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Jake Diekman thinks players who test positive should make the minimum salary

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On the heels of Tuesday’s news that Pirates outfielder Starling Marte received an 80-game suspension for a positive drug test, Rangers reliever Jake Diekman went on Twitter to suggest that players who test positive should be punished by making the major league minimum salary (currently $535,000) from that point forward. “Take something they care about,” he wrote.

First of all: The players’ union needs to send a memo out to make sure the players stop tossing out ideas that depress their own value and leverage.

Second of all: This idea would be 100 percent a win for team owners, as players suspended for drug use would become a market inefficiency.

Third of all: Is PED use really this much of a problem that we need even harsher penalties? Dee Gordon and Marte are really the only All-Star-caliber players who have been caught recently. PEDs are mostly used by fringe major leaguers like Alec Asher, Josh Ravin, and Daniel Stumpf, who were all suspended last season. Some will argue that these fringe major leaguers get pushed over the edge and end up taking a roster spot from an arguably more deserving player. But where was this concern when Tim Tebow used his celebrity to eschew a minor leaguer off the Arizona Fall League roster last year and the Mets’ Single-A Columbia roster this year? Lots of people pretend their distaste of PED users is rooted in altruism but is ultimately shown to be purely punitive.

Fourth of all: Mike Gianella of Baseball Prospectus brought up a great point.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.