Update: MLB, MLBPA announce new drug agreement

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Betances and Nuno win final spots as Yankees finalize bullpen

Friday: MLB and MLBPA have announced the new agreement, effective immediately. First and second time offenders will be suspended 80 and 162 games, respectively. The third offense gets a lifetime ban. There is a shorter suspension for inadvertent use, which much be proved through arbitration. Players who are suspended are also ineligible for the postseason. I don’t like that last part, the player’s punishment should not vary by the quality of his team. The testing programs have been ramped up as well.

Wednesday: Via the AP: MLB and the players’ union are working on a new drug agreement that would increase penalties for performance-enhancing drugs. They hope to have the deal in place by Sunday, before the season starts. “It will be a significant deterrent because players will know they’re not going to just easily walk back into a lineup,” said Travis Tygart, CEO if the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. “It probably is the best policy in professional sports.”

Under the new plan, first and second time offenses would result in 100 and 162-game suspensions, respectively. Ken Rosenthal says the first ban would be 80 games, so there’s some conflicting information right now. There would also be a new 25-game suspension for inadvertent use. I’m interested to see exactly how that will work. The MLBPA has always been pro-PED testing and this wouldn’t be the first time they open up the Collective Bargaining Agreement and Joint Drug Agreement mid-term to make changes. I’m glad they’re working on a way to stiffen penalties while somewhat protecting the players who were not using intentionally. Mistakes do happen.

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Betances and Nuno win final spots as Yankees finalize bullpen
  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Any truth to rumors that this would place Alex Rodriguez on Death Row, complete with extradition to the state nearest to New York with the shortest wait?

    • Eselquetodolosabe

      Yup, most folks are unaware of the “retroactive” punishment clause in the new, ped agreement. 5 years back from opening day, 2014, from what I understand !

      • I’m One

        And it also applies to anyone that has admitted to PED use at any time in their career, regardless if whether or not there was a postive test. At least in A-Rod’s case. This may not apply to Andy Pettitte.

        • JAG

          And would certainly not apply to David Ortiz.

    • TWTR

      Yes, and Bud Lite would pull the switch.

      • Rainy

        Loons over at Lohud are going to make sure they get on that firing line. Lots of morals over there if any of you lost yours. HAHA

        • I’m One

          Lost mine years ago. I doubt they could help. :-)

  • MPierce

    Just make the first offense 162 games, and the second a life-time ban. The only way they’re going to stop using is if they stand to lose more than they’d ever gain. If there are really these “accident” incidents like the inadvertent use suspensions imply, who would risk using failing a first test if an accident could cost them their career? The consequences have to be vicious.

    • mitch

      I think the bigger problem is that guys are still getting away with it too frequently.

      • MPierce

        Don’t disagree with that statement at all.

    • I’m One

      If they’re truely serious about stopping PED use (it seems they are), they need to make it more difficult to get back into the game. Too many guys have come back after a suspension and received substantial contracts. Makes the cheating worth it.

    • Tom K

      That may deter star players, but there really is no way to deter a guy just fighting to get to the big leagues to start their pension clock from using. Those are the players I always suspected would get caught…..because they have so little to lose. Of course, I was wrong about that given how many star players have been caught.

      There is no perfect system. Making the penalties stiffer is a step in the right direction.

      A perfect system would be to find a way to devalue them in free agency, but that is simply not possible. If owners started to completely shy away from all PED users, they will be in court fighting collusion charges.

  • Dan

    I’m definitely happy about the inadvertent use provisions. It would allow them to really stiffen the penalties for intentional use, because the players are worried they could mistakenly get suspended and lose a lot of money.

    • JAG

      I honestly don’t understand how those provisions could even work. Would the player have to prove they were using inadvertently? How do you even prove that?

      • I’m One

        Supply the supplement they believe casued the positive test?

      • mitch

        Yeah that seems like something that will be pretty hard to prove. I don’t understand why they don’t try to steer guys away from doing their own thing as far as supplement use. Why not insist that any supplement is issued through the team trainer/doctor/nutritionist?

        • Ed

          The problem is cases like when JC Romero was suspended.

          MLBPA offered guidance that any supplement bought at retail stores within the US was safe to take. Romero bought a supplement at GNC. He asked the team’s nutritionist if it was safe to take and was told it was. He got a second opinion by an outside nutritionist and was told the same. A few months later, he tested positive. No one disputed that the supplement he bought at GNC was the cause of the test.

          Romero went out of his way to ensure that he was taking a legal supplement, and still got screwed. I believe there are a lot of similar cases with Latin American players, as the standards for supplements are far lower in most Latin American countries.

          Those cases are one of the big reasons MLBPA has hesitated on making the penalties stricter. They know there are already cases of players getting suspended when they don’t deserve it.

    • Steve (different one)

      How do you distinguish between the two?

  • Eddardo Nuney

    Doesn’t go far enough. I think guys like A-Rod should be suspended for life, have their achievements stricken from the record books and lose any future payments on their existing contract. It would be like they never existed. Just like that, they lose their involvement in baseball, their legacy and most importantly their existing contract. If a player is caught using PEDs his existing contract should be torn up and no further salary will be paid to the player. That will get them to stop playing dirty.

    • Eddardo Nuney

      And this would apply retroactively to any ballplayer currently under suspension for PED use, including A-Rod. Especially A-Rod. That $60 million he’s still due would be put back into the Yankees coffers.

      • Capt

        I hope you at least asked Arod to cough before you cupped him

  • Eddardo Nuney

    They should also get the clubs involved in helping to deter use. Only way to do that is take away money. So in the A-Rod scenario why do the Yankees get Alex’s money back when he’s suspended for PED use? Take it away from the club. Fine the club for each player caught with PEDs while under their control and take away draft picks.

    • ALZ

      Unless the club hired trainers supplied those supplements then that is ridiculous. Economics of law tries to figure out who should bear the responsibility of some law being broken. Teams really have no control over a player using steroids, and thus shouldn’t bear the punishments. Should they throw my boss in jail if I go commit a crime? Because that is what you are suggesting.

      • Kiko Jones

        Should they throw my boss in jail if I go commit a crime? Because that is what you are suggesting.

        I’m no lawyer but if your boss is aware that you are committing a crime and said crime benefits him, isn’t he liable at some level?

        Imagine if that had gone into effect in the thick of the steroid era—teams, beat writers and even the Commissioner would have been penalized for looking the other way.

  • RetroRob


  • Eselquetodolosabe

    And in a clandestine lab somewhere, two bio-nerds are hard at work. “Myron, look-look ! The mice are growing muscles at an alarming rate !”

    *’Doctor’ Tony Bosch lurks

  • TWTR

    Different sport, but in light of the recent Irsay arrest, I think it’s only fair to test owners (and commissioners) as well.

  • Aims

    Bentances and Nuno to the bullpen, just announced by Girardi

  • ALZ

    Why make them ineligible?

    If they are suspended, then let them serve their punishment and move on.

  • mustang

    LOVE IT!!!!

    “Players who are suspended are also ineligible for the postseason. I don’t like that last part, the player’s punishment should not vary by the quality of his team. ”


    “Peralta and Cruz returned from their suspensions in time to participate in the playoffs, which angered some of their colleagues. Clark said the union membership wanted to make sure “a player is not coming back and affecting a change in the postseason as a result of the decision that particular player made earlier in the year.”

    So that came from the union.

    1- The union doesn’t want them to do it.

    2- The league doesn’t want them to do it.