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Before you climb aboard the “we should void cheaters’ contracts!” express …

Jul 23, 2013, 2:02 PM EDT

Void

Though the sea change we’re experiencing in Major League Baseball’s drug testing regime is undeniable, the “we should get tougher!” crowd easily has the loudest voice in the grand shouting match that is our current baseball discourse. And easily the most fashionable get-tough argument in that crowd is the one which goes “players should have their contracts voided if they test positive!”

Let’s unpack that, shall we?

It’s pretty easy to see the logic when the player involved is named Ryan Braun or Alex Rodriguez and they are owed hundreds of millions of dollars that they may not be worth. The price is paid for a cheater’s ill-gotten gains! He’s out his deal! The team is out from under the specter of his unholy presence! Everything is right with the world!

But what if the player is Andrew McCutchen? Or Matt Moore? Or Jered Weaver or Sal Perez? Or some other star who is on a team-friendly deal? We still happy voiding that contract then? I’m guessing the team’s owner and GM aren’t. They know that no player is 100% a creation of PEDs and that even if one of those guys took something he shouldn’t have, he’d still be more than worth the money on his contract once he serves his 50 games. And he certainly doesn’t want to lose him because a bunch of sportswriters decided back in 2013 that everyone needed to “get tough.”

Question: Are we good with punishing the team even more than the player?

Let’s take that to the next step. Say you’re Matt Moore. You’re having a lights-out season just as guys like Justin Verlander and Clayton Kershaw are raking in gigantic bucks on contract extensions. And here you are, like a yutz, making an average of $2.5 million over the next four years because you went for the security of the pre-arbitration deal. If contracts are voided upon a positive test, might you not at least consider taking a shot of testosterone, taking a very small 50 game suspension, getting your contract voided and then peddling your wares to the highest bidder? Sure, you might take a haircut from what Justin Verlander got because you’d be seen as something of a bad seed, but you’d make orders of magnitude over what you’re making now. Especially if you play the apology-come-clean game as well as Andy Pettitte did.

Question: Do we want that incentive there? And what does that mean for the pre-arb players who didn’t sign Moore-type deals? If Bryce Harper or Mike Trout tested positive tomorrow, what does their void look like? Are they free agents too? Or do the teams violate the 13th amendment and not pay them at all?

Oh, and then there’s the matter of the incentives some owners may have to slip a mickey to an overpaid player in an effort to get out from under. Now, I’m not saying an honorable and honest businessman like Arte Moreno would do such a thing to a nice, upstanding man like Albert Pujols. But then again, George Steinbrenner is gonna be in the Hall of Fame some day and he literally paid spies to dig up dirt on one of his overpaid players once, and it’s not insane to think that can’t happen again.

One response I anticipate is that we make the contract voiding an optional thing. At the team’s discretion. In this case the team will clearly choose to void Alex Rodriguez’s deal but not Moore’s. But why should teams get a choice here? Why should what is supposed to be punishment for wrongdoing for which we are supposed to have zero tolerance suddenly be transformed into a cost-benefit analysis for a team? Or a windfall?  Wouldn’t we then be saying “cheating is bad, mmm-kay, and you’re going to be punished severely. At least as long as you don’t have a team-friendly contract. If you do, well, we’re willing to let it slide a bit.”

That’s not what the drug testing program is supposed to look like and those odd incentives are probably a large part of the reason why the league and the union have never suggested actually doing it. Separate and apart from the fact that the union is not interested in doing anything to undermine the concept of guaranteed contracts in any way.

Maybe that’s the real thing to watch here, actually. What the league and the union say, not sanctimonious worrywarts who are looking for new ways to get tough.  If and when league or union sources start to chatter about contract voiding being on the table I’ll start to take it seriously.  For now it’s just bluster from people who don’t feel guys like Ryan Braun have suffered enough.

115 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. banpeds - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    NBC should void your misguided posts.

    • nategearhart - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      How about a counterargument, if he’s so misguided?

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:15 PM

      What is it with you people, assuming not only is it your right but a neccesity to complain about everything you don’t like on the Internet? Maybe just scroll past and leave the comments open for the people who actually have something that resembles discourse to contribute.

