Baseball general managers fail to learn from PED scandal

Katie Cresser, Copy Editor

For many baseball fans, the mere mention of the 2013 Biogenesis scandal leaves a sour taste in their mouth.

The Miami-based clinic was found to have sold performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) to 14 MLB players, including superstars Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun. While these suspensions serve as a reminder that baseball still has a far way to go in regards to weeding out PEDs, it also reveals a more alarming pattern. Many players who have been reprimanded for PED use have served their time and returned to earn multi-million dollar contracts, causing many around the game to question the effectiveness of the punishment doled out by the league.

Braun returned for the 2014 season after serving a 65 game suspension and is set to receive 45 million dollars as part of the long term deal he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008. When Rodriguez returns next season, he will receive 25 million dollars as part of the ten year deal he signed with the New York Yankees in 2007.

Nelson Cruz, an outfielder for the Texas Rangers, accepted a season ending 50 game suspension for PED use in 2013. During the offseason, Cruz rejected the Rangers’ 14 million dollar qualifying offer to sign for one year and an eight-million-dollar contract with the Baltimore Orioles.

Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta served a 50 game suspension for his involvement in Biogenesis before he became a free agent at the end of the 2013 season. He did not receive a qualifying offer from the Tigers but eventually signed a four-year, 53-million-dollar contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brad Zeigler was outraged that players who had been convicted of using PEDs could receive this compensation. While the players did lose the pay they would have earned for the fifty games they missed, that money is minuscule when compared to the payday the players received after they served their suspensions.

If the MLB wants to escape the shadow of the Steroid Era, then it must take firm action with those convicted of PED use. However, this responsibility does not rest solely on the shoulders of the Commissioner. General Managers must make a concerted effort to not encourage the use of PEDs through large contracts with players returning from suspension.

The use of steroids in baseball, or any sport, only serves to cheapen the game and cheat the fans and clean players. By offering contracts such as those signed by Cruz and Peralta, general managers are facilitating PED use and harming the game, much in the same way that players who utilize the drugs do.

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