans embrace him as a good rapist pitcher" and ring cowbells when he entered a game? I don't know. I tend to agree with Cork here. All this fuss isn't worth one AAAA pitcher. Laws of probability assure it unlikely he'll ever lead us to the promised land.

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    • kellyann says:

      Most crimes, even if there is a conviction, are difficult to be 100% sure that the crime was committed. Unless the criminal admits to it or it's video taped how are you going to know that it definitely, actually occurred? Lueke repeatedly lied to the police and he's been very inconsistent with his story of what happened that night. The victim has always remained consistent in her story. This leads us to believe that the rape occurred almost definitely. The reason Lueke didn't go on trial for rape is because the victim did not want to go through the tortures of a rape trial. She already suffered enough and to have the defense attack her on the stand like you were doing in your post (she was making out with various people, she went home with him), would be too much for her. This is why many victims of rape never report it or the crime never gets to trial because it's still the victim being dragged through the mud. Another thing, women don't falsely accuse rape because they regret having sex with someone...they don't go immediately to the hospital and the police if they are feeling a little bit of remorse on a bad decision...this just doesn't happen. You really need to get educated and understand the facts of the case. I had thought that most men had learned to not blame the victim but I see that sexism is still alive and well.

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      • Skateman says:

        If Josh Lueke had been convicted of rape, I would say you could call him a rapist. But he wasn't convicted. In America, people are presumed innocent until proven guilty in court (not 100% certain, but good enough). Lueke was not. You are not judge, jury, and executioner. We have courts of law for that.

        "Another thing, women don’t falsely accuse rape because they regret having sex with someone."

        Wrong. (http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2009/10/how_often_do_women_falsely_cry_rape.single.html)

        People do all kinds of crazy shit. Rape is a terrible crime that affects the victim for the rest of their life. But falsely accusing someone of rape is, perhaps, an equally devastating crime with potentially equal negative life-long consequences. I'm not saying that's what happened here. I suspect Lueke is probably guilty. But the information we have isn't enough to label the guy a rapist.

        As a hypothetical exercise let's turn the case on its head. Let's say Lueke was drunk and making out with multiple people at a bar. Let's say he went home with a girl who was also drunk. Let's say he has no memory of what happened that night other than puking next to the toilet and vaguely remembering someone masturbating (he thinks, because let's not forget he was extremely drunk) next to him. Let's say he wakes up the next morning and notices signs he had sex. He has no memory of this act, and there are no signs of forced trauma, but waking up in the morning he is sure that he did not want to have sex with the girl in question and feels he was raped. Maybe he was, but do you seriously think this would hold up in court? Would you have the same sympathy for the alleged victim? Would you label the girl a rapist for the rest of her life?

        Pointing out the context of the case and why it is unclear what happened is not attacking the victim. There is reasonable doubt that this was nothing more than two extremely drunk people having sex with each other and not remembering what happened. Had Lueke grabbed her off the street, forced her into his car, and brought her home at 2 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, we could confidently say rape occurred. Context is important. But that just isn't the case here, and pointing that out isn't attacking the victim, as you say. The circumstances matter when we're discussing very, very serious charges with life altering consequences for not just the alleged victim but also the defendant.

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        • kellyann says:

          I should have said it's unlikely that a woman would falsely accuse a man of rape. Rape cases are different then the other violent crimes because the victim is victimized again on the stand. So to say he is presumed innocent until proven guilty doesn't fly with this case because he never had a trial...the victim didn't want to go through with it (which happens often in rape cases) but that doesn't make Lueke innocent and I'm not going to believe this guy isn't a rapist because he was never convicted.

          It would be difficult for your hypothetical exercise to work just from the physicality of it but yes, I'd have sympathy for him. I don't know if I could label the girl a rapist due to the nature of the act.

          The context is not important in this case because it doesn't matter if the victim was grabbed off the street or went drinking with Lueke and back to his apartment. She never gave consent to have sex with him and that's what's important. She was passed out and unable to give consent and that makes it rape.

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          • Skateman says:

            We're probably never going to see eye to eye on this, but, oh well, I've got a few more minutes to kill.

            You said, "the victim didn’t want to go through with it (which happens often in rape cases) but that doesn’t make Lueke innocent and I’m not going to believe this guy isn’t a rapist because he was never convicted."

            My response is that the case was never going to trial because there simply wasn't enough evidence to charge Lueke with rape. The alleged victim has practically no memory of the evening, both she and Lueke were drunk, and there was no evidence of forced trauma. Cases like this almost never result in a rape conviction or even a trial because there simply isn't enough evidence to determine whether this was a case of someone being taken advantage of or two intoxicated people having sex.

            "I don’t know if I could label the girl a rapist due to the nature of the act."

            This seems like a double standard.