      • pjmarn6 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:45 PM

        Craig Calceterra comes to the RESCUE of DRUGGIES, LIARS, THIEVES AGAIN!
        All we need to read his insane and ridiculous garbage is to hear the LONE RANGER THEME MUSIC IN THE BACK GROUND!

      • pjmarn6 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        1943mrmojorisin1971 It’s called freedom of speech.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        I don’t think you understand freedom of speech nor tne nature of my comment. I was questioning the need of some to complain without adding anything of value (one commenter even admitted to skipping the article to get to the comments so he could complain). What does anyone gain from thay?

      • Alex K - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        I don’t think freedom of speech means what you think it means…

      • Reflex - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        You do not have freedom of speech on a privately owned forum. The US government cannot suppress your speech, but a private organization absolutely can.

        Also, ‘freedom of speech’ is not a counterargument. Craig made a series of very good points. I have yet to see a solid counter argument to them. Do you have none?

    • pjmarn6 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Craig Calceterra comes to the RESCUE of DRUGGIES, LIARS, THIEVES AGAIN!
      All we need to read his insane and ridiculous garbage is to hear the LONE RANGER THEME MUSIC IN THE BACK GROUND!

      • pjmarn6 - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:30 PM

        Reflex YOU ACTUALLY MEAN WE LIVE IN NORTH KOREA OR IRAN? Look up the word forum. The legal definition means the following: Forum (legal), designated space for public expression in the United States,
        Are you sure that you want to challenge public expression in the United States of America? The whole reason of this forum is to take opinions by both sides. Now that NBC was sold to a more open, reasonable company, which is allowing the free flow of thoughts, ideas, opinions, we can say what we think and want others to know.
        You want to make your own private forum where you can control and ban free speech, you are welcomed. Freedom of speech is a counterargument. Crummy Craig has always backed up the druggies. When the other writers release information, gossip, hearsay, or leaks, we should listen to them as they are being PAID to do just that. Calceterra, thrives on defending and explaining why Braun should take his suspension now. Remember the facts. These druggies, liars, swindlers and cheats got their super contracts by being druggies, liars, swindlers and cheats. Had they honestly demonstrated their natural genetic talents, they would not be able to get these huge multiyear contracts. I imagine that more than 50% of the players do not and did not take drugs. Therefore, they were taken advantage by the druggies, liars and cheats.
        Baseball is a game of inches or fractions of an inch. The drugs improved the strength and other physical abilities to the detriment of the players who did not take drugs. Had these druggies not had the benefit of the drugs, all aspects of their game would have declined from what they showed on the field. Pitchers would have been able to get more outs and win more games. Fielders would not have been able to make the hard chances. Hitters would not have hit that huge number of home runs and have had such great batting averages or rbi’s.
        Of course you never took all that into consideration. All those who took drugs harmed all the players who did not take drugs. Now go sit in the corner and think about that. Evidently, you as Calceterra have not let that fact color your judgement.

      • Reflex - Jul 23, 2013 at 7:39 PM

        Um, again, freedom of speech means freedom of government censorship of speech. It does not mean you have the right to speak freely on someone’s *private* property, which includes internet forums not owned by the federal or state government.

        I am taking issue with people being idiotic and yelling ‘freedom of speech’ as some sort of defense. They have none, this forum is a private, not public forum, owned by NBC. Post something they feel is a violation of their terms and your speech can be removed and you may even get banned. That is legal.

        Its fine to voice your opinion here, but ‘freedom of speech’ is not a defense of your arguments. Craig made an informed, interesting post, why do you not address his points rather than ranting against the man?

    • ilovegspot - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      Craig is an idiot. He has been defending Braun since his POSITIVE testosterone test. HE said that MLB wouldn’t get anything from the Biogenisys probe.

      Lawyers will do anything to bill hours including challenging a contract signed under fraudulent pretenses. I can see a team making a move to get out of of one of these contracts and let a court decide.

      • Old Gator - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:39 PM

        ilovegspot is an idiot, making the ridiculous and unsustainable claim that Craig has been “defending Braun.” The nothing-above-my-brain-stem Ox-Bow Incident crew to which dummoxes like this one belong can’t make a relatively simple distinction between defending a culprit and defending due process, which is all Craig has ever done.

        Times like this almost make me ashamed of my profession as an educator. Clearly, we’re not doing much of a job of teaching people like this how to read – although, in all fairness, as they say, you can’t put in what the chromosomes have left out.

