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Brad Ziegler isn’t thrilled with Jhonny Peralta’s $50 million payday

Nov 24, 2013, 4:00 PM EDT

Getty Brad Ziegler Getty Images

Diamondbacks closer Brad Ziegler, one of the best follows among MLB players on twitter, had a little something to say about the Cardinals’ decision to give Jhonny Peralta a four-year, $52 million contract.

It’s worth noting that Ziegler, the Diamondbacks’ union rep, isn’t targeting Peralta himself, but it’s clear that he’d prefer the cash go to clean players instead. Ziegler added that he wants harsher penalties for PED users.

Free agent reliever Chuckie Fick, a Triple-A veteran who reached the majors for the first time in 2012, expressed a similar sentiment in harsher terms, though he’s since deleted the tweet.

It’s safe to say a lot of other players who will never sign $50 million contracts are thinking the same thing right about now.

  1. rcj22001 - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Any player on the verge would realistically consider PED’s, as their future well-being could very well depend on it. Ziegler is right, the penalties need to be more of a deterrent. Honestly, at this point there is no excuse good enough to allow a player to continue his career if he tested positive for PED’s. No more leniency, if you get caught, you’re out for good, period.

    • paperlions - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:35 PM

      That’s just silly.

      This is baseball. Entertainment. If a guy takes PEDs that is far less important than many hundreds of other crimes people commit, and they are allowed to continue with their careers. Every corporation is loaded with executives that that break laws to make billions of dollars and to screw over other people. Even when they get caught, almost nothing happens to them. Rapists and murderers are allowed to make a living after they get out of jail (if they go to jail)…heck, there is a rapist on the Rays roster. Drunk driving is a far worse violation than PED use, and players that do that don’t even get a slap on the wrist, much less told they can’t work anymore because…you know…think of the children.

      • rcj22001 - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        what’s silly is to say that because someone else is allowed to break rules and get away with it that these guys should be able to, too. This topic isn’t about other people in other professions. This is about professional baseball players taking PED’s, stay on topic.

      • paperlions - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:39 PM

        No, what is silly is to suggest a penalty that is not commensurate with the violation committed.

        Taking PEDs is only considered a big deal to you because someone told you it was. Feel free to list all of the horrible side effects associated with PEDs and all of the evidence that they make players (specifically offensive players) more productive.

        The most dangerous PED MLB players take are amphetamines….those are probably also the most effective.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        A lifetime ban for one offense is extreme especially given the potential for a false positive, but he’s right about there needing to be MUCH harsher penalties.

        The reality is that the benefits of PED use for exceed the risks of getting caught and punished. As long as that continues it will encourage people to cheat which incentivizes people who otherwise wouldn’t take PEDs to consider it as a means of keeping up with the Joneses. It creates a culture where people have to seriously consider jeopardizing their long term health in order to continue with their career. There are only 30 starting SS jobs in the majors and that’s one that belongs to a guy base on performance that, at least to some extent, was predicated on PED use.

      • paperlions - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Yes, but this is true for many things and no one clamors to change those things.

        The benefit of collusion by the owners to cheat players out of hundreds of millions of dollars in salary far outweighs the risks, as evidenced by the fact that the owners have repeatedly colluded against the players during the relatively short history of FA….but no one is suggesting that owners that do so should be stripped of ownership or banned from baseball for a time.

        The point is that people cheat in everything they do and in most cases the cheating has far worse consequences than in PED use. Singling out PED use for harsher penalties while ignoring every other form of cheating in baseball and in society is hypocritical. Specifically, it doesn’t affect you, so you are in favor of making penalties more harsh….I am sure your attitude would be different if the penalties could be applied to you, especially if false allegations could stick.

      • jerrymacdaid - Nov 24, 2013 at 5:41 PM

        “Every corporation is loaded with executives that that break laws to make billions of dollars and to screw over other people.” Seriously? Is that your defense of PED users?

        The statement is patently false on its face and completely unsupportable by fact. For the handful of executives that are caught committing crimes, they are prosecuted and pay a price. It may not be enough of a price in your view (and I might agree with that in some cases) but that is exactly what folks are arguing here. The price for getting caught breaking the rules does not appear to be much of a deterrent in the case of PEDs.

