MLB investigators are trying to acquire the sources behind the Miami New Times article that listed guys like Alex Rodriguez, Gio Gonzalez, Nelson Cruz, and others.
Exactly what are they going to do, if and when they conclude this investigation?
Honestly, I'm not sure. There are pretty specific rules in place for players who fail drug tests, but there's not really anything for players who are caught talking to and/or doing business with shady Miami clinic owners who specialize in various illegal substances.
Can they actually do anything about these guys? Alex Rodriguez is already known to be a multiple offender. Nelson Cruz certainly fits the bill, with his power surges and bizarre injury history. Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal are also guys who have already been caught before.
But can Major League Baseball actually do anything about this story, without actually catching these guys red-handed?
Another question is whether or not the current system is working.
When a guy like Alex Rodriguez, who was once viewed as a mortal lock for the Hall of Fame, is continuously taking performance enhancing drugs and proceeding to make hundreds of millions of dollars for it, does it really matter that he served a 50-game suspension?
Perhaps harsher penalties are needed. Matt Holliday and Curt Schilling are among the folks who thinks that players have to pay a higher price for cheating.
Holliday wants to move away from baseball's traditional "three strikes, you're out" policy, and change it to only 2 strikes for PED users:
"I'd go first time (you get caught) you miss a full season, 162 games you're out. And then the second time I think you are suspended for a lifetime with the eligibility after two years maybe to apply for reinstatement. That's what I would do. I feel like that's pretty harsh but I think that's what we need. I think we need harsher penalties. I think that would be a good start. I thought (a 50-game suspension) was pretty harsh. I thought that might be enough with 50 and then, I think it was, 100. But it clearly is not enough. There are guys getting caught and there's a paper trail and all this stuff going on now. It's clearly not enough to deter guys from trying to find ways around it, trying to find ways to beat the system or whatever they're doing. So I'm all for making it harder."
Schilling agrees, essentially:
I think they're both on to something, here. Particularly Schilling.
The Hall of Fame ineligibility for a 1st offense would completely change the way everyone looks at performance enhancing drugs. Players, fans, HOF voters... everyone would be forced to look at it differently.
Great players in the mold of Barry Bonds or A-Rod would most likely no longer be tempted to get that extra boost, knowing that one mistake could forever destroy their legacy.
Also, it would help increase the protection for teams who have huge contracts tied up in players who cheated to "earn" them, by making the suspensions unpaid.
I would even venture to say that a positive PED test should immediately void the remainder of a player's contract, as well.
What do you think... should MLB up the ante on their PED enforcement? Or just leave it as is, and hope players start to get the picture?