      • pjmarn6 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        We are all missing something. Everyone knows that a lot of players took PEDs.
        How low, how greedy, what a lack of morals and ethics have these players have that emotionally, mentally, they decided to lie, cheat, steal and defraud the fans into believing that they had greater skills than they naturally had.
        For me it is horrific that so many players who had the natural ability to make the big leagues were not satisfied with earning a huge amount of money honestly that they had to cheat and lie to line their pockets with MORE money and cheat the all too willing public to believe their SUPER POWERS!
        It’s a fucking shame that our once proud national sport is down in the sewers and likely never to raise its head over the shit that is pouring down on it.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:39 PM

        For me it is horrific that so many players who had the natural ability to make the big leagues were not satisfied with earning a huge amount of money honestly that they had to cheat and lie to line their pockets with MORE money and cheat the all too willing public to believe their SUPER POWERS!

        Something like 25 players since ’06 have been caught at the MLB level using PEDs (27 suspensions not double counting Manny and Mota). Is this really “so many players”? Even if all those players were caught in one year, and no one was every moved up or down to the minors, that’s just over 3% of the population. That’s a lot to you?

      • stercuilus65 - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:01 PM

        Old Gator is an educator? The horror, the horror….

  2. El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    True. This doesn’t make much sense. This still doesn’t speak to the fact that the current punishment isn’t tough enough. You mean to say that Braun missing 65 games while not at full health for a team actually worse than the Cubs is an acceptable punishment for what he did? I do not. He should have a significant fine imposed as well on top of missing pay for the season. If it doesn’t hurt the pocketbook, there is still incentive for mediocre players to take PEDs in hopes of that big year and subsequent big multi-year contract. If they get caught they’ll simply accept a 50-game suspension and the negative publicity along with their millions. MLB must take that incentive away completely and that means taking some money out of players’ pockets to sent this message to up and coming players as well. That is definitely doable and has nothing to do with player contracts.

    • cw2121 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      I would argue that losing $3.4 million is “taking some money out of players’ pockets” in Braun’s case. You may not like that he’s going to continue making money after the suspension, but that’s a pretty hefty fine.

      • El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:26 PM

        It seems to me the biggest “fine” will be paid by the Brewers in the remaining salary on Braun’s contract that was written up under the assumption he was not a cheater. No matter what Braun is “losing”. We can never know how much better the PEDs made Braun play over his career but we do know that his contract is now ripping of his team. Contracts may change accordingly after this, but if the system doesn’t prevent players from wanting to cheat, it simply isn’t tough enough. I don’t believe that dis-incentive is there yet.

      • cw2121 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        We don’t know his contract is ripping is team off, yet. That rests on the assumption that his PED use really helped him, which you specifically say we don’t know. If he comes back next season the same player he always was, which is a real possibility, then the Brewers still got a deal on him. If he regresses, which could have happened even if he didn’t take PEDs, then they lost out on the deal.

        The quality of that contract is not based on whether Braun cheated or not. It’s based on how he performs over the course of the entire contract. And that remains to be seen.

      • El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        Your point is a good one, we don’t truly know how bad it is yet. I will argue now and in the future that this will burn the Brewers more than it will burn Braun’s wallet though, and I don’t think that assumption is much of a stretch.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:45 PM

        We can never know how much better the PEDs made Braun play over his career but we do know that his contract is now ripping of his team.

        Save this year, which he’s been hurt, he’s put up, at worst, a minimum of 3.9 oWAR (bref) or 130 OPS+. That’s worth essentially $16-20M on the FA market to replace that production. Braun’s highest AAV is $19M. I wouldn’t say he’s ripping off the Brewers unless you feel like he’s been on PEDs the entire time and is going to turn into Alex Sanchez or Juan Pierre next year.

    • pjmarn6 - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:50 PM

      churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged You believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny too? 80% of the crimes in the U.S. are not solved. Just because the players learned how to cheat and get away with cheating on the drug tests, doesn’t mean that only 25 players have used illegal drugs. I believe that Craig Calceterra is looking for a new stooge. The line forms on the left.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:33 PM

        churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged You believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny too?

        Nope, why would you say that?