        When even the players agree, seems like it is likely to be true. So let them fix that. We can separately go after bad execs, tax evaders or whatever other offending group. But just because you think corp execs are underpunished does not mean PED users should be ignored.

      • jm91rs - Nov 24, 2013 at 7:33 PM

        Are you really trying to argue that PEDs are not effective for some players? That argument is asinine and you know it. Maybe some of the ped hitters were canceled out by the ped pitchers, but player after player from that era can tell you it impacted their performance in a positive way. Now as to why they’re bad for the game, I don’t have and answer and I don’t care, but they do have an impact.

      • dinofrank60 - Nov 24, 2013 at 8:11 PM

        If baseball is entertainment, how are Astros fans being entertained?

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 24, 2013 at 8:22 PM

        Maybe some of the ped hitters were canceled out by the ped pitchers, but player after player from that era can tell you it impacted their performance in a positive way.

        Except these are the same group of players that think wearing a titanium bracelet around their wrists and/or neck impacts them as well. There’s a reason placebo studies work because the mind is an amazing thing. However, that doesn’t mean that the PEDs had the impact you think they did.

        [not arguing either way, but taking the word of the person using is not good evidence]

      • cohnjusack - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:22 PM

        what’s silly is to say that because someone else is allowed to break rules and get away with it that these guys should be able to, too.

        But, he didn’t get away with it!. He got caught! He was suspended for 1/3 of the season! He lost 1/3rd of his salary!

      • cohnjusack - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:37 PM

        Are you really trying to argue that PEDs are not effective for some players?

        I don’t know about paper, but I will argue this until I’m blue in the face. I think steroids do help some players, and don’t help others. In fact, Baseball Between The Numbers had a whole chapter comparing statistics of minor leaguers pre and post steroids busts, and a great many of them showed no real difference in performance. I urge you to read it.

        And why would you expect different? Steroids aren’t just some magical pill that makes you hit a baseball 500 feet. There are different dosages, different types of steroids, different workout regimes that go along with them. Of course the effects will vary greatly.

      • jm91rs - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:44 PM

        I understand placebo, and in a sport like baseball I think confidence is so important that placebos might have an effect, but not the types of effect we saw for awhile there. I’ve read 1st hand accounts from guys bouncing around the minors with low 90 mph fastballs and suddenly hitting triple digits after deciding to take PEDs. And we all saw McGwire, Sosa, and bonds. There’s a reason some of the biggest names in baseball had evidence that they used, and that’s because it helped them become legends. I tend to have the attitude that it’s all good because the playing field was pretty level with many people using, but I’m not going to act like the crazy baseball I watched in my youth was all because of a juiced baseball or smaller ball parks.

      • paperlions - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:58 PM

        The problem with that narrative is that it ignores all of the other contributing factors.

        All of the evidence suggests that steroids help pitchers more than hitters because of the physical toll pitching takes on the body. Similarly, all of the evidence suggests that amphetamines help hitters more than steroids.

        The boost in HR rate is 100% coincident in time with the introduction of a new bouncier and lighter ball, the incredible shrinking strike zone, and the tendency to build tiny HR friendly parks. Everyone didn’t decide to stark taking steroids at the same time, but HR rates went up at the same rate across the entire league, NOT just for particular players. Do you really think everyone decided to start using steroids at the same time?

      • paperlions - Nov 24, 2013 at 10:01 PM

        People love to cite Bonds hitting 73 HRs as an example of steroid use. Sure, he used steroids. Lot of them…for YEARS. His second highest HR total in his career was 49. Outliers happen.

        The fact is that no one knows what effect different PED had, how consistent the effect was, or how to quantify that effect. Assuming the effect was zero is likely far closer to reality that assuming the effect was large….again, because a lot of people have tried to find the signal of PED use in the offensive numbers in MLB and what they find instead are the signals related to other factors (ball composition, park sizes, etc).

      • nbjays - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:40 AM

        “If baseball is entertainment, how are Astros fans being entertained?”

        By visiting teams, I guess…

      • georgebrett - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:44 AM

        This year, during a certain point in mlb, there were 20 players with at least 20 homeruns. Ten years ago on that same date in baseball there were 120.

      • paperlions - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM

        And?

