|Positive test for Cabrera very troubling||| Print |||Send|
Written by Jim Mancari (Contact & Archive) on August 19, 2012
San Francisco Giants All-Star outfielder Melky Cabrera was suspended for the remainder of the season for testing positive for excess levels of testosterone, a known performance-enhancing drug.
Cabrera admitted his usage and apologized for his mistake after having told a reporter weeks ago that he didn’t know anything about his positive test. Cabrera was on pace to have the best statistical year of his career.
Cabrera joins the list of players suspended for PED use. However, this particular example is very troubling, since it has such a great impact on the league.
With the win, the NL clinched home-field advantage for the World Series, so it’s fair to say that Cabrera played a huge role in making sure his league was awarded this prize.
However, how do AL contenders feel right now that a PED user spoiled a potential home-field advantage bid? Granted, the AL still lost the game 8-0, so it’s tough to gauge how the teams would have done if Melky hadn’t played.
In all likelihood, Cabrera was using excess testosterone well before the All-Star Game. What’s mind-boggling is how he could have accepted that award knowing that he was cheating. You sometimes have to wonder about the thought process of some of these guys.
This case brings 2011 NL MVP Ryan Braun back into the spotlight. Braun tested positive in late 2011 but won his appeal. He claims to have never used PEDs, and there are many fans and analysts out there who believe Braun simply got off on a technicality. Just like Cabrera and the All-Star MVP award, Braun accepted his MVP award even with the positive test in limbo.
Steroid and other PED usage is of course very enticing for any Major Leaguer. Increased performance leads to increased pay, plain and simple. Cabrera was on pace to cash in big time this offseason in free agency if he kept up the numbers he was amassing.
It’s unfortunate that we have to ponder whether any player experiencing a career year is automatically taking steroids. But in this case, the red flags were present. Cabrera had a .275 career batting average heading into this season, and that included his previous career year in 2011 for the Kansas City Royals in which he hit .305. Meanwhile, he was hitting .346, second in the league, this season before his suspension.
Cabrera’s positive test shows that more than just power hitters used PEDs. In fact, the first ever positive test for steroids under MLB’s new testing procedures was turned in by Alex Sanchez, who hit just six home runs in parts of five seasons.
So it begs the question: How many players out there are still using PEDs despite the league’s increased crackdown?
As more and more players test positive, the league may have to consider increasing testing procedures even further. Sadly, it’s a shame that the only foolproof way of ensuring the game’s integrity is for every player to submit a urine sample every day when he shows up at the ballpark.
The players’ union will never agree to this, however, so we’d be right back to square one. The league still has a ways to go in permanently resolving this issue.