        0% of the crimes in the U.S. are not solved. Just because the players learned how to cheat and get away with cheating on the drug tests, doesn’t mean that only 25 players have used illegal drugs.</blockquote.

        I'll take false equivalences for $200 Alex. See, a crime is proof that something actually happened. You are speculating that so many players are taking PEDs. Have any proof that so many are?

    • pjmarn6 - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:03 PM

      churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged You didn’t accurately reply to my comment. Read and study more about the PED’s and how to avoid getting caught. Later when all the suspensions are announced and the details are known, you can tell us all, how baseball allowed these druggies to get away with taking the PED’s for so many years undetected. That seems to be your specialty.
      Remember the Blacksox scandal a special commissioner was appointed to clean up the game, someone outside the game.
      It appears that Selig and all the other baseball people have to step aside and an honest disinterested party has to come in and do what Landis did. The damage to the sport’s reputation led the owners to appoint federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first Commissioner of Baseball.
      Then the damage was confined to one team and one short time span. This problem has been going on for years and no one has the guts to do the right thing and ban the players outright, and put in such obscene penalties, that taking drugs will immediately be stopped. We are not dealing with small children. These druggies are adults who willfully destroyed baseball.

      • daveitsgood - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        You mean the same Kenesaw Mountain Landis who worked to delay the racial integration of baseball?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:38 PM

        You didn’t accurately reply to my comment. Read and study more about the PED’s and how to avoid getting caught. Later when all the suspensions are announced and the details are known, you can tell us all, how baseball allowed these druggies to get away with taking the PED’s for so many years undetected. That seems to be your specialty.

        I always love when I get accused of writing something I never wrote, and then told to actually read and study more. You’re like that banpeds moron we keep disproving, and then he disappears into the abyss.

        You said “so many players” are using drugs, and I posted how few are actually caught. Now, it’s not exactly a specific reply to that comment, but I’m also not dumb enough to believe all these players are getting around the tests. Know how I know, because we’re not dealing with a bunch of mensa candidates here. We’re dealing with players who are writing checks for illegal drugs. We’re dealing with players who ship drugs via FedEx to their own dogs. We’re dealing with players who openly talk about this stuff amongst friends.

        Then the damage was confined to one team and one short time span

        If you think gambling was confined to the White Sox in this period, maybe you should do a little more reading?

        These druggies are adults who willfully destroyed baseball.

        $7B in revenue last year and climbing. How is the sport being destroyed again?

    • El Bravo - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:58 PM

      I’m drunk down so have nothing to say any longer of relevance so fuck all you motherfuckers (in the nicest way possible). I leave you with this:

      http://www.theonion.com/articles/brewers-worried-ryan-braun-suspension-might-put-se,33227/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=LinkPreview:1:Default

  3. sc101071 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    Yeah… it should be voidable by the club only. Problem solved.

    • kylekaestner - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

      What’s to stop clubs from conspiring to get a player to test positive to get out of contracts? Angels would’ve had serious motivation to get Wells to test positive to get out of that deal

      • sc101071 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

        If they are conspiring w/the player why don’t they just come to an agreement on the contract?

      • yxlbar - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:34 PM

        What do you mean by conspiring? Injecting them with something (as Craig talks about)? That would be a felony, a massive scandal if caught, and would endanger a team’s ownership and valuation.

        Heck, teams have a similar incentive to get a good player the year before free agency to test positive now, especially if they are having a bad season. Sign them for less, laugh all the way to the bank. But it doesn’t happen.

    • Alex K - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      Did you actually read the post?

      • 18thstreet - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        Did you actually need to ask?

      • Alex K - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:40 PM

        Yeah, I didn’t really need to.

  4. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:12 PM

    What are the chances teams start insisting on having PED-related clauses in contracts, megadeal or otherwise?

    • sdelmonte - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      I think this is not actually permitted in the current CBA. Otherwise, wouldn’t some owners and GMs insist on that for players like Melky Cabrera or Bartolo Colon?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:33 PM

      The JDA specifically says it is the exclusive drug punishment mechanism. Void language in contracts is not permitted.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:43 PM

        I see. Is it possible that, after all the dust from this Biogenesis stuff settles, that will be on the table when the current deal expires?

      • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:36 PM

        I doubt it. Neither the league nor the union has ever suggested an interest in this.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        Yeah I haven’t heard this talked about, but it would seem like a pretty powerful deterrent. If a player knows upon signing a deal that it could (though not necessarily will) be voided by his team if he gets suspended for a drug violation then he might think twice about doping. Players seem will to risk part of their seven- or eight-figure salaries, but what if the whole thing was on the line. My guess is he would be far less likely to risk that suspension. Although, based on Braun’s hubris last year, who really knows.

        Even though neither side has previously talked about this, it will be interesting to see if that changes after all these unprecedented punishments are handed down.

  5. adge84 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    The one thing I’m dreading is about to come to fruition. All media outlets will cease talking about actual games and once again focus solely on the steroids stories. Forget highlights make way for analysis about the same story from the same angles day in and day out for the rest of the summer. Even you pbt failed to mention the rays pulling within a half game of Boston and Moore pitching his first cg because of Braun. I can’t stand the media.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      We do a recap post every morning which covers all 15 games. Both Moore and the Rays were mentioned. First recap, actually, with a picture of Moore and everything.

    • gerryb323 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:35 PM

      Did you read “And that happened”?

    • km9000 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      It’s what readers and viewers want. Same with celebrity gossip and reality shows.

    • eightyraw - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      I can’t think of single place where I could read about the Rays. Stupid media!

  6. rayburns - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Team has the option to void the contract but retains the rights to the player. Thus a player making the minimum who tries to duck out from under the contract could be retained under the existing contract at the team’s discretion. Should the player be someone like Braun or Rodriguez, then the team could void the contract but retain the rights to the player so they could have the option of resigning the player at a more reasonable rate, or trading the player and getting some form of compensation.

    That way, players who violate the drug policies of MLB would not be able to ‘game’ the system and teams would not be doubly penalized for making an investment.

    • American of African Descent - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:27 PM

      That’s right. And we can use your “retain the rights to the player” rule to finally get out from under free agency and go back to the good old days of the reserve clause!

      • nderdog - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        I was thinking of something similar, but after they return from the suspension, they should just automatically get minimum salary for the next x years. That might make some of these guys actually think a bit before deciding that PEDs are the answer.

    • rayburns - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      Or maybe they should be condemned to writing blogs on baseball… that would certainly be a deterrence ….

  7. Jonny 5 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Journal Sentinel, dateline April, 2011:

    Both sides did so, leading to the announcement Thursday that Braun and the club had agreed to a five-year extension worth $105 million, a historic deal in many ways. The extension, which runs from 2016 though 2020, also includes a mutual option for 2021 worth up to $20 million with a $4 million buyout.

    As further proof that Braun wants to be a career Brewer, a no-trade provision was included in the deal. To help the club stay competitive and have the financial wherewithal to sign other players, Braun agreed to defer an unspecified amount of the money.

    Braun’s extension pays him salaries of $19 million in 2016, 2017 and 2018; $18 million in 2019; and $16 million in 2020. It also includes a $10 million signing bonus, which in addition to his $4 million salary this year brings his pay more in line with players of his stature and production.

    The $4 million buyout in 2021 brings the total guaranteed value of the extension to $105 million.

    “It was conducted more as a partnership than a negotiation between a player and team,” said [Brewers owner] Attanasio, who traveled from Los Angeles with his wife, Debbie, to participate in an afternoon media session at Miller Park.

    “Ryan reached out to us in spring training about wanting to be a Brewer for the rest of his career. That spoke loudly to me and Doug. Also want to thank Doug. This is a major move for the franchise. It’s a very, very exciting day.”

    Braun reached out to THEM, which is kinda backwards if you ask me. It’s strange he would want to avoid becoming a FA and possibly go to a WS contender for more money. Am I wrong to think he scratched this deal out as quickly as he could because he knew he was in more trouble? Is there any way for the team to prove this enough to scrap a deal and legally?

    (posted this already but it fits better here)

  8. jayscarpa - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    If I take a piss test here in the real world and fail I will be fired – IF the owner doesn’t need me too much. It’s not fair to some of the players but they cheated, tough luck.

    You could also do something like this: If the club decides not to void, the player gets suspended for 162 and his service time does not get credited.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

      You should join a union.

