Kapler: A fine idea for penalizing teams when PED users get busted again

The Alex Rodriguez suspension spotlights how the team and player need to pay.

Anthony Gruppuso

At this moment, and in the wake of the Biogenesis scandal, MLB has incentivized clubs to court and sign acknowledged PED users and look the other way while they flagrantly violate the rules.

In the aftermath of the announcement that the New York Yankees will lose Alex Rodriguez in 2014 to a 162-game suspension, saving MLB’s richest franchise $25 million that it can now go spend however it chooses, it’s abundantly clear that MLB teams need consequences for signing PED users.

The way it stands, if I’m the GM of a club, I can go out into the market and be confident about signing Johnny Peralta to a deal worth $53M because if he decides to juice up in year two of that four-year deal and plays like a man on steroids, I win.

On the flip side if he gets busted in the off-season after year two, and gets suspended, I don’t have to pay him for the time he’s off the field and can use that money to go fill his or another hole. Sounds like a built-in insurance policy that MLB has in place for the clubs.

I envision a scenario in which the player gets paid through his suspension, regardless of the number of games, penalizing the club for making a poor, free-agent character signing decision. The player is then bound to donate his salary to an MLB-approved charity. I’ll admit this is pretty pie in the sky, but we can dream, right?


The MLBPA would fight that, of course. "Players are free to choose to make donations to club charities, but clubs can’t require such donations by contract," the late Michael Weiner, former union general counsel, said in 2009. "Provisions that require players to make contributions to clubs’ charities are unenforceable under the basic agreement. It’s not a subject that the Basic Agreement permits individual bargaining on."

But what if MLB, rather than the clubs, attempted to bargain this into the next CBA? And what if the players wanted to make this work by accepting an unprecedented system like this? The end result would be another deterrent in place for players considering using PEDs.

If I’m a PED user or my character is falling into question, there are fewer suitors for my services, thereby limiting my free-agent market. My agent had damn well better advise me against putting my reputation at risk in any way, shape or form. He has a huge incentive to do so.

I’m quite confident that if the New York Yankees were still on the hook for Alex’s $25M, they’d be digging deeper into Masahiro Tanaka’s makeup. Rodriguez would benefit from the exercise of selecting a quality organization to donate a sum that large to, and that charity would be making a deep, positive imprint in the world.