- That a speedy player like Gordon would get busted for PED use might seem surprising, but PED use isn’t just about power, it’s about endurance and maximizing small edges, ESPN’s Doug Glanville writes. Glanville relates that, as a former player, he felt exhausted at the end of a long season, and he adds that other players do as well. A fast singles hitter might feel the temptation to take PEDs in order to get through the grind, according to Glanville.
- That written, some within the game were shocked by Gordon’s suspension, as Glanville’s colleague Jayson Stark notes. The news was particularly surprising given that Gordon had already signed a long-term deal. “This is the single most bizarre case I’ve ever come across, because he tested positive after signing a $50 million contract,” says one team exec. “He could have hit .220 and never stolen another base, and he still would have gotten paid for the next five years.” Stark further notes that the proliferation of PED busts so far this year — Chris Colabello, Abraham Almonte, Jenrry Mejia, and so on — shows that testing is improving.
- Gordon isn’t to be pitied for his actions, but MLB’s culture is perhaps too forgiving of PED users, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. Gordon will still receive the bulk of the money his contract promises him. Other players accused of PED use, like Nelson Cruz, have received lengthy contracts later, while still others, like Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, have returned as coaches. And — as Stark and Sherman both note — MLB’s brutal, travel-heavy schedules motivate players to take PEDs as well.
- Members of the players union are considering increasing penalties for players who test positive for PEDs, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Gordon and Colabello “are established guys,” says Athletics closer and player rep Sean Doolittle. “These aren’t guys fighting for a spot or going up and down. These are guys who are hitting over .300. We thought we ratcheted (the drug policy) up enough, and apparently we haven’t.” Doolittle adds that the players are considering ways to steepen the financial penalties for busted players — a player who tests positive might lose his salary for an entire year, for example. Doolittle notes, though, that voiding an entire contract might be problematic, in that such a steep penalty could suddenly give a player’s team an immense amount of money to spend, effectively hurting other teams competing for free agent talent.
- MLB and the players union will have “no choice” but to increase PED penalties in the next collective bargaining agreement, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes. Perhaps the penalty for a first offense could increase to a full-season ban, with the second offense earning a lifetime ban, Nightengale suggests.