Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brad Ziegler tweeted his opinion over the weekend of Jhonny Peralta signing with the St. Louis Cardinals. Peralta of course signed a four-year deal, worth a reported $52 million. The former Detroit Tiger is also coming off of a 50-game suspension for PED use this past season. The Baltimore Orioles were reportedly interested in Peralta as well, and for sure he would have given the Birds a bit of flexibility if they were thinking of trading J.J. Hardy. However ultimately, the Orioles didn’t have the level of interest necessary to shell out the type of dough that St. Louis did for a Peralta.
First off I’ll be honest; I’m not big on players calling each other out in the aforementioned manner that Ziegler did. I suppose that what I’m saying is that while what Peralta did was without a doubt repugnant, I don’t think that peers calling each other out like that is the right way to be. However this is a very tight line to walk, as Ziegler is 100% correct. Peralta is in fact getting a fresh new contract which is apparently going to be worth approximately $13 million per year. Is that not in effect rewarding him for using PED’s? This is similar in fact to how this entire escapade got started: Jose Canseco. It shouldn’t go unnoticed that Canseco was correct in his numerous allegations of steroid use being rampant in baseball. However I also believe in the whole adage that most things that happen or go on in a locker room should stay there.
So what am I suggesting, that people should never play the role of a whistle blower? Again, tough line to toe. I think that most people probably feel that Canseco blew the whistle to sell books, which is self-serving. However while Brad Ziegler might well come across as calling out a fellow player publically, I get the impression that he’s doing so honestly and that his intention is to improve the game.
I’m not sure how far we want to take this issue in terms of disciplining players. By that, I mean that perhaps in the future the league could prevent a guy who’s been busted for PED use from getting a contract for more than the league minimum…? However that could also be seen as a bit draconian. The reverse-argument might be that you’re punishing people twice over for the same crime. The other issue is that teams obviously have no problem signing someone who’s been involved in PED’s. I suppose that in and of itself might well show just how rampant PED use is around the league, however I digress.
There’s no right or wrong answer in any of this I suppose. I’d prefer that players didn’t call one another out like that. However that doesn’t take away from the fact that Ziegler’s right in his anger. I would hesitate to say that some guys even work the 50-game suspension into their budgets in terms of missing paychecks. What’s 50 games when you’re going to be paid royally afterwards? This is just another reason why MLB needs to have stricter penalties for PED use.