Over the past several years, baseball has proven with multiple reports and documents that it still has further to go in order to rid the sport of performance enhancing drugs. 

First time offenders in baseball currently receive a 50-game suspension, second-time offenders receive a 100-game suspension, and a third-time offender is banished from baseball. 

While this may deter a handful of players, it definitely does not deter all players.  With the different masking agents and assistance of personal physicians, athletes are slipping by the current testing methods.

The risk of being caught currently does not outweigh the benefits that are reaped from performing at the Major League level.  Contracts for everyday players are in the millions, and if you are an all-star you could be looking at anywhere from 10-20 million a season.   

Melky Cabrera gets caught on a one year deal with the Giants where he was arguably the mid-season NL MVP and was looking like he was in line for a mammoth contract extension where he would have seen more than $10 million per season over the next 5 years, and still came away after his drama with a 2-year, $16 million deal from the Blue Jays

Last off-season, Ryan Braun had a positive test, fought the system, and avoided his 50-game suspension.  With the recent Bio-genesis reports that are being released, it appears he is deeper in the PED underground than previously thought. 

I believe MLB could handle this ongoing issue with some of baseball’s best players by trying a few different things.


Blood Testing During Season

The most recent collective bargaining agreement from the Players Union and Major League Baseball will include blood testing for human growth hormone only for spring training and offseason. 

While this helps, HGH is not going to be used during this time frame.  HGH is being used to help players recover from injuries and stay fresh during the long season.  Players during spring training are already fresh from the off season. 

Baseball is not jumping two feet into this new testing to study the effects on the players, however if you aren’t willing to be all in, do not commit yourself to the pot. Baseball will be the first of the four major U.S. sports to incorporate any blood testing into their testing program. 

Why was the Players Union so headstrong as to not allowing it during the season? Because that’s when players will be using the HGH. You do not go to the store unless you know it is open. 

Major League Baseball is taking baby steps in getting their end result which is full testing, but the owners should be pushing this harder in order to protect their investments and know what they are actually investing in.  If you knew a stock was only worth 40 bucks and it is on the market for 50 bucks, you wouldn’t buy it—just like you wouldn’t pay a 40 HR player the same as a 10 HR player.


2.)  Increase Testing

Going hand in hand with the blood testing, the athletes need to be tested more often. 

Athletes in their contract years and rising through the minor leagues especially need additional testing.  The main reason the players are cheating is for a huge pay day, and the athletes that are the closest to that money will break the rules in order to break the bank. 

Players at the AAA level in 2012 earned slightly over $2,000 a month assuming that it was not their first year in AAA and did not receive large signing bonuses. A major league minimum salary in 2012 was $480,000 per year. 

The fact is, the borderline “4A” type players and utility players look to make huge gains just by getting onto the major league roster and sticking there.  If you show promise in the upper levels of the minors they will generally give you a shot, and the longer you stick around the longer you make nearly a half million dollars per year. 

The players in the top levels of the minor league system and especially guys in the final year of their contract should receive additional testing.  Testing is not cheap, but Major League Baseball is a billion business and the way to keep fans in the stands is to protect their brand and catch players. 

The worst thing for the MLB brand is to let superstars like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens get through their careers without a positive test, and then be caught from lab documents and testimonies.


 Terminating Contacts

Through the recent years, baseball has shown that the suspensions are not a big enough deterrent to eliminate PED use.  However, what if these teams were able to completely null and void these massive contracts upon one of their players failing a drug test?   Braun in 2011 signed a $105 million, five-year contract extension that added onto a seven-year deal he signed in May 2008, which resulted in $145.5 million dollars through 2020. 

What if once his positive test was revealed, the Brewers could void his remaining contract, say “see ya,” and waive him without having to eat his “guaranteed contract?”  The owners and general Managers are signing for the “enhanced” player hitting 40 home runs player and not the actual real life player that may only hit 25 home runs.

Teams are taking the risk by signing these players, and the fact of the matter is they are getting burned.  Att the time of his extension, Braun was the face of the Brewers franchise and a media darling. 

Fast forward to today. 

Braun is regarded as one of the least-liked players in all of sports.  He went from being a marketing asset for the Brewers to an alleged cheater using PEDs and then lying about it. 

The point is, these teams will sign these great players to long term deals dump all this money on them, the player will get suspended, and while they are without pay during the suspension, they come back and make their guaranteed salary for the rest of the contract. 

Even if the blood testing and additional testing does not catch all the players in their “contract year” it would still hopefully eliminate their use from then on knowing the players could lose their huge multi-year deals.


4.) Increase Suspensions

Currently the first offense for a 50-game suspension does not seem to do justice when that is less than 1/3 of a season. The first test should result in a minimum of being suspended for the year in which you tested positive, but also be a minimum of 100 games.

If you get popped in Spring Training, well, you just missed the entire season to your positive test.  If you get popped in September, you will miss the rest of the season and into the next season totaling 100 games.

A second positive test should just result in being banned. 

These players testing positive have to realize by now the severity of the testing.  As Jose Bautista mentioned in an interview this spring, there are many different resources and outlets to these players to verify if what they are putting in their bodies is allowed or not.

The fact you can get popped at the after the all-star break like Melky Cabrera did last year, and potentially could have come back for the playoffs, is not right.  Any stats or awards that were won in a season which a player tested positive should be forfeited.


While I do believe Major League Baseball is trying to push stricter testing and clean up the sport, I believe it could be accelerated greatly.  If the Players Union is serious about protecting its players—and by players, I mean “clean” players —they should have no issues with anything in this article.  Playing baseball for a living should be an honor and a privilege, not a right.

The fact that greedy players are able to cheat to get ahead of “clean” players should be dealt with an iron fist.

I will leave you with this scenario.

Suppose two men walk into a gas station and each purchase a lottery ticket.  The first man scratches off his lottery ticket and almost won, but missed on his last two numbers.  The second man scratched his off and WON the half million dollar jackpot!  When the first man found out the second man won the jackpot, he stole his ticket, he cashed the ticket in, and he received the grand prize.  Once the first man found out what happened he finally caught up with the second man getting out of his new Ferrari, and asked, “What the hell are you doing with the winnings from my ticket? That was my dream to win the lottery,” the second man replied, “Sorry, man. It happens all the time. It is called baseball.”

The above scenario would actually be illegal and make headlines.

It’s commonplace in baseball. 

Major League Baseball and the Players Union need to do all they can do to protect their clean athletes, and stop caring about the cheaters. Baseball had the blinders on when it came to drug testing over the past 25 years, but hopefully in the next 25 years it will set new standards in protecting the blue collar athlete and lead other sports into the next era.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com