Melky Cabrera and MLB’s Worthless PED Deterrents

As currently constituted, MLB free agency entices players to use performance enhancing drugs (also known as PEDs). Large contracts are not awarded for being a great teammate, work in the community, or integrity. They are handed out for numbers. We do not know exactly when Melky Cabrera started using performance enhancers, but here’s a plausible hypothesis on why.

According to Baseball Player Salaries, Cabrera’s salary for 2012 season is $6 million dollars. MLB insiders and baseball journalists agreed that his annual salary was going to double, at the very least, during free agency in the offseason. Cabrera’s future salary projections were based on the stats he posted prior the 50 game suspension currently being served for using PEDS. Perhaps Cabrera believed that he could take the PEDs for one season without getting caught, sign a huge deal, and never cheat the game again; who knows? What’s not up for debate is that Cabrera took a risk and deserves the punishment and ridicule he is receiving; however, what’s not getting attention is the weak deterrents currently in place for offenders of the PED policy in MLB.

The current punishments for PED use are as follows:

The first positive test would result in a fifty game suspension. The second positive test would result in a one-hundred game suspension. Finally, the third positive test would result in a lifetime suspension from Major League Baseball.

This current system does nothing to persuade players to not attempt cheating once for a large payday. The most effective system would also effective a player’s current and future contracts.

What if being caught for PEDs capped the annual salary and length of future contracts, and cut whatever was left on your current contract in half? That, ladies and gentlemen, will make players stop cheating the game.

A related side note: USA Today reported that Roger Clemens, who just finished being acquitted of committing perjury while testifying in Congress about knowingly taking steroids, is pitching in a minor league game on Saturday to possibly attempt a comeback to MLB.

Roger Clemens is 50 years old and made over $150 million dollars during his MLB career.