The baseball landscape changed drastically last week when former New York Yankee Melky Cabrera was suspended 50 games for testing positive for using Performance-Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).
Not only did he jeopardize his future, but he is taking his current team, the San Francisco Giants, with him down the drain. Cabrera is the team’s most productive every-day player and a potential Most Valuable Player(MVP) candidate. He was batting .346 at the time of his suspension and won the MVP of this year’s All Star Game. He was having a career year after three pedestrian seasons after being traded from the Bronx Bombers. Some say that was the red flag that prompted Major League Baseball(MLB) to target the beleaguered outfielder.
Then to make matters worse, Cabrera and some of his confidants tried to come up with a hoax to justify his mistakes. They established a website of a fictitious product claiming that it contained an ingredient that was a banned substance. MLB immediately read into that and dismissed his claim.
As an upcoming free agent, the elevated testosterone test results will cost him possibly up to $50 million next year. Some prominent former baseball players, including Rick Suttcliffe, wants the Dominican Republic native to be deported and/or lose his visa. There are rumblings around baseball that the Giants want nothing to do with Cabrera even when he is eligible to come back.
Can you blame them? Here is your best every-day player and you lose him in the midst of a heated pennant race. The Giants are virtually tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers and without Cabrera’s bat in the middle of that line up, it will be an uphill battle to win that division.
This also brings up the question of whether PEDs are still prevalent in baseball. According to Steve Conte, the former president of Balco Inc., the organization in the midst of the PED storm, over half of MLB players are still using some sort of illegal or banned substance. Of course MLB denies that notion and claims that Cabrera’s positive test is proof positive, no pun intended, that their PED testing is working.
Cabrera has put himself and the Giants behind the eight ball. The ripple effect of this test will have ramifications well beyond Cabrera’s future. It might decide which team earns a post season spot.