Hank Aaron says PED punishments need to be increased


All respect to Hank Aaron, but his status as the guy who was eclipsed in the record book by a steroids-fueled dude doesn’t render this sentiment any more rational than when someone else says it:

“I think it’s got to be a little bit more severe as far as penalties are concerned,” Aaron said. “I think 50 games is not enough. I’d like to see 100 games really. I think the second time, they need to just ban the player from baseball.”

The penalty is already nearly a 1/3 dock in pay and play. No other sort of cheating is penalized with anything close to the current level of PED penalties. Indeed, the suspensions given to players and managers who have physically assaulted people on the baseball field have been far less historically.

Unless Aaron or other proponents of tougher PED penalties have information that everyone else is lacking, we do not have an epidemic on our hands that requires addressing. We have people violating a rule on occasion, just like people occasionally break the law. And when someone is found to have, say, robbed a convenience store or cheated on their taxes, we don’t immediately call for doubling (or more) the penalties in place.

Seriously: if someone can point me to something — anything — that suggests (a) that there is rampant, undeterred PED cheating going on now; and (b) that doubling the penalties would combat it, I’m totally on board. But absent that, this sort of thing is kind of pointless. It’s a solution in search of a problem.

David Phelps to undergo Tommy John surgery

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.

Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.

As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.