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