A week ago, Paul Byrd’s $8MM option for 2008 seemed like a no-brainer for the Tribe. He kept his ERA under 5.00, made 31 starts, and won 15 games. $8MM on a low-risk one-year deal would’ve been an easy decision even for the cost-conscious Indians.
But now we’ve got a little HGH controversy on our hands. Ken Rosenthal discusses the situation over at FOX Sports. Rosenthal is correct in that Byrd never acted like someone who had something to hide. He didn’t disguise his purchase of HGH in any way (though MLB didn’t agree with his contention that they’d been informed). Byrd even brings up HGH in his upcoming book, mentioning that he resisted the urge to take more than the prescribed dosage. On the other hand, even at the recommended dosage Byrd was "able to recover quicker from pitching." At what point do we call this cheating? Is Byrd getting generous treatment because he’s a devout white guy?
As Mark Shapiro says, he doesn’t have all the information yet. Nor does the public, of course. Honestly if the HGH situation somehow causes the Indians to decline the option, Byrd stands to make more money on the open market.