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.
Mets minor league outfielder and former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow was recently promoted from Single-A Columbia to advanced Single-A St. Lucie. Critics suggested that, because Tebow wasn’t exactly lighting up competition with Columbia, the promotion was just about marketing.
Tebow, to his credit, has gotten off to a good start with St. Lucie. In his first at-bat with his new team, he hit a two-run home run, turning a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead. The home run came on a 3-1 count against starter Junior Fernandez of the Palm Beach Cardinals. Fernandez is the Cardinals’ No. 10 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.
With Columbia, Tebow was hitting a paltry .220/.311/.336 with three home runs and 23 RBI in 244 plate appearances.
The Cardinals announced on Wednesday that shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been optioned to Triple-A Memphis and infielder Alex Mejia’s contract has been purchased from Memphis.
Diaz, 26, impressed last season when he posted an .879 OPS and finished fifth in National League Rookie of the Year balloting. This year has been rough on Diaz, as he’s batting .260/.293/.396 with seven home runs and 20 RBI in 288 plate appearances. He’s the second major Cardinals player to get sent down to the minors along with Randal Grichuk.
Diaz was surprised by the demotion. Via MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch:
Mejia, 26, opened the season with Double-A Springfield but was promoted to Triple-A two weeks ago. With Springfield, he hit .251/.305/.366 in 251 PA. In 42 PA with Memphis, he hit .263/.333/.289.