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Another call for teams to vacate wins when a player gets a PED suspension

Sep 5, 2012, 10:03 AM EDT

Oakland Athletics' Colon returns to dugout during their MLB baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Oakland

We dealt with this last month, but Jeff Miller of the OC Register goes there anyway. After lamenting that the Angels and Dodgers were victimized by the A’s and Giants due to the latters’ employment of Bartolo Colon and Melky Cabrera, Miller thinks that something more needs to be done:

The NCAA certainly wouldn’t permit this sort of thing. Officials already would have limited contact with free agents, stripped TV money and given the A’s and Giants the sort of probation usually reserved for the truly offensive, like Lindsay Lohan. Seriously, shouldn’t the A’s and Giants, for at least the rest of the regular season, be forced to wear ankle weights or something? Shouldn’t they be handicapped in some way?

They directly benefitted from performance-enhancing drugs, reached their lofty perches in part through fraud, and the only price they’ve paid is the loss of the offending player? Hardly seems right.

So Miller goes to FanGraphs, reads Melky and Colon’s WAR for the year and suggests that MLB dock the Giants and A’s 4.5 and 2.3 wins a piece. Because (a) the NCAA is obviously a great example to follow when it comes to sensible justice; and (b) it’s totally workable to simply deduct wins from a major league baseball team’s totals.

But that’s not my favorite point he makes. No, my favorite point is the one in which, after suggesting extreme measures be taken to level and uneven playing field, he says this:

Doesn’t seem fair, does it? The A’s and Giants received a boost in the standings. The Angels and Dodgers continue to receive a kick in the teeth.

I’m not for salary caps or the selective legalization of PED use, but two Southern California teams that can and do so thoroughly outspend their rivals in the Bay Area are probably not the first ones anyone wants to hear complain about things not being fair.

  1. kiwicricket - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    “…..usually reserved for the truly offensive, like Lindsay Lohan.”
    This man writes a great deal of sense, it’s just a shame about his baseball analysis.

  2. fatfirstbaseman - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    Yeah, because taking policy cues from the NCAA is a great idea.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      How the hell is the NCAA the example he uses for punishment? The same NCAA that didn’t punish cam Newton when his father pimped him out for $200k to the highest bidder? The same NCAA that sat on information about OSU players, like Pryor, who broke rules and let them play in a bowl game because they’d take their punishments the following year? Only to have them declare pro and avoid any punishment?

      Yeah, great example to use…

  3. scotttheskeptic - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    Perhaps an appropriate team punishment would be the loss of the roster spot for the duration of the suspension. Try winning with only 24 guys.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      This is a prettty awesome idea, but I doubt they would ever implement it. The author’s idea about using WAR to remove wins is ludicrous, but this idea is a great one. This is really the only way to actually hurt the team with the cheater. Sure, the Giants will miss Melky’s bat. But he cheated and that may have helped that bat. By taking away a roster spot for the 50 games, you are really hurting the team. Of course, now it would be 39 games and not as painful. But try making a playoff roster with only 24 guys and the Giants would feel the squeeze if they make the playoffs.

    • Chris Fiorentino - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:19 PM

      now it would be 39 players…not games.

    • rooney24 - Sep 5, 2012 at 3:47 PM

      The way to fix this is not to penalize the team, which may have had no knowledge of what a player was doing. The way to fix this is to drug test every player, every week. If a result comes back positive for anything, they are suspended immediately, and then you can run through the appeals process. Right now, by the time someone is suspended, it is a month or more from the actual positive test. Why wait? With random testing, players are willing to take the chance that they won’t be the one tested. If they knew they were going to be tested EVERY week, I bet that would cut it down significantly. Don’t assume that 4 positive tests mean that only 4 players were using.

  4. Tick - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:30 AM

    The Angels offseason free agent signings make about the same amount of money as the entire Oakland team and this hack has the nerve to claim the A’s had an unfair advantage? This guys isn’t big on reporting from the world of reality, is he?

  5. pauleee - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    I’d like to say something like “The OC Register is still around?”, but I know it is because I see a copy at work every day. But when you’ve got a paper whose words per page is dwarfed by the likes of USA Today, well, it’s only a matter of time before you can pick it up right next to the OC Weekly.

  6. temporarilyexiled - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:37 AM

    If we’re actually attempting to rationally discuss some sort of WAR-PED-based sanctions, why not simply fine the Southern California teams the full amount of their monetary advantages?

    Or, we could simply dispense with this nonsense, and subsitute other nonsense.

    Let’s put all Southern California teams in quarantine.

  7. thefalcon123 - Sep 5, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    You know what I think is a great punishment for PED users?

    A 50 game suspension.

    • notsofast10 - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:42 PM

      Yeah and so do the cheaters, that is why they will take the risk.

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:58 PM

        Yep…all *4* of them have taken the risk this year. 4 out of…what, 1700 players?

        That comes out to 0.235%.

        So that’s clearly an epidemic.

      • temporarilyexiled - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        Someday, I hope we really find out the truth. It really could be anywhere from 4 out of 1,700, to our most paranoid fantasy. And the only thing we do know is that we hear all kinds of proclamations as to which one is correct, but really, we haven’t a clue. I’m okay with stating the generalization that more are cheating than caught, just as long as we never make specific accusations that can’t be immediately and factually backed up.

      • thefalcon123 - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        How about we all take a deep breath and accept the fact that steroid usage probably isn’t as ramapant in today’s game as everyone fears. Sure, players do it. And sure, there are probably plenty of them who manager to avoid detection.

        But I kind of doubt it’s 50%, 20% of even 10% that many people claim.

      • temporarilyexiled - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        How about we just accept the fact that we don’t know what it is. I certainly don’t lose sleep about it. But I hope it’s properly dealt with. As long as the almighty dollar runs the show, it’s hard to be confident in the belief that a bunch of billionaires and millionaires are aggressively seeking the truth. When everyone stops pronouncing what the actual statistics are, when no one has somehow administered truth serum to everyone who’s remotely involved, and published this amazing research, I’ll shut up.

  8. thomas2727 - Sep 5, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    So if Mota has a negative WAR does that mean the Giants get wins added to their total?

  9. Detroit Michael - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:39 PM

    You buried the lead:
    “Mainstream media member uses WAR to measure batters’ productivity.”

    OK, maybe this isn’t quite the right occasion to celebrate how far the mainstream media is progressing. Baby steps.

  10. paperlions - Sep 5, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    The NCAA does NOT vacate wins for players testing positive for banned substances. All athletes are tested, and those that test positive are punished by the university (or not), including suspensions or dismissal from the team, but the test results are considered private student information (as they should be) and are not released. No NCAA team has ever vacated a single win for player PED use….ever.

  11. airedale1950 - Sep 5, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    The NCAA only screws a whole team of young men who gambled their future on a school with a winning program. These same young men are now in a program that has nothing to offer them, little chance for notoriety in the game they excelled at, little chance to move to another University and succeed in that program…and let’s face it…little chance to parley an arts and crafts diploma into a meaningful income. They went to Penn State to screw and play football at a top level. What they ended up receiving was the same thing the Sandusky did to little boys…only from the NCAA.
    Yeah, let’s follow their lead…they have been sooo fair in the past.

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