        The only explanation is not steroids, even if you really think both a) than nearly everyone 10 years ago used steroids and b) nearly no one now uses steroids.

        A lot of factors affect HR rates, and evidence strongly suggests that they do so far more than steroids (or other PEDs).

        Strike outs are way up since 10 yrs ago because the called strike zone is much larger now. HRs/contact rates have changed much less. Many pitcher parks exist that did not 10 years ago. Ball composition may have been changed again.

        If you look at HR rates through time, there is no way one can conclude that steroids were the cause….unless you really think that all of MLB suddenly started using them on the same date.

    • cohnjusack - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:13 PM

      Well, let’s go right beyond reason and straight to crazy town!

      Lifetime ban for PEDs! What about corked bats? What about amphetamines? Or do we only count the PEDs that you are most a-scared of?

      Also, 50 games IS a deterrent. You know how I know this? Because a pretty vast majority of people agree that there are far, far less players using PEDs today than were using them 15 years ago.

      • ptfu - Nov 25, 2013 at 12:07 AM

        Thank you. Let’s not make the perfect the enemy of the good. Maybe the 50-100-life penalty scheme won’t deter everyone. Maybe there are still people desperate or crazy enough (or coldly calculating!) to take PEDs anyway and risk the punishment.

        But if it deters most people then it’s better than what we had before. If 50-100-Life has partly/mostly cleaned up the game (along with better testing) then it’s been a Good Thing. Maybe there’s more that could be done, but the current scheme not stopping everyone does not mean it has failed.

      • georgebrett - Nov 26, 2013 at 11:05 AM

        The problem is that MLB doesn’t have the means to test for the newer substances that are out there. There are a lot of juicers in the game today but they can’t get caught because of the tests available.

  2. missingdiz - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    Peralta was making $6 million last year, so the suspension cost him $1.8 million. Nobody really knows what difference, if any, the PED use made in Peralta’s performance. So it’s a stretch to say he was rewarded for cheating. Anyway, he “did the time” — if that’s not enough, change the rules. But stigmatizing somebody for the rest of their life isn’t the way to go, even though that’s what happens in the “real world” to former convicts. Especially when the stigmatizing is so selective–e.g., Matt Williams is going to be a manager. One would think that putting a “cheater” in a leadership position would be a bit more scandalous than hiring Peralta to play short.

    One last thing–if teams systematically shunned or underpaid players who have been busted for PED use that would be collusion. They tried that before, but it didn’t turn out so well.

  3. paperlions - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    These are horrible logic fails. First, they are assuming that huge effects exist that no one has been able to detect. Second, they are assuming that the huge payday comes as a result of an effect no one can detect rather than the fact that the players getting these contracts are simply great at baseball and baseball is swimming in cash these days.

    Plus, another example of a D-Back doing the right thing more often than any other team. What a bunch of judgmental jackwagons. There is approximately a 0% chance that no player on their 40-man roster has ever taken PEDs….the same as every other team. But hey, as long as you don’t get caught, keep throwing stones.

    • jerrymacdaid - Nov 24, 2013 at 5:46 PM

      Here is a logic fail: paperlions does not think there is any provable impact so the PED ban is silly so there really should be no consequences. What does paperlion’s opinion have to do with any of this?

      • forsch31 - Nov 24, 2013 at 8:08 PM

        This is what it has to do with with it: People are upset that Peralta got a nice new contract the season after he served a 50-game suspension for PED use. That PED use took place in spring of 2012, not 2013, the latter in which Peralta played and hit much better than during the season “assisted” by his PED use.

        So, basically, Peralta got caught and served his suspension. He then got a contract that was based of his more recent and allegedly clean season. But players, media, and fans aren’t happy with that–they want more, lasting punishment that goes beyond, because in their eyes, they see a tainted player still making market rate, despite the fact he probably earned it without cheating. The fact that transgression happened in 2012 somehow isn’t applying, most likely because people aren’t interested in the actual affects and longevity of PEDs in relation to a player’s performance. They see a player who took PEDs, therefore, whatever success that player had is due to the PEDs. That’s logic fail 1.

