Melky Cabrera and MLB open Pandora's Box
Cabrera is currently serving a 50-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs, linked to a positive test for elevated levels of testosterone.
At Cabrera's request, Major League Baseball is making what is called a "one-time rule change" to rule 10.22, which says that if a player does not have enough plate appearances to qualify for a batting title, he will be credited with outs until he reaches the appropriate number, and his batting average would be recalculated with the additional outs added.
Under the rule change, suspended players would be ineligible to receive the added plate appearances. Since Cabrera finished his season 1 plate appearance short, it simply means Cabrera simply is disqualified for the award.
Needless to say, there are a few issues with this "solution."
First and foremost, it opens a proverbial Pandora's Box of stat-changing possibilities. Do we start taking away MVP and Cy Young awards that went to players who were later discovered to have been taking performance enhancing drugs? How far will they go in the future to remove statistics from the record book when players are caught cheating? Should we retroactively take away from Barry Bonds' HR total, or Roger Clemens' strikeout numbers?
Also, it's unfortunate that Cabrera is the one who initiated this, and not Bud Selig. If he really wanted this to happen, Selig should have put his foot down and done it himself. Unfortunately, he's a weak commissioner and has a long-standing policy of sweeping PED use under the rug. To acknowledge it and react to it now would have been a dramatic change of character.
In his statement, Cabrera said "I have no wish to win an award that would be tainted. I believe it would be far better for someone more deserving to win."
The thing is... Cabrera IS the most deserving potential winner. The award is based solely on batting average, and Cabrera's batting average is higher than that of both Buster Posey and Andrew McCutchen, the players who are now left to vie for the title.
While I certainly harbor no admiration for Melky Cabrera's less than honorable ways, this is a completely unjustifiable move by MLB, and there's no telling where things will go from here.
Source: CSN Bay Area