The Kansas City Royals are seriously considering signing a pitcher who pleaded guilty to child molestation. Royals general manager Dayton Moore confirmed that the team’s interest in Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich was real, saying that Heimlich, “has earned an opportunity to play professional baseball.”
Heimlich went un-drafted the past two seasons after an article from The Oregonian revealed he pleaded guilty to molesting his six-year-old niece when he was 15. In the weeks following the 2018 draft, there have been rumors that the Royals were considering signing Heimlich.
Moore confirmed those rumors, and actively advocated for the team to sign Heimlich in a televised interview with Fox Sports Kansas City. In that interview, which Rustin Dodd transcribed in his article on The Athletic, Moore frames it as courageous for a team to sign someone who pleaded guilty to child molestation, ignores Heimlich’s guilty plea by calling it an accusation, makes false claims about Heimlich’s family still being close and indicates that he believes being exposed to porn might have played a role in Heimlich molesting his niece.
Moore also says the Royals are an organization that believes in giving players second chances. He mentions former Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson as a player who the Royals did not give up on. Dyson was suspended 50 games for a positive PED test in 2009. By making that comparison, Moore appears to equate testing positive for PEDs to a child molestation conviction.
In the weeks leading up to the draft, Heimlich went on the offensive, saying he never molested his niece and that he only pleaded guilty so his family could move forward. The girl’s mother does not believe that. She told Sports Illustrated, “There’s just no doubt in my mind that he did what she said he did.”
Heimlich is set to start Game 1 of the College World Series for Oregon State on Tuesday.
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