The next steps in Major League Baseball’s evolution are now just starting to be taken. When all of the drug speculation, tests, reports, and witch hunts began, the most interesting aspect of all of it was to see what the industry would do with players who were caught. For the most part, the caught offenders have basically faded away or already had a long term deal in place. Alex Rodriguez could continue to play after admitting he used performance enhancing drugs because of his 10 year deal with the Yankees. Other players fell into retirement or simply never really mattered. There was Manny Ramirez, but he became irrelevant on the field as his production dramatically declined.
But, the inevitable day has finally come. There are more to come such as the next Hall of Fame election, but this day finally came. It is a day when a player who is fresh off of a drug suspension hits the free agent market. The industry now has the delicate and difficult decision in trying to project performance when signing such a player. Was the player purely a creation of a drug or was the talent always present?
The Toronto Blue Jays concluded their whirlwind of a week by signing Melky Cabrera to a two year $16 million deal. The 28 year old switch hitting outfield is coming off a career season that saw him hit .346/.390/.516 with 25 doubles, 10 triples, 11 home runs, 60 RBI, and 13 stolen bases in 113 games. That season followed up his breakout year of .305/.339/.470 with 44 doubles, 5 triples, 18 home runs, 87 RBI, and 20 stolen bases. Of course, those statistics are clouded by Cabrera’s recent 50 game drug suspension that caused him to miss the last part of the season and the Giants taking the stand to not reinstate him during the playoffs.
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