Buster Olney cast aspersions on Melky Cabrera, Jose Bautista took offense. Now Olney fires back in his column. After quoting Bautista’s comments about how Melky has done the crime and the time and should be allowed to get on with his life, and after quoting Richard Griffith’s argument that Cabrera is not a poster boy for cheating being worthwhile, Buster says . . .
I’d respectfully disagree . . .Just because somebody doesn’t make as much as Ryan Braun doesn’t mean cheating isn’t worthwhile, and it’s hardly a stretch to suggest that Cabrera made extra cash through his past transgression . . . He signed with the Royals for $1.25 million in 2011 and became a star, at a time when he reportedly became a client of Biogenesis. He was suspended in 2012 while playing for the San Francisco Giants, and the Blue Jays then signed him to a two-year, $16 million deal before anybody knew about Tony Bosch and Biogenesis.
That last little bit is kinda clever: “before anybody knew about Tony Bosch and Biogenesis.” It implies that Melky made his $16 million from the Jays under false pretenses. Which is silly considering the guy was suspended for testing positive for drugs while still with the Giants. My memory is a bit fuzzy about it all, but I seem to recall that a few papers even wrote some stuff about it.
Did Melky get an unfair advantage from cheating? Absolutely. But every cent he’s made from the Blue Jays and every cent he’s making going forward was and will be made with full knowledge of his past transgressions and with the risk of him either cheating again or turning into a pumpkin priced into the deal. If he hadn’t been busted while in San Francisco he would have stood to make way, way more than that. Indeed, conservative estimates before his suspension were that he’d get $50 million over four years, maybe more. Rather than get a windfall as a result of his cheating, Melky took a pretty big hit, financially speaking.
I realize it drives some people crazy that baseball is cool with punishing guys for taking PEDs, letting them back in the game and allowing them to make a living as if they weren’t murderers or something, but that is how it works. Ask the Cardinals and Jhonny Peralta. Ask the Orioles and Nelson Cruz. Ask any number of other players who have taken drugs, gotten suspended and have come back. And it’s how it should work. Punish a guy sharply when he crosses the line. Test players constantly to deter them from cheating. But when a guy has done the time, let him be unless or until he cheats again.
If you don’t like that — and Buster here clearly does not — advocate for lifetime bans on the first offense or get the hell off your high horse.