Tucupita Marcano Banned from MLB for Life for Betting on Baseball; Four Others Handed One-Year Suspension

The Padres signed Marcano in 2016 when he was 16 years old out of Venezuela and in 2021, he was traded to the Pirates.

Padres infielder Tucupita Marcano was officially banned from MLB for life on Tuesday for betting on Pirates games while on the team the previous season, commissioner Rob Manfred announced. Marcano was found to have placed a bet on the Pirates while he was listed as injured.

Pitchers Michael Kelly of the A's, Andrew Saalfrank of the Diamondbacks, Jay Groome of the Padres, and infielder Jose Rodriguez of the Phillies were handed a one-year suspension each for their involvement in betting on other teams. Marcano, 24, who according to Spotrac has made over $2.7 million in his baseball career, has played in 149 games and has a lifetime.217 average and.589 OPS.

Banned for Life

Tucupita Marcano
Tucupita Marcano X

Kelly, 31, pitched for the Phillies in 2022 and the Guardians in 2022 before joining the Athletics for the first time. After 28 outings this season, his ERA is 2.59.

The 26-year-old Saalfrank played with the Diamondbacks for a portion of the previous two seasons. On April 29, he gave up four runs in a half-inning before being sent to Triple-A Reno on May 1.

Tucupita Marcano
Tucupita Marcano X

In his 11 appearances, including Games 2, 3, and 4 of the World Series, the left-handed specialist gave up three runs (two earned) in 5 ⅔ innings, playing a major role in the team's unexpected World Series run last autumn.

According to Spotrac, Saalfrank earned $361,341 during his playing career until now. However, this past summer, he inked a $740,000 one-year contract that was fully guaranteed.

As for the two minor leaguers, Spotrac projects that neither Jay Groome nor Jose Rodriguez ever made it to the major leagues, and it appears that neither player's career earnings were disclosed.

End of the Road

The Padres signed Marcano in 2016 when he was 16 years old out of Venezuela and in 2021, he was traded to the Pirates. When he was jogging the bases in July 2023, he tore his ACL, ending his career as a major league player.

Michael Kelly
Michael Kelly X

Baseball, which has been marred by gambling scandals this season, has suffered yet another severe setback.

Ippei Mizuhara, the former interpreter for Shohei Ohtani, was accused in April of robbing the Dodgers star of almost $16 million in order to settle debts from wagers placed through an unauthorized bookmaker.

MLB is also investigating David Fletcher, Ohtani's former teammate with the Angels, for allegedly using the same illicit bookmaker to place bets.

Andrew Saalfrank
Andrew Saalfrank X

According to Rule 21.(d) in the MLB official handbook regarding misconduct: "Any player, umpire, or Club or League official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible."

They also set the foundation for lawful vs unlawful betting.

Jay Groome
Jay Groome X

Fletcher was living in California, a state without legal sports betting, and was a member of the Los Angeles Angels the previous season.

"Betting on any sport illegally is forbidden," the MLB handbook regarding misconduct continues. "But players are allowed to bet legally on every sport except for baseball. Betting on a baseball game involving teams other than the player's own team results in a one-year suspension, while betting on a game involving the player's own team results in a lifetime ban."

In April, the NBA permanently banned Raptors forward Jontay Porter for giving insider information to gamblers and tampering with his playing time to influence wagers.