Last week, benches cleared between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals after Yoan López threw up and in at Nolan Arenado. The Mets have been hit by an MLB-leading 19 pitches this season and they have been vocal about their frustration. That frustration boiled over with López pitch to Arenado on Wednesday.
Here’s the entire ordeal:
“It’s one of those things, whether it’s intentional or not, it has to stop,” Starling Marte said Tuesday. “We’re tired of (getting hit) and we’re going to have to do something about it if it continues to happen because it is uncomfortable every time you go out there to get hit.”
As is often the cases with benches-clearing incidents, MLB handed down suspensions and fines. Arenado was suspended two games (it was reduced to one on appeal) and Cardinals reliever Génesis Cabrera, who hit JD Davis with a pitch a half-inning prior to López throwing at Arenado, was suspended one game. López and several others received undisclosed fines.
The maximum fine is $10,000 and most come in well under that. Regardless of the amount, López did not have to pay his fine. Teammates Francisco Lindor and Eduardo Escobar stepped up and paid it for him. From Newsday‘s Tim Healey:
Francisco Lindor and Eduardo Escobar picked up Yoan López’s tab this week, paying the fine he was handed by MLB after the Mets-Cardinals benches-clearing episode on Wednesday.
“We had to take care of it,” Lindor said. “That’s it. He didn’t do it intentionally. And he’s not making as much money as we are. It’s our duty.”
A pitcher answering back when the team’s hitters keep getting plunked is the quickest way to earn the clubhouse’s respect in baseball. Throwing up and in is generally frowned upon — the “right” way to do it is to hit the batter in the behind — but López did not hit Arenado, so no harm, no foul.
Lindor is a member of the MLBPA’s executive committee and is making $32 million this season, the first season of his 10-year, $341 million extension. Escobar is making $9.5 million in Year 1 of his two-year, $20 million contract, and his career earnings coming into the season were over $30 million. As a pre-arbitration player, López’s salary this year is close to the $700,000 minimum.
The 29-year-old López was making his Mets debut Wednesday. He spent parts of four seasons with the Diamondbacks before being traded to the Braves last May. He did not appear in a game with Atlanta last year. López bounced from the Braves to the Phillies to the Marlins to the Mets on waivers this past offseason.