Detroit Tigers: What to do with JaCoby Jones?
When Dave Dombrowski made his last few deals in Detroit, he swapped out Joakim Soria for a handful of prospects. One of them was JaCoby Jones, who originally signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 2015, he played both Single-A and Double-A, hitting 16 home runs, 80 RBIs, and batted .257. Most Tigers fans have not thought much about this young player, but now he has put himself in the spotlight and not for a good reason.
The 23-year old shortstop had been playing in the Arizona Fall League until just a few days ago when he tested positive for “Drugs of Abuse”. After he failed the test, he received a 50-game suspension, thus ending the rest of his fall season. Even though the Detroit Tigers organization will not reveal exactly what drugs were found in Jones’ body, the list of possibilities are not what anyone wants to see a professional athlete of any age using.
One of the “Drugs of Abuse” includes the chemicals found in marijuana; but, the rest are all hard drugs like cocaine, LSD, opiates, ecstasy, and PCP. This begs the question as to why this young man needed to use drugs while he working his way towards a Major League contract? To make matters worse, this is not his first offense.
J.D. Martinez autographs my son’s baseball at Tropicana Field. April 4, 2015. Photo by Kristen Bentley.
As a fan of the Detroit Tigers and a regular visitor to Comerica Park, I believe that the Tigers is a well-run organization that works hard to keep its players healthy and well. As the mother of a pre-teen Tigers fan, I see the way my son enjoys watching the players. He currently wears #28 on this back of his travel baseball jersey because of J.D. Martinez who works hard on and off the field. My son follows his favorite players on social media and knows what they are doing during the season and in the off-season. I know he is not the only kid who does this.
When a young player like JaCoby Jones has issues with drugs, the organization has a handful of options. Of course, they should support the Drug Prevention and Treatment Program established by the MLB and the MiLB. The organization should also respect the player’s privacy while providing opportunities for the player to get necessary therapy. However, if the abuse continues, the Tigers should terminate the young player’s contract. The Tigers organization does not need to affiliate itself with players who abuse addicting narcotics.
The Detroit Tigers are in the business of baseball and baseball needs to continue gathering fans of all ages. Young fans (and the more mature fans like me) do not need to be exposed to players who abuse drugs. Whether they want the exposure or not, professional athletes are watched closely and they need to show that they live healthy lifestyles.