Just as in life, there are certain moments in baseball that are just the final straw. For example, the induction of an undeserving Bill Mazeroski into the Hall of Fame forced a complete overhaul of the Veterans Committee. And now the mega-bucks signing of Jhonny Peralta could change the punishment for players caught using PEDs, and it is the players themselves who are the driving force behind this.
After Peralta’s $53 million contract was announced Sunday, angry players took to Twitter to voice their disgust that an admitted PED user could get such a massive deal, among them former Mets Shaun Marcum and David Aardsma.
Perhaps more significantly, Diamondbacks player representative Brad Ziegler tweeted that the players union thought a 50-game suspension for a first offense would be a good deterrent, but “obviously it’s not.” So he said the union is “working on it.”
Players who are clean are understandably outraged that dirty players like Peralta are cashing in on their PED use. Fox Sports midget Ken Rosenthal reports that players are likely to suggest changes to the punishment system at the union’s annual board meeting next month.
One possible change is lengthening suspensions. Perhaps a first offense would warrant a suspension of one year. And a second offense, now 100 games, would be a lifetime ban.
But even a one-year suspension would likely not deter players, knowing full well they can sign a big contract when the suspension ends.
Giving a team the right to void a contract in the event of a positive test could work. However, that would not stop players who are not in the middle of a contract from using in the hopes of landing that big deal some day. They know that even if they get caught, teams will be lining up to sign them once the suspensions are over.
If the Brewers were able to void Ryan Braun’s contract, you know some team would sign him to a huge deal. If Peralta could get $53 million, how much could Braun get?
This type of punishment could work on players who are at the end of their careers, such as Alex Rodriguez. If his contract were voided now, no one would ever give him big money again.
Maybe baseball needs a one-strike rule — a lifetime ban for a first offense. This would certainly make players think twice about using PEDs. Yes it is harsh, but despite having the alleged best testing program in all of pro sports, players continue to use PEDs. Perhaps the threat of losing their livelihood is the only thing to make players stop juicing.