            Neither we nor the victim know if consent was given, which is the problem. Now you can say that an intoxicated person can't give consent, but if that were true, every single time two drunk people leave a bar and have sex two rapes occur, as neither the man nor the woman are capable of consenting. That's ridiculous, and that is the context of this case and why the context matters. This is a different scenario, with much more reasonable doubt, than if Lueke had forcibly grabbed her off the street in the middle of the day and assaulted her. In that case we can be quite certain a rape occurred. In this case we cannot. Accordingly, while Lueke's a crappy pitcher, likely a moron, and probably a rapist, I'm not going to pile on and yell "rapist" every time he takes the mound because no one, including the alleged victim and possibly Lueke himself, knows exactly what happened here.

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        • kellyann says:

          Ok, I'm going to give this one more shot. Lueke never went to trial because the victim did not want to go through the rigors of a rape trial. If there was not enough evidence to convict him then the charges would have been dropped instead the victim allowed a plea bargain which was "false imprisonment with violence". He did do some jail time for this.

          When I wrote, "I don't know if I could label the girl a rapist due to the nature of the act". I meant I believe it would be difficult for a woman to rape a man because of the fact of his, uh..."equipment" has to be in a certain way in order to do the deed. Maybe this could happen if he has a nervous response and she is able to sexually assault him. Then, yes, of course, she should be charged with rape.

          I didn't say an intoxicated person couldn't give consent...I said a PASSED OUT person can not give consent. It is rape if you have sex with some one who is passed out and that person has not said, "sure I don't mind if you bone me while I'm lying here lifeless".

          You keep saying we don't know what happened and who is speaking the truth but actually we do. Lueke is a proven liar whereas, the victim has repeatedly remained consistent in recalling events of that night. That tells us who is telling the truth. If you're telling the truth you don't have to worry about keeping all those lies straight...Lueke failed miserably at it.

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          • Skateman says:

            My point is that cases like this - both participants highly intoxicated with no evidence of forced trauma - virtually never go to trial. If a rape charge was brought against Lueke and he had a reasonably competent attorney, the charges would have eventually been dropped based on insufficient evidence.

            100% agree that a passed out person can't give consent. The problem is that people black out without passing out. In other words, we don't know if she actually passed out and neither does she. And there's no way to prove it one way or the other.

            I don't doubt the victim has been consistent with her story. She doesn't have a story because she can't remember what happened. It definitely looks bad that Lueke first said they didn't have sex and then said it was consensual. But let's not forget he was a moronic 22 year old at the time who was scared he was being charged with rape. The odds suggest he lied to cover up a crime. But it's also not inconceivable he didn't commit a crime and lied because he, moronically, thought it would quickly make his legal troubles go away. Not likely, but possible.

            Look, I agree with you, Lueke is probably guilty here. But to me this is a slippery slope where we start putting a Scarlett Letter on people who haven't actually been convicted of a crime. And as much as I suspect his guilt, there's a sort of self-righteous mob mentality going on with Lueke that I find repugnant.

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  5. Gus says:

    To be clear, I think Lueke should go because of his play. As much as he was a shady character coming in, he is a free man and if he pitched great, I suspect most of us would be more tolerant. But it was a bad move by an organization that is so delusional about catching, they've effectively given away Jaso and Lobaton (maybe) for nothing, and have Jose Molina back there.

    But before he goes, Heath Bell should go. Both have been terrible, but I tend to agree with Dave L. that while Lueke isn't good, he isn't the worst pitcher. That honor goes to Bell, who can't get anybody out. And then to Bedard. Then Lueke.

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    • Dave L says:

      If you look at Bell game by game out of 8 appearences before last nights self immolation giving up his only HR of 2014 he had 4 clean 1 inning games. Plus 3 not so good outings in lost cause blowouts which we were already down by 4 plus runs. There was only one other game you could lay at his feet.

      I think the jury is still out. Bell and Lueke will not be our 2 most used relievers all year.

      Bedard still has hope as a situational LH relief arm in Sept expanded rosters. That is why you don't DFA him just yet.

      Can we send him down to Durham again since he started there? I forgot??? Otherwise he's doomed and dead roster weight sooner or later regardless and forget the pen job.

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      • ken says:

        We can't as we officially released then re-signed him. That plus he's a 6+ year player with no options left from earlier career moves. I think this right and would gladly stand corrected.

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  6. Lane Meyer says:

    I can't even begin to claim I am an expert on his case so calling him a rapist is as futile as following around Jameis Winston for the rest of his career and doing the same. The cases seem similar yet one was charged and agreed to a plea and one wasn't even investigated properly. As a pitcher, Lueke seems a poor fit for the Rays and needs to go. The Rays need to bring up one of the starters from AAA and convert him to a long reliever. The way the starters are pitching lately, he'll get plenty of innings. Also where the hell is Jeff Niemann? I know he wasn't resigned but as far as I know is still available. Sign him to a minor league deal, send him to AA and see if he can help us this year at some point.

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