As word circulated Saturday night and into Sunday that the St. Louis Cardinals had reached an agreement with free-agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta on a four-year, $52 million deal, Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Brad Ziegler let his feelings about it be known.
Via Twitter, Ziegler didn’t hold back:
— Brad Ziegler (@BradZiegler) November 24, 2013
The side-arming reliever has a point. If the punishment for using performance-enhancing drugs has a $52 million Easter egg at the end of it, it’s hard to see what deterrent a potential 50-game suspension without pay really is.
Peralta rolled the dice, got caught and won anyway.
If Major League Baseball is going to insist that PED users get three strikes before they’re out of the game for good, then maybe there needs to be some sort of stronger disincentive thrown into the system to discourage PED use.
Perhaps if players’ future earnings were capped if they were caught using PEDs, that might stop some of it. Imagine if a player suspended for using performance-enhancers knew that he could never again make more than the veterans’ minimum salary.
Ziegler is right: There shouldn’t be a $52 million pot of gold at the end of the steroid rainbow.