Phillies minor leaguer José Rodríguez suspended for violating MLB sports betting policy

Jose Rodríguez Reading Phils
Jose Rodriguez standing at third during the Reading Fightin Phils’ opener. Photo by Alec Kostival

Major League Baseball announced suspensions for five players for violating the league’s sports betting policy. One of them was José Rodríguez, an infielder on the Phillies‘ 40-man roster currently playing at Double-A Reading.

Phillies infielder suspended

Rodriguez, along with three others, have been declared ineligible for one year. The press release from MLB states that during parts of 2021 and 2022 while with the Chicago White Sox organization, he placed 28 wagers involving MLB games. Seven of them involved the major-league club of the White Sox. At the time, Rodríguez was assigned to their Double-A affiliate – the Birmingham Barons. Rodríguez reportedly placed a total of $724.09 on MLB-related bets, but none of those bets were on games he was a participant of.

Other players mentioned in the league’s press release who received one-year suspensions were Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly, and two other minor leaguers – pitchers Jay Groome from the San Diego Padres organization and Andrew Saalfrank of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. Each of those four players wagered under $1,000.

The biggest part of the announcement was the lifetime ban of San Diego Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano. MLB said Marcano placed 387 baseball bets totaling more than $150,000 in October 2022 and from last July through November with a legal sportsbook. He became the first active player in a century banned for life because of gambling, and the first major leaguer to receive such a penalty since MLB’s hits-leader and former Phillies infielder, Pete Rose back in 1989.

PHILADELPHIA, PA – SEPTEMBER 19: Philadelphia Phillies batting helmets sit on the wall during the MLB game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies on September 19, 2018, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

The strict enforcement of Major League Baseball’s rules and policies governing gambling conduct is a critical component of upholding our most important priority: protecting the integrity of our games for the fans,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “The longstanding prohibition against betting on Major League Baseball games by those in the sport has been a bedrock principle for over a century. We have been clear that the privilege of playing in baseball comes with a responsibility to refrain from engaging in certain types of behavior that are legal for other people.

The Phillies acquired Rodríguez via a trade on April 5, 2024 in exchange for cash considerations after White Sox designated him for assignment the day prior. He was placed him on their 40-man roster and assigned him to Reading, where he would go on to slash .265/.329/.422 with four home runs, 18 RBIs, and 12 stolen bases.

With Rodríguez ineligible, the Phillies will now have an open spot on their 40-man roster, similar to when a player is moved to the 60-day injured list.

Photo by Alec Kostival