Friday, December 13, 2013
By Ben Walker / The Associated Press
The question now is whether Major League Baseball's player suspensions will stop the drug cheats once and for all.
In this Oct. 14, 2012, photo, New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez sits in the dugout after striking out in Game 2 of the American League championship series against the Detroit Tigers in New York.
To Logan Morrison, the suspensions and shame and loss in salary might not be enough. To really deter them, the Miami Marlins' first baseman suggests clubs pay a price, too.
"Maybe penalizing the teams for guys who signed — like Melky signing that $16 million deal — maybe the team should have to give up something," Morrison said.
Which would be fine with Dodgers second baseman Mark Ellis.
"We're sick of it. Tired of it," he said. "We don't want the fans thinking everybody cheats. You listen to people talk and they associate baseball with cheating."
"The teams maybe should look at some things. Not sign guys who are caught. That would be a good thing. Start taking guys' money away," Ellis said.
The Associated Press reports that a person familiar with the negotiations says that all players targeted for drug suspensions other than Alex Rodriguez have accepted 50-game penalties from Major League Baseball.
The person says All-Stars Nelson Cruz of Texas, Jhonny Peralta of Detroit and Everth Cabrera of San Diego are among the 12 who accepted penalties Monday.
Will the penalties serve as a deterrent? Hall of Famer Joe Morgan will wait and see.
"It depends on what the punishments are. The thing with me is always the risk versus the reward," he said. "What is the reward? Getting a $150 million contract. What is the risk? A 30-day suspension, a 60-day suspension? The risk doesn't outweigh the reward."
"Until that happens, it's not going to change," he said. "It's very simple: The risk has to outweigh the reward."
And that might mean something more drastic. Say, the risk of players immediately losing their rich deals if they're caught.
"I know they're talking about" terminating contracts, St. Louis pitcher Adam Wainwright said. "But I don't know if you want to go down that road. Once you start, where do you stop?"
It'd be a start, Padres outfielder Will Venable said.
"My personal opinion is that the penalties need to get back to the contracts," he said. "I believe that if you cross over and decide that you are going to use the banned substance, you also should forfeit the support of the players' association."
"They are not worthy of the support of the players' association. I think the combination of that and somehow having to forfeit or void your contract that you're under is something that needs to be the main focus of the penalties," he said.
For Mark McGwire, the taint of scandal cost him a chance at the Hall of Fame. For Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, the drug cloud landed them in federal court.
Rafael Palmeiro, with more than 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, became an outcast after a positive drug test. Manny Ramirez drew a suspension that ran him out of the majors, Steve Howe was banned seven times. In the 1980s, several players had reputations tarnished during the Pittsburgh cocaine trials, before that a few even went to prison.
Now, former MVP Ryan Braun is serving a 65-game ban and more big penalties are looming.
"There's a thought that maybe the punishment isn't steep enough because the guys are still doing stuff," Seattle shortstop Brendan Ryan said. "Is there a punishment that's too stiff? I don't know. It should scare anyone from doing it."
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