MLB Likely to Suspend Players Linked to Biogenesis on Monday

Posted: 08/04/2013 by levcohen in Baseball

It seems like the MLB is finally going to drop their bombshell tomorrow by suspending as many as eight first time offenders for 50 games. This makes sense, as Monday is the last time that a 50 game suspension would fit entirely in the 2013 regular season without extending into next season or the playoffs. Notable players who are likely to be suspending include Francisco Cervelli, Johnny Peralta, Nelson Cruz, and Everth Cabrera. It’s about time that this happens, as Biogenesis has been all that has been talked about in Major League Baseball for weeks now. It will be great for people to finally start focusing on the actual games again with all of the suspensions already handed out.

Unfortunately, though, it is likely that the Biogenesis and PED discussion will continue on for a few reasons. The first is Alex Rodriguez, who will probably fight his suspension, which will be lengthier than the others (it is rumored to run until the end of 2014). Most of the discussion has been about A-Rod anyway, and that likely won’t stop tomorrow. It’ll keep on running until Rodriguez wins, drops, or loses (most likely) his appeal.

The second, and perhaps bigger, reason that the PED discussion won’t end with tomorrow’s suspensions is because nobody knows whether these suspensions will actually deter players from taking PEDs. I’m skeptical that they will, because the reward far outweighs the risk. Put yourself in a fringe MLB player’s shoes. The reward is an eight figure contract, and the risk is a 50 game suspension. What would you do if you were the player?

Now, there are some possible ways to try to end PED use once and for all. The first is by just upping the length of suspensions. How about this: First suspension is a year, and second is banned for life. That’s a lot stricter than 50-100, and I think most players would go for it (most players are vocally in favor of harsher punishments, a stark contrast from 10 years ago). Another way to end PED use would be to terminate the contracts of suspended players. Even after being busted for PEDs, Ryan Braun and Rodriguez are still going to get the rest of the money on their long contracts. That isn’t fair to their teams, their fans, or baseball as a whole. A third way to end PED use would be to somehow penalize the teams for signing these players. While that option doesn’t seem fair, it will make the teams much more aware of past drug use in players. Right now, there is almost no risk for the teams. As long as their players produce, they are happy. But if the MLB were to penalize teams with players suspended (either by heavily fining the team or by taking away draft picks), the teams would worry much more about the players they were signing. And if the teams are worried about past drug use, the players who have used drugs in the past will get much more modest contracts or will have to leave the game for good.

Either way, these Biogenesis suspensions are a step in the right direction, but the MLB’s fight against performance enhancing drugs is far from over.

  1. quadrangular says:

    What’s “Biogenesis”? (“PED”, I got.)

    Next question: How far do you think MLB should go in policing the conduct of players and/or teams?
    What about smoking marijuana, or taking drugs that don’t enhance performance, or drinking too much, or abusing spouses or partners, or adultery? To what extent should “objectionable” behavior be left to the society’s laws?

    Final question: Do you think players have an obligation to behave in a special exemplary way to act as role models?

    • 5toolstar says:

      Biogenesis was a Miami health clinic led by Tony Bosch that allegedly gave MLB players (and perhaps players from other sports) PEDs. Bosch opened up to the MLB and gave them lots of documents that said which players bought the PEDs.

      I think that, when it comes to players doing things that are illegal in the society and not just baseball, the MLB bares less responsibility. They have an obligation to drug test, but not to snoop into players personal lives.

      Players theoretically are obligated to behave as role models, but they are as likely to do that as immature actors or singers (that is to say, not very likely). I understand players not acting as perfect role models, but there is a difference between being a little bit immature and cheating the game by taking PEDs.

  2. quadrangular says:

    Thanks for your very thoughtful answers. I don’t think I agree with the view many hold that players should be expected to act as role models. Players, musicians, actors, clergy, politicians, etc., should perform their respective jobs and not be held to a higher standard than the rest of us regarding their personal conduct. If, however, their conduct can be related to job performance (and this would apply particularly to the honesty and integrity of clergy and politicians), then I think they should be judged, though not necessarily officially penalized, accordingly. I hope this makes sense.

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