Could Jhonny Peralta’s four-year, $53 million deal spur harsher PED penalties?

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports makes the case that the four-year, $53 million deal shortstop Jhonny Peralta just signed with the Cardinals could be a potential driving force behind harsher penalties for performance-enhancing drug use. Peralta was suspended for 50 games last year by Major League Baseball for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.

Peralta will take home an average annual salary of $13.25 million with his new deal with the Cardinals, which is more than double his highest single-season earning — $6 million in 2013. Brad Ziegler, reliever and union representative for the Diamondbacks, tweeted, “It pays to cheat…Thanks, owners, for encouraging PED use.”

Looking at the system from a purely objective way, leaving my own personal opinion out of it, if the penalty is to be tougher, it needs to take players out of action long enough for teams to call into question their ability. Here is the current system:

  • Use PED’s, they work, but get caught: Potentially have a great season, miss 50 games (and salary), chance to sign big free agent contract
  • Use PED’s they work, but don’t get caught: Potentially have a great season, miss 0 games, chance to sign big free agent contract
  • Don’t use PED’s: nothing, probably not getting a big free agent contract

Increasing the punishment from, say, 50 games for a first-time offense to 100 games is not enough of a deterrent from a game theory perspective, since teams clearly buy that a player’s skills won’t deteriorate from the missed playing time and from going off the use of PEDs. Major League Baseball would need to increase the frequency of drug testing and/or improve the ability to detect drug use, or increase the suspension length to a long enough time that teams don’t feel as comfortable putting stock in that player until he proves himself on the field again, which reduces the “payoff” of using PEDs. At the very least, to reach equilibrium, the punishment for a first-time offense likely needs to be increased to at least a full season or calendar year, including the playoffs.

Tyson Ross loses no-hitter with two outs in the eighth inning

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UPDATE, 11:58 PM ET: Ross lost the no-hit bid with one out remaining in the eighth inning. Christian Walker worked a 2-0 count against the right-hander, the doubled to center field to break up the bid and score Deven Marrero. The Padres are tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth.

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Padres right-hander Tyson Ross has pitched 7 1/3 innings of no-hit ball against the Diamondbacks in Friday’s game. He’s expended 124 pitches so far, the only blemish on his pitching line a handful of walks to Jarrod Dyson, Paul Goldschmidt and Nick Ahmed in the first, seventh and eighth innings, respectively.

Through just over seven innings, Ross whiffed 10 of 25 batters. He’s working with just one run of support: a mammoth 489-foot solo home run from Franchy Cordero in the third.

Should Ross complete the no-no, he’ll be the first pitcher to do so in the club’s 49-year history. The last major-league pitcher to record a no-hitter was Marlins right-hander Edinson Volquez, who held the Diamondbacks hitless last June.

We’ll keep you updated as the game progresses.