      • jayscarpa - Jul 23, 2013 at 8:14 PM

        The MLBPA has decided to side with the clean majority. MLB has best-interest-of-the-game clauses. The PED users are on their own.

    • jwbiii - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:17 PM

      You are an at-will employee. MLB players are under contract. Your employer can fire you with (usually) minimal termination pay. You can quit and put your services on the market for the highest bidder.

  9. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Cashman would have been spiking ARod’s coconut water since 2010 if he thought it would help him void the contract. The system is fine. It is doing what it is supposed to do. People will always cheat anyway. The best wecan do is hope to catch and punish the cheaters.

    The more extreme option is to make it all legal in MLB. Not the patently illegal stuff, of course. MLB couldn’t suddenly decide crystal meth is legal (not even the blue stuff). However, if a doctor prescribes testosterone for a player with a medical need and supervises its use, so be it.

  10. shipitplease - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    This is exactly why you need to make suspensions for PED use longer. If you have to sit for a couple years for your first offense, odds are, nobody will give you an even remotely sizeable contract when you return. Being out of the game that long will make teams more hesitant to sign you for more money/years

  11. jeremysgordon - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    So I guess only football players can admit to taking steroids and “Deer Antler Spray” before the Super Bowl and no one screams bloody murder.

    I think this post tangentially brings up another point, that owners and GMs often knew or suspected that many of their players took steroids and until very recently, didn’t care.

  12. largebill - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    Voiding doesn’t make legal sense because of the problems it would cause. However, more important than voiding a contract or two is teams who get burned should serve as a warning sign to other teams. Even without the PED nonsense, long term contracts (5,6, 7 years) are a huge risk due to potential injury or production decline. As a fan of a mid-market team I don’t want the Indians committing to a player for more than 4 years and even that length carries risk.

  13. babyfarkmcgeezax - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    The River of Tears is flowing freely from Craig’s eyes today

    • unclemosesgreen - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:53 PM

      You win for most tiresome commenter of the day – but unfortunately you aren’t quite the dumbest piece of shit on this particular comment page. Aim a little lower next time and maybe you can get a clean sweep on both ignominy and idiocy.

      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:24 PM

        What was that? Sorry, I couldn’t hear you over Craig’s non-stop crying.

      • unclemosesgreen - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:27 PM

        Well done – now you sweep.

  14. brewcrewfan54 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    I’m going to go the opposite direction and say give PED users a raise!

    • 18thstreet - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      I’d be interested in a punishment that would also hit the team. As in — and this is surely illegal — the player doesn’t get paid but the team has to pay his salary to the Red Cross.

      I believe the teams knew, know, and will know which of their players are on PEDs. Voiding the contract gives them a get-out-of-jail free card, and why?

  15. heyblueyoustink - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=image+pitchfork&qpvt=image+pitchfork&FORM=IGRE

    Take your pick.

    • jwbiii - Jul 23, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Those ASU cheerleaders look kind of cute!

  16. klbader - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    You could just make the contract voidable, rather than void. Let the teams decide.

  17. theinconvienenttruth - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:34 PM

    I have a suggestion, but let me make it clear I don’t advocate voiding contracts, because I believe teams should be held responsible as well:

    The contract can be voided if a player tests positive for PED use BUT the money remaining on the contract should be dead money…as in the remaining salary cannot be used in an acquisition of future players via trade, free agency. Possibly only used in resigning current players or maybe used in trade and free agency 3 years later.

    • Alex K - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

      So the owners just have to keep it? I’m sure that will really grind their gears.

    • eshine76 - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:37 PM

      How does that work in a league with no salary cap? All it takes is for the owner / GM to say “we’re going to ‘spend’ X% more this year than last year…” and problem solved.

  18. babyfarkmcgeezax - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    How much more PED-supporting garbage is Craig going to bang out today? “Hmmm, maybe if I keep peddling more and more mindless horseshit articles that all say the exact same thing in 5,000 different ways about how Ryan Braun shouldn’t be criticized for being a lying, cheating, self-preserving douchebag, maybe this will all go away and everyone will think of me as the legend I am in my own mind!”

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:38 PM

      Probably a lot more, actually, seeing as though you clearly haven’t read any of them yet.

