With the big signing of Jhonny Peralta over the weekend by the St. Louis Cardinals, one thing was seemingly cemented into the culture of baseball. While MLB attempts to "clean up" the game of baseball by cracking down on PEDs; players, coaches, GMs and even owners are sending a different message to the baseball world. That statement: "Production matters more than fair play." Peralta gets 4 years & $52 million for an AAV of $13 million for a Shortstop on the wrong side of 30 coming off a PED suspension shortened season. That's more than double his contract before being suspended. Production oriented signing? Yes, however how much of that production is due to using PEDs? Along those same lines Peralta has seen uncommon leaps in production on both sides of the ball as he approached and surpassed 30. While this is neither a condemnation nor confirmation of roid induced spikes in production, it is certainly enough to raise eyebrows. So thank you Cardinals, "baseball's good guys," an organization that "does things the right way," for sending this message to the baseball world that FAIR PLAY BE DAMNED. It's all about winning at all costs.
That spurred me to look at other contracts given to known offenders of the MLB PED policy and found the following AAV given out to guys who have been known cheaters:
1. Mike Morse - $7 million AAV
2. Guillermo Mota - $1 million AAV
3. Edinson Volquez - $6 million AAV
4. Manny Ramirez - 2 contracts signed post PEDs, 1 after 2 PED suspensions
5. Juan Rincon - now plays in an independent league
6. Rafael Betancourt - $4.25 mil AAV
7. Jason Grimsley - retired
8. J.C. Romero - $750k AAV
9. Marlon Byrd - $8 mil AAV
10. Melky Cabrera - $8 mil AAV
11. Bartolo Colon - $3 mil AAV
12. Carlos Ruiz - $8.5 mil AAV
13. AROD - $28 mil AAV
14. Nelson Cruz - unsigned- $10.5 mil AAV 2013
15. Ryan Braun - $10 mil AAV
16. Everth Cabrera - $1.275 mil AAV (arbitration raise looming)
Seems to me like cheating equates, to the teams/players, to getting a fat payday. The Cardinals just enhanced this thought by signing Peralta to a large deal, and someone will certainly do the same with each of Nelson Cruz and Bartolo Colon. Why not enforce a rule that says if you get caught using PEDs you play the next 5 years at league minimum, with the team who you were signed with at the time of the suspension. If they cut you and nullify your contract, you are owed nothing from the contract you signed, and you can sign any deal you would like with another team, but for the first 5 years following the suspension you will earn league minimum, no questions asked.
Hit these guys where it hurts rather than reinforcing cheating and bad behavior with big paydays following suspensions. Look at Braun, dude got a 3 month extended vacation in a lost season and comes back with a raise in 2014 and is clean to start day one. 2nd offense? Done in baseball. PEDs, IMO, is a worse offense against the game than Charlie Hustle's betting games. Owners, players, GM's, it is a joke and needs to be taken care of soon.