Melky Cabrera Suspended For Failing PED Test

MLB’s official account just sent out the following message on Twitter.

Melky Cabrera‘s suspension begins immediately, and since the Giants only have 45 games remaining in their schedule, this effectively knocks him out for the remainder of the regular season and the NLDS, should the Giants qualify for the playoffs. Losing Cabrera in the midst of their pennant chase will obviously hamper those efforts.

Cabrera was in the midst of the best season of his career, hitting .346/.390/.516, and had accumulated +4.5 WAR in 501 plate appearances. Taking his bat out of the Giants line-up creates a significant offensive hole, and this news probably makes the Dodgers the favorites to win the NL West.

This will also have massive ramifications on Cabrera’s future, in all likelihood. He is eligible for free agency at the end of the season, as a guy heading towards his age 28 season who had put together two straight terrific seasons, he was likely in for a significant payday. This failed test will certainly cast a cloud of suspicion on Cabrera’s breakout performance from last year (which was caused by a significant jump in power), and teams will likely be very wary of giving a significant contract to a player coming off suspension for PEDs.

Rather than pointing to the contracts received by the likes of Torii Hunter and Aaron Rowand, teams will now be equating him to the likes of Jose Guillen and Manny Ramirez. If this list of PED suspensions on Wikipedia is accurate, then as far as I can tell, no player has ever signed a deal for more than two years after previously failing a drug test, and nearly every player on the list had to go year to year for the remainder of their career.

Most other players who have failed drug tests have either been at the end of their careers — and thus easily avoided — or have already been under contract. How Major League teams approach Cabrera’s free agency should be a fascinating story. He’s probably gone from looking at a 5+ year contract to hoping for a one-year “pillow contract” where he can attempt to get through 2013 without any failed drug tests and hope that he can sustain a high quality performance, and the list of teams who are willing to take the PR hit to bring in a guy coming off a failed PED list is probably not that large. Cabrera has instantly gone from being one of the prizes of the winter to being a guy who will probably not have many suitors.

This failed test may end up costing Cabrera in excess of $60 to $70 million this winter. Because of the timing of the suspension, this may be the highest cost any player has ever paid for failing a drug test.

Just to settle my curiosity, I’ve set up a poll (after the jump) to see how this news affects your willingness to employ Melky Cabrera on your own. If you were a Major League GM and Cabrera offered to play for you at whatever number you considered to be a reasonable price — whether that’s the league minimum or $5 million — would you sign him? Or do you simply now see Cabrera as a guy you wouldn’t want on your roster because of the bad PR and the belief that he’s going to take a big step backwards if he stops using testoserone?



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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nik
Guest
nik

What took so long to write this article? :)

Parker
Guest
Parker

I wonder if this will give the Yankees a chance to sign him and reunite with Cano. (then again, they both played better when they werent together). No way the Yankees would have paid 10+ million a season for him while trying to get under the cap for 2014, but a 1-year deal with a good amount of change would fit. I’m looking forward to see how he is handled as a FA too.

Pat G
Guest
Pat G

for a team trying to distance itself from the PED fiasco i would think they steer far clear of Melky

JimNYC
Guest
JimNYC

It certainly wasn’t copy-editing. The article states “no player has ever signed a deal for more than two years after previously failing a drug test,” and that’s simply not true. It might be true that no player has signed a deal for more than two years after having been suspended for PED’s, but plenty of people who failed drug tests during the pilot program in 2003 signed multi-year deals after that.

Sean
Guest
Sean

Shut up.

JimNYC
Guest
JimNYC

Sorry Sean; it’s absolutely insane to think that, at a website where precise mathematical calculations are so highly valued, precise use of language should be set aside. Nobody will take your opinion seriously if it’s not written well.

Stu
Guest
Stu

Name one and not from the confidential pilot program in 2003 that was supposed to be anonymous and carried no penalties for testing positive.

JimNYC
Guest
JimNYC

Why should the confidential pilot program be excluded when the language used in the article clearly includes it? That’s exactly my point about why things need to be written properly to avoid confusion.

Dan Greer
Member
Dan Greer

Seems like you just like to nitpick for its own sake.

Steve
Guest
Steve

But did they sign multi-year deals after it was REVEALED that they were on that 2003 list?

For example, A-Rod was outed a year after signing his big contract. After Ortiz was outed, did he get a multi-year deal? I think he’s had to go year-to-year since the deal he had at the time expired, or was there another deal in there? Honestly can’t remember.

Keith
Guest
Keith

Jim, if you need us to spell this out for you, then you’re simply not going to get it.

In the case of the 2003 tests teams did not know who did or did not test positive. They were unableto know if a person being signed was a user. If those people were known, they might not have gotten long-term deals, though I would expect many would have.

You’re trying to bring up an anonymous test in which there was no knowledge for tems to base things on for the sake of this trend of players’ not getting long contracts after testing positive.

Sean
Guest
Sean

I tried to reply to your reply but was unable. So here it is: Shut up.

B N
Guest
B N

Problem: The 2003 tests, intended to be anonymous, did not even tell what a guy tested positive for. So basically, it could have been a known synthetic testosterone, a tainted herbal supplement, or too many poppy-seed muffins before test day (which, for the record, will indeed make you test positive for opiate usage).

Plus, even applying a low burden of proof to steroid implications (e.g. http://www.baseballssteroidera.com/bse-list-steroid-hgh-users-baseball.html), very few of these guys received a deal of 3 years or longer after even having allegations. Clearly, teams will sign these guys, but they’re not going all-in on them.

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