      • babyfarkmcgeezax - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        Oh I haven’t, have I? I think it’s time for your daily steroid injection. And the fact that you actually responded to me means only one thing, seeeeeeeee? I WIN.

      • Old Gator - Jul 23, 2013 at 5:34 PM

        That’s how we got out of Vietnam, Iraq and shortly Afghanistan – declare ourselves the winners and left, although no one else thought so. No one thinks you won either with that junior high school playground level rhetorical gambit, moron.

  19. nobody78 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    I think people would like clubs to have the power to void contracts, not for them to be compelled to do so. You’d only defend the latter if you also thought the player should be banned from playing baseball for the duration of his contract.

    Right now, the CBA says what it says and both teams and players are bound by that. The discretionary rules which have come into play in the Biogenesis case are an odd exception which one hopes will not become the rule. Even if they do, I would say that it’s only fair that the standards for offenses and punishment stay pretty close to those set by the CBA for cases in which players test positive.

    In the future, if teams want to write a “steroid clause” into contracts, or if the players and owners want to work one out through collective bargaining, great. I actually think it’s a reasonable power to give to teams, and that it would be a powerful deterrent to steroid use. But you can’t just impose it by fiat, and there’s already a system in place, which binds until it’s changed.

    Any team that deliberately tainted a players’ sample would be guilty of a major infraction and subject to enormous sanctions. One can reasonably hope that teams would not be THAT unethical. Whatever bad blood there may be between players and owners, I think that there is enough trust between them that this possibility would not be a concern.

    • Alex K - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

      We could also reasonably hope that owners would never collude, either, but that has happened more than once. Also, how could anyone go about proving that they were spiked? It seems wholly impossible to me.

      • nobody78 - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        Well, the same incentive exists now. You don’t pay a player’s salary when he’s suspended (or banned for life).

      • Alex K - Jul 23, 2013 at 9:19 PM

        Not really. If a player knows they were spiked once you don’t think they would take extra super precautions to assure that it didn’t happen again? They have reason to at least semi trust the team before that happens. If the contracts are voidable at the first offense with no way to prove that a player had been spiked then it’s basically a get out of jail free card for the owners.

  20. laserrocketarm31 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Great stuff as always. Keep pushing the voice of reason before mass media destroys the basic principles of the game.

  21. Old Gator - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:47 PM

    How would anyone like to be playing for Scrooge McLoria in a world where a bit of testosterone slipped into your Gatorade could get your contract voided?

    Does anyone really doubt that the Feesh’s answer to Sweeney Todd and the Chihuahua, a couple of swine who unapologetically lied to the Macondo city and county commissions about their income and profitability and cost their host community literally billions of dollars it desperately needs for civic services (and which cut back firefighting and emergency rescue staffs just this week, for example) would sabotage some ballplayer with a hefty contract who was having a bad season or was a chronically injured type?

    Really.

  22. bgrillz - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    It’s the only way guys are going to get the message. You think Braun cares that he is missing the final 65 games of a campaign where he is dinged up and team is going nowhere? He is basically paying a 3.5 million dollar fine. He still has a massive amount of cash left to be paid on his contract. If guys cheat to get these huge contracts, they should have them voided. Go earn a new one somewhere else, and do it legit this time.

  23. bh192012 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    1st offense, 50% of your salary goes to drug abuse charity, 50 game suspension.
    2nd offense, 75% of your salary goes to drug abuse charity, 100 game suspension.
    3rd offense, 100% of your salary goes to drug abus charity, lifetime (HOF etc) ban.

    This kind of sliding scale would really make a player think twice about getting caught, especially once they’re in the majors.

    I bet this kind of penalty applied to drunk driving would cut down on that as well.

  24. holleywood9 - Jul 23, 2013 at 2:56 PM

    This article is a joke. It would be a team option to void it if they wanted to. Holy cow I can’t believe it took one sentence to fix ur entire argument.

    • Alex K - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

      Pro tip: Read the article before commenting to see if your “fix” is addressed.

      Hint: It is.

  25. holleywood9 - Jul 23, 2013 at 3:01 PM

    And if voided give the team the option to resign him to a different contract, in which player gets one year arbitration period in which to sign. If team doesn’t want arbitration year he is released. Something like that. Ya there’s a lot of tape but that’s why they get paid more. To figure out answers to problems like this

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