Ever since Brad Ziegler made his tweet heard 'round the world saying "It pays to cheat" after hearing of the Cardinals 4-year, $53 million signing of Jhonny Peralta, there has been much debate over the whole thing.
While I'm no expect on PED's nor am I extremely moral, I thought it was time to add my 2 cents to the discussion.
First of all, its a bit hypocritical for Ziegler to blame the Cardinals for rewarding Peralta for using PED's when the Cardinals were, after all, operating under the collective bargaining agreement that Ziegler and the other players helped create. If the players do not like what is going on, then its up to them to push for stronger penalties.
If they truly want to punish players for using PEDs, they have the power to do so. Call up the owners and ask that they reopen talks. I'm sure the owners would be willing to make the penalties harsher. After all, its bad publicity for them anytime someone is caught using PEDs.
Second, Peralta has already been tried, convicted and punished (even though we all know that baseball does not act like a true court of law). To punish him more for the same crime is ridiculous. So, even if the players and owners agree to stiffer penalties, they cannot make them retroactive for all players previously caught.
Players, like Ziegler, seem to think that this should be like the Shawshank Redemption, where Brooks is released from prison and given the menial job of bagging groceries, as that is the only thing anyone would trust him to do. Do people really think that the stigma of using PED's is so great that no one will hire a player after a suspension?
Finally, a player's price is not determined by what he does off the field, it is determined by what he does on the field and, more importantly, supply and demand. People were looking at Melky Cabrera from last year and comparing Peralta's situation to him and thinking that Peralta would get something like 2-years and $20 million. However, the supply of quality shortstops is a lot smaller than the supply of quality outfielders, so obviously the price for a good shortstop is going to be much higher. Add in the fact that signing Peralta did not cost the Cardinals a draft pick and he is even more valuable.
Thus, it did not surprise me too much to see that Peralta got a significant raise over his prior contract. Its not like the Cardinals were bidding against themselves, other teams were willing to fork over at least 4-years and $50 million plus.
Short of a lifetime ban for players caught using PEDs, baseball players coming off a PED suspension will continue to find gainful employment and some will likely get raises, much to the chagrin of the Brad Ziegler's everywhere. Instead of crying about it and lambasting teams for following the rules, perhaps players should actually do something to change the rules.