Padres’ Marcano banned for life for betting on baseball

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Banned for life. That is the punishment given to former San Diego Padres infielder Tucapita Marcano, Major League Baseball announced on June 4.

Originally signed as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2016, Marcano was reacquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates last November.

Marcano signed a 1-year contract with the Padres for $320,000. He was traded to the Pirates in 2021 as part of a package that returned infielder Adam Frazier. Marcano did not appear in a major league game with the Padres this season. He has a .480 OPS over 25 games lifetime with San Diego.

Marcano and Padres’ pitcher Jay Groome were 2 of 5 players punished by MLB on June 4.

None of the players involved placed bets on games they played. Additionally, all five players denied having inside knowledge of any games they had placed bets on. MLB used betting data to support the individuals’ claims, according to a news release. Groome was given a one-year suspension. The same punishment was issued to Oakland Athletics pitcher Michael Kelly, Philadelphia Phillies infielder José Rodriguez, and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Andrew Saalfrank.

Betting on baseball, banned for life

According to MLB, Marcano placed 387 bets over a span that includes Oct. 2022 and July-Nov. 2023.

Of these 387 bets, 231 were placed on MLB and international baseball games. All of these bets were placed through a legal sportsbook, according to MLB. He bet more than $150,000 on baseball, with more than half that amount placed on MLB games ($87,319). This averages to $387 per bet, according to MLB. Marcano bet on 25 Pirates games while assigned to the major league roster but did not appear in any of these games. Marcano suffered a season-ending knee injury in July 2023.

According to MLB, Marcano bet on the Pirates or their opponent to win, as well as parlays. He lost all of his parlays, according to MLB, and hit on only 4.3% of MLB-related bets. Marcano hit .217/.269/.320 lifetime in the batter’s box. Now banned for life, he won’t step into a batter’s box ever again.

Marcano had a .602 OPS in 124 games with Pittsburgh. He was assigned to Padres minor league affiliate Triple-A El Paso at the time the lifetime ban was announced.

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Suspended for one year

Like Marcano, Groome’s violations occurred while he played for a different team.

According to MLB, Groome placed 30 MLB-related bets, totaling $453.73, from July 2020-July 2021. He won $20.20 on those bets, according to MLB. Groome was assigned to Single-A Greenville when he placed these bets, the Boston Red Sox’ High-A affiliate. He is not banned for life. Groome did not bet on any games he played and didn’t place bets on his assigned team. Groome was assigned to Triple-A El Paso at the time his suspension was announced.

These punishments stem from a legal sports betting operator who alerted MLB of unauthorized betting activity by several of its players this past March. MLB obtained betting data from this entity and launched an investigation.

Sports betting became legal at the federal level in 2018. It is promoted by MLB and other professional sports leagues.

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