Are PED penalties working?
There are many people who are wondering if the 50-game suspension for first time offenders of the PED rule is a stiff enough penalty. In my opinion, it is not working. We are still having players violate the rule every year. At the <ajor League level, and also in the Minor Leagues.
I will use the most recent high-profile incident to demonstrate why I believe the penalty must be stiffer. In the case of Melky Cabrera, he was making $6 million for one year to play with the Giants in 2012. He got off to a great start, then tested positive. He was given a 50-game suspension, at the end of which the Giants could have reactivated him and he would have been eligible for the Postseason. The Giants chose not to do that. In my opinion, that showed a tremendous amount of integrity on the part of the organization.
The Postseason is a reward for a team playing great baseball over the course of 162 games. I personally don’t know Melky, so I don’t have any ill will towards him at all. But what he did was force the Giants to go out and make a move that they probably wouldn’t have had to make to fill the hole he left in their lineup. He lost what would add up to roughly one-third of the $6 million he would have been paid. That is a lot of money — some of which he was able to get back, because it is my understanding that his teammates voted him a full World Series share of around a half-million dollars. That to me isn’t right.
Melky did the right thing by saying he would not take the batting title if he was eligible to win it. Then he signs a two-year deal with the Blue Jays for $16 million. He not only tested positive, but then he got a $2 million a year raise for it. That is sending the wrong message! You can cheat, and it may cost you some money, but you will more than make up for that loss with your next deal.
I believe that the only way we can truly rid the game of PEDs is to suspend the player for a full year. That will then give the opportunity to younger players who are not cheating to come up and maybe prove that they can play at the big league level. When guys start losing a full year because of their poor decisions, I believe we will see the end of it. But as long as a player knows he can cheat and only lose 50 games’ salary, and then get a raise the following year, I believe we will always have guys trying to beat the system.
Again, I tip my cap to the Giants as an organization for not activating Melky for the Postseason. That showed a ton of integrity and restraint on their part. And they were rewarded with another World Series championship.