Steve GeltzMinor league relief pitcher Steve Geltz has been suspended for 50 games as a result of his second failed test for a drug of abuse.

Geltz, who made two appearances for the Angels in 2012, is in his second season with the Durham Bulls after being acquired for Dane De La Rosa in a trade. This season he has a 3.86 ERA in 11 appearances.

More importantly to the Rays as an organization, Geltz is the 15th player suspended for using drugs since the start of the 2012 season. That is five more than any other club.

And the list of names is a who’s who of top prospects in the organization.

In addition to Geltz, who appeared to have a legit shot at being called up at some point this season, Alex Colome is still suspended for using a horse steroid, and top prospects Taylor Guerrieri, Ryan Brett, Josh Sale, and Tim Beckham have all been suspended in previous seasons.

That list doesn’t even include Matt Bush who is in jail now because he nearly killed somebody while drunk.

Do the Rays have a drug problem? The numbers certainly suggest they do.

Colome was the first player on a 40-man roster to be suspended for steroids since 2012.

The suspensions for “drugs of abuse” (cocaine, marijuana, heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and other opiates) only come after a previous failed test. Each of those players failed multiple tests and were dumb enough to not stop after getting caught.

Yes, many of these are likely independent events*. But keep in mind that the Rays are one organization that is going to take a risk on players with character and off-the-field issues if the talent on the field has big league upside.

The only reason Guerrieri fell to the Rays at the end of the first round in the 2011 draft because there were questions about his character stemming from multiple incidents in high school.

Certainly the Rays don’t want players suspended and work to keep their players from doing drugs. But at some point you just have to realize that if the team is going to take chances other teams won’t, it will occasionally backfire and the organization will develop a certain unsavory reputation.

* The 2010 suspensions of several members of the Bowling Green Hot Rods may be a notable exception

 
 

4 Comments

  1. Rob says:

    I’ve been wondering aloud about this for a couple of weeks. I guess I don’t have any problem with the Rays taking chances on guys, but what they do with them after they mess up is important to me. Also, what can the Rays do to intervene before MLB (or MiLB) does? Are they allowed to do their own random drug testing?

  2. Geoff Peterson says:

    Let’s not forget the mother of all drug abusers: Josh Hamilton. Maybe if MLB hadn’t made such an easy path back for him and had let him ruin his career, these kids wouldn’t think it’s OK. Just have a lot of talent and keep apologizing like Josh did and all will be fine. Oh and repeatedly finding Jesus every time you fall off the wagon doesn’t hurt either.

  3. mp645 says:

    What about Lueke? Another problem child of the Rays. His pled down from a rape charge and served 42 days in jail in California. Read the report on the website about him and the case. The DNA was his.

  4. TOM says:

    The Rays are a crap organization.

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