        And then the problem statement: “It’s not enough of a deterrent.” There’s this idea that severe punishments will deter PED use. Which is fine, but there’s this undercurrent idea that because we’ve had another scandal with a handful of players who found a way around the system, or that players continue being caught, that it hasn’t been a deterrent. Anybody who followed baseball in the 1990s and was paying attention will tell you it has been a deterrent; PED back then was widespread and open, and players today who want to use need to set up elaborate schemes like the Biogenesis operation to get what they want, and the randomness of the testing makes it difficult to keep up PED even if you abuse it.

        The real problem is that it isn’t enough deterrent and won’t be until PEDs are no longer in baseball. Got news for you: That’s never going to happen, not when Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle attempted the equivalent of taking HGH in their eras, and amphetamines, which Hank Aaron has admitted taking once, have been in the game since World War II . No punishment is severe enough to completely eradicate PEDs from the game. If the death penalty and life sentences don’t get rid of murder, what makes you think a lifetime ban for PEDs will do the same? That’s logic fail 2.

        Sure, there’s things they can do, such as add a contract penalty lasting an x-number of years, or instituting better random testing. But before we pull out the pitchforks, people should ask themselves what exactly are they trying to do with the punishments, and if its realistic.

        And ask Boston fans if they think David Ortiz should have been banned for life for testing positive for PEDs back in 2003. Ask if we should purge Ruth, Aaron, Mantle, and others with the taint of PEDs, no matter how slight, from the history of the game. There’s a moral cliff people are dancing on, and I really don’t think they’re paying attention to the implications of the fall.

  4. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Oh look another player who doesn’t understand basic econ and just thinks post hoc ergo propter hoc*. Look at the list of players who’ve been suspended for PED use and then look at their next contracts. Outside Peralta, who has received a $50M deal? Who has received a $40M deal or $30M? Maybe it has nothing to do with the PEDs and the scarcity of talent in certain positions.

    But no, has to be the PEDs…

    *http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL_vHDjG5Wk

  5. roverboy1949 - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    They will never be able to stop the PED use. The bad guys are always going to be one step ahead. You might as well just say it’s OK to use and give the money they save on testing to charity. Have we really EVER seen a time in any sports where there wasn’t some form of drug use? Greenies, coke, PED’s, and the rest. They have always been around and always will be in one form or another. I hate to be a “glass half empty” guy, but it’s the truth. If the money is there, they will use. FACT!

    • deadeyedesign23 - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:44 PM

      So the solution is to encourage a system where if you want to compete on the same playing field as everyone else you have to take steroids even if you otherwise wouldn’t have? Brilliant.

      • paperlions - Nov 24, 2013 at 5:04 PM

        Go review the list of players who have been caught using PEDs, most especially, review MiLB players that have been caught. Then tell me how much you think PEDs help players play better baseball.

  6. pastabelly - Nov 24, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    It’s refreshing to see players taking stands against PEDRO use.

  7. spudchukar - Nov 24, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    Throw overhand you cheat.

  8. moogro - Nov 24, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Sounds like monetary penalties need to be added to the mix. Maybe a percentage of the contract to charity.

  9. aphillieated - Nov 24, 2013 at 5:49 PM

    Ryan Howard should use PEDs.

    • scotttheskeptic - Nov 24, 2013 at 6:43 PM

      Is there a PED to improve his pitch selection and/or make him actually take a stance where he might have a chance at a pitch on the outside corner? If so, I’ll help pay for it.

  10. offseasonblues - Nov 24, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    A flawed system doesn’t excuse the undesirable incentives generated by that system. It means the system should be fixed.

    Paperlions is justified in asking what the connections are between “peds” and performance, but it is the connection between using a banned substance and the subsequent contract that’s at issue here.

    I do wish MLB would provide a list. This substance provides energy but it rots your brain. This one builds muscle but that can lead to damage to other soft tissue. This one covers up the use of this other one. Etc.

    but even in the absence of that list, I understand why a player trying to follow the rules would be frustrated with Peralta’s contract on the heels of his violation of those rules.

  11. captaincanoe - Nov 24, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    If you want a deterrent then make the MLB team responsible too. Fine them 5 million dollars if someone on there team is caught. Second offense in a year take away a year of playoff eligibility. The teams could test players every week. Write in their contracts that the team holds 25% of their wages until contract is done. If at any anytime they get busted they forfeit it. There are a lot of things MLB could do.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 24, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      Write in their contracts that the team holds 25% of their wages until contract is done. If at any anytime they get busted they forfeit it. There are a lot of things MLB could do.

