Andrew Toles has not suited up in a Dodgers uniform since September of 2018, but fortunately for Toles, the Dodgers refuse to let a uniform validate his worth.
Despite not being an active member of the team, Toles still has a contract with the Dodgers. He’s on the restricted list, so he isn’t getting any pay or playing time. Instead, he’s getting something more important: access to the proper mental health and medical care.
Toles’ journey to the big leagues had been a roller coaster ride in itself. After his dismissal from the University of Tennessee baseball team in 2011, he played at Chipola College before getting drafted in the third round by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2012. As a member of the Rays’ organization, Toles produced on the field. In 2013 he led the Class-A Midwest League with a .326 batting average and 62 stolen bases.
The common phrase that teams used when releasing Toles was “personal matters.” Due to more personal matters, Toles’ promising baseball career was cut short once again in 2015 after being released by the Rays. However, it wasn’t long before the future started to look bright for Toles once again.
In September 2015, the Dodgers signed him to a minor league contract. He’d eventually get his call to the big leagues in July 2016.
He had some great moments with the Dodgers and proved that he definitely belongs in The Bigs.
Three years later, the Dodgers announced that Toles had been put on the restricted list. The reasoning they provided had been heard multiple times before. Toles had more personal matters, and he never suited up for the team again.
What many people didn’t know at the time, was that Toles’ personal matters were mental health episodes that had been occurring frequently. Throughout the course of his adult life, his family confirmed that he has been to 20 different mental health facilities.
After multiple run-ins with the law due to erratic behavior, doctors finally diagnosed him with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Toles had been under contract with the Dodgers upon being diagnosed, but despite the diagnosis, the Dodgers were not ready to let him go.
By keeping Toles under contract, he has access to the necessary resources and insurance to help him continue to fight his mental health obstacles. The last anyone heard, regarding Toles and his status with getting the proper help, he had already begun inpatient treatment.
At the end of the day, the Dodgers are doing something that a lot of employers traditionally have never done; they are acknowledging and prioritizing the mental health of one of their own.
Word about Toles’ behavior was nothing new for the organization, but the diagnoses themselves were. Toles does not necessarily have a track record of being consistent with treatment, but many people struggling with mental health issues share that same pattern. Rather than distance themselves from Toles, his mental health, and the legal battles that he had been involved in due to his behavior, there is an effort amongst the Dodgers’ organization to help him.