In March, retired MLBbro Andrew Toles signed an agreement that allows him access to the team’s health insurance and mental health services.
Toles hasn’t played for the Dodgers since Sept. 30, 2018. But Los Angeles has signed him to a contract to provide him health services since 2019. The 30-year-old’s career was shortened when he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia after not reporting to spring training in 2019.
Toles was arrested in 2020 after being found sleeping behind a FedEx building at Key West International Airport. He was taken to a mental health facility after the incident.
The outfielder made his Major League debut in 2016 and came onto the scene blazing, hitting .314 with 16 RBI over 48 games. Toles didn’t stop his showcase when the lights got bright in the postseason as he hit .364 and helped the Dodgers reach the National League Championship Series.
But after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament after not being able to stop before hitting the wall in left field on May 9, 2017, against the Pirates, Toles’ career took an unfortunate turn. He missed the remainder of the ’17 season and only played in 17 games in 2018.
LA Dodgers Continue To Support Toles
The Dodgers have stood by their former player, as this is the fifth consecutive season the franchise has stepped up to provide assistance for Toles.
Former Dodgers teammate Tom Koehler, who sustained a shoulder injury that prevented him from pitching for the team after signing with Los Angeles in 2017, chimed in on Twitter to voice his appreciation for the team and their constant support for players’ mental health.
“I love this,” Koehler said. “Saw it first hand how they treated me when I could provide nothing for them. I am not surprised they are helping Andrew. It’s bigger [than] sports.”
Rachel Hill on MLBbro Andrew Toles who continues to battle through mental health issues. The talented outfielder, who burst onto the scene in the 2016 playoffs, is receiving help from the Dodgers via health insurance to make sure he gets the proper mental care. This is one of MLB’s more touching stories.
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.