      Players already lose money if they are suspended. If Arod loses 50 games next year, he forfeits $7.7M. If he loses 100 games it’s $15.4M, etc.

  12. disgracedfury - Nov 24, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    MLB is going out of it’s way to destroy A-rod but Peralta got $50 mill and he can stop taking PED because he got his money like Melky Cabrera did. Peralta cheated to get this contract.

    Now players can take PED’s hope not to get caught until they hit free agency and than just suck for the rest of their career.This isn’t helping the PED battle.

  13. mvd513 - Nov 24, 2013 at 6:25 PM

    So, they’re basically saying Peralta (and all PED users) should get colluded out of a job? Whats the alternative? Play at league minumum in a “prove-your-clean” year? Then what if a player has a clean, good year? He’s a bargain and the owners keep all that extra money? The opposite thing the players should be fighting for. Hm, brillaint. …..lets not forget: Bonds would have played for league minimum (and was still the best hitter in the game) when he was forced out.

    • cohnjusack - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:06 PM

      So, they’re basically saying Peralta (and all PED users) should get colluded out of a job?

      Yes, this is exactly what they want, they just dance around it. There is a horrible part of our society that believes in nothing short of the utter ruin of someone who did something wrong.

  14. grumpyoleman - Nov 24, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    No player has ever benefited from performance enhancing drugs

    #barrybondsballoonfloathead

  15. cohnjusack - Nov 24, 2013 at 9:17 PM

    You know Brad Zeigler, a 100% success rate is not required for something to be a deterrent.

    Yes, players still use PEDs. But I will be my right arm that far fewer players are using them now than did 15 years ago. Which mean the suspensions are, a’hem, *a deterrent*.

  16. metalhead65 - Nov 24, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    you can site whatever studies you want about ped’s not helping players but you are blind to reality if you do. Barry Bonds does not go from hitting 48 home runs 1 year to hitting 75 or whatever he ended up hitting without them. he does not show up to camp with muscles he never had before or a head 3 times the size it was the year before without ped’s. same thing with sosa and all the other cheaters who suddenly got stronger and hit more home runs than they ever had before. and this guy is right,50 games isn’t enough or they would not keep getting caught. you think peralta or anybody else would not give up 50 games to get the contract he just did? of course not and it paid off for him. now if he had missed 100 games without pay he may think twice before he does it. either way this is as bad as the drug policy that allowed guys like howe and strawberry and the other junkies to get 27 chances before they got in any real trouble. everyone makes mistakes but you do it more than once you should pay for it.

  17. grumpyoleman - Nov 25, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Metalhead65, you are ignoring the very well documented proof by people on here that the fences were moved 100 ft those years, the baseball had some super bouncy ball cores placed in them, and all bats were reinforced with titanium metal. Had nothing to do with the substances those players were taking :(

  18. brucewayne3561 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:17 AM

    For one thing, the use of the words PEDS is being used in a to broad of a sense! There is a diff between PEDS & Steroids! A lot of things could be classified as PEDS! Why would it be ok for a player that hS an exemption to use Adderral , which is basically speed or amphetamines & another player that didn’t have an exemption not to be able to use it & get banned for 50 or a 100 games or for a lifetime ban from the game? That’s absurd ! Especially when most of these exceptions from the Dr’s are not for real medical purposes to begin with! I agree that there has to be change & something hS to be done to clean up the game, but make it fair & on an even playing field for ALL players! Don’t vilify a Cardinals team for signing a player that has been lumped into a category of a so called PED user, when truthfully , we don’t even know for sure all the facts of what he actually used & why he was suspended! Especially when there are players that have tested positive, like David Ortiz of the Red Sox & many others on a list from 10 years ago that wasn’t released to the public or they weren’t even punished like they should have been! All you have to do is look at the Arod case to see how it’s all messed up because of that list ! The higher ups in MLB didn’t want that list to get out & this scandal to become public & tarnish the game & thus mess with the money! Which is the bottom line that’s running the game anyway! Plus there was certain names on that list that they didn’t want released! So to me, don’t put all the blame on the players!

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