In the wake of the Jhonny Peralta signing and players disgusted that he is profiting from his PED use, there has been a call to increase the punishment for positive steroid tests. I wrote about a few possibilities earlier this week, but now I have an even better idea that could rid the sport of PEDs forever.
On Friday Jeff Todd of MLB Trade Rumors wrote a well thought out and comprehensive piece on possible changes to baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Testing Program that could provide more of a deterrent to using steroids. I agree with some of his conclusions and disagree on others, but it spurred me to come up with an admittedly drastic plan that could work.
It is a three-pronged approach. If a player tests positive for PEDs, he is banned for the remainder of the season, regardless of where we are in the season. If it happens in the off-season, the player is suspended for the following season.
This may seem random, but the suspension is actually the smallest part of the punishment. Part two is that his contract is immediately voided.
This is a pretty big deal, especially if the player is in the middle of a, well, big deal. But we haven’t even come to the best part, the part that really is the deterrent.
Once the player comes back, he loses all of his major league service time. So now he has to play for three years at whatever the team wants to pay him, then three years of arbitration, then finally free agency after six long years, when the player is likely in his mid-to-late 30s. Who will want to sign him to a big bucks, long-term contract then?
By the way, this would not apply to his union pension, just arbitration and free agency.
If a player has not yet qualified for arbitration and free agency, then those extra years are added to whatever he has left.
This could work. Players are all about money, and this could be devastating, potentially taking tens of millions of dollars out of their pockets. It would be a punishment that would last them the rest of their careers, the rest of their lives, really.
This would have real consequences, not like the measly 50-game PEDs suspension and the loss of a couple of million bucks, then being allowed to continue their careers as if nothing ever happened.
Perhaps you think this is too harsh, so instead of six years, make it four — two years at minimum wage, then two years of arbitration. Either way, PEDs are still in the game and drastic steps need to be taken to get rid of them, if that is really what MLB wants to do.