The Real Reason Tucupita Marcano Is Banned For Life From The MLB

On June 3, 2024, The Wall Street Journal reported that San Diego Padres player Tucupita Marcano was being investigated by the MLB for allegedly placing bets on baseball games while he was on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Marcano was on the injured list for tearing his ACL at the time of the report. "We are aware of an active investigation by Major League Baseball regarding a matter that occurred when the player in question was a member of another organization and not affiliated with the San Diego Padres. We will not have any further comment until the investigative process has been completed," the team stated. According to the MLB rules which have been broken in the past, players who bet on a team that they're not affiliated with face a year's suspension, while those who bet on their current team get banned for life. The latter is exactly what happened to Marcano.

A day after the Wall Street Journal report, Marcano was permanently banned from Major League Baseball. According to CNN, the MLB investigation found that, during his time on the Pirates, Marcano placed 387 bets on baseball games that totaled over $150,000. His fate was sealed when the investigation determined that 25 of those bets were on games involving his own team. (The shortstop placed wagers on whether the Pirates would win or lose, and how many runs the team or its opponent would score per game.) However, Marcano was cleared of manipulating any of the games to ensure that he would win his bets. That didn't change the fact that he gambled on his own team, and the reward was not worth the risk.

Tucupita Marcano lost big time

Tucupita Marcano threw both his baseball career down the drain and a big chunk of money. As reported by the New York Post, the disgraced Major League Baseball player lost all of the bets he had placed on the Pittsburgh Pirates. "Ultimately, Marcano lost all of his parlays involving the Pirates and only won 4.3% of all of his MLB-related bets overall," the league stated. Marcano, who joined the Pirates in 2021, was still on the injured list during his 2023 bets and hadn't played any of the games that he had gambled on.

Marcano isn't the only one who put his career on the line for a bad wager. Michael Kelly, Jay Groome, José Rodriguez, and Andrew Saalfrank all placed bets as well, but not on their own teams, which resulted in one-year suspensions each, per CBS Sports. According to MLB, Kelly's total bets amounted to just under $100, with total winnings of $28.30. Groome suffered the most with $433.43 in losses, while Saalfrank was out $274. Rodriguez gambled over $724 on MLB teams, but it's unclear how much he won or lost.

Unfortunately, Marcano didn't just lose the money that he bet on the Pirates. He lost his hefty salary as well, and the 24-year-old now faces an uncertain future.

Tucupita Marcano lost out on his six-figure salary

Tucupita Marcano's baseball career looked pretty promising. According to Spotrac, the native Venezuelan earned $320,000 a year when he first started playing professionally for the Padres in 2016. He'd later see a increase when he got traded to the Pirates in 2021, and by the time he returned to the Padres for the 2024 season, Marcano was given a $746,000 contract. While he's far from being worth $200 million like Derek Jeter, or even the $25 million Hank Aaron had at the time of his death, he was on his way to becoming a MLB star.

"The work that I put in during the off-season and the work that I put in during Spring Training is paying off," Marcano told Pirates Prospects in April 2023. "I worked really hard on my body. I took a lot of swings, but I really worked hard on everything. There was no particular focus." He added. "It is good when I step in the batter's box, and I can see the fruits of that pay off."

Marcano has yet to issue a statement on his permanent ban from MLB as of this writing, but the Pirates were quick to weigh in shortly after the decision was made. "We are extremely disappointed of Tucupita's actions and are fully supportive of Major League Baseball's ruling," the team said via Sports Illustrated.