Michael Weiner: tougher drug penalties might be coming, but that may not be best way to curb PEDs

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Union chief Michael Weiner has been making the rounds in Florida, and yesterday he said two things of note. First: stronger penalties may very well be in the offing:

There are certainly some players who have expressed [a desire for stronger penalties] … We’ve had discussions with the commissioner’s office. If it turns out that we have a different penalty structure because that’s what players are interested in, that’s what the owners are interested in, it will be for 2014 … more and more players are vocal about being willing to accept sacrifices in terms of testing in order to make sure we have a clean game.”

Second, even if that’s what the players want and what ultimately happens, he’s not certain that tougher penalties are the way to go. After noting that baseball’s first time penalty — 50 games — is proportionately harsher than that of the other sports, he opines that better policing, rather than sentencing, is the true deterrent to cheating:

“We have a very strong penalty. There is a reasonable debate you could have in this context and the criminal justice context as to whether increasing the likelihood of detection is the way to deter or increasing the penalty. There is a lot of serious study that says it doesn’t matter what the penalty is, it depends upon if you think you’re going to get caught.”

Weiner is not an ideologue, so if the players want tougher penalties, tougher penalties are going to happen.

I agree, however, with the idea that better policing is more effective than stronger punishment in deterring bad acts. We’ll see how the policing stuff works this year when increased testing — including the institution of a blood test for HGH and the cataloging of testosterone baselines for players — is implemented.

My guess, though: the necessarily greater number of suspensions from the enhanced testing will cause people to think that the drug problem is getting worse (as opposed to thinking that more existing cheaters are being caught), which will lead to more grandstanding and hand-wringing which will in turn lead to tougher penalties.

Matt Adams placed on DL with fractured left index finger

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The Nationals made a handful of roster decisions on Tuesday, Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post reports. Pitcher Wander Suero was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse and 1B/OF Matt Adams was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a fractured left index finger. With the two open roster spots, the Nationals recalled pitcher Jefry Rodriguez from Syracuse to start against the Orioles and added recently-acquired reliever Kelvin Herrera to the roster.

Adams, 29, was hit on the hand attempting to lay down a bunt on Friday. He has been quite productive for the Nationals this year, batting .275/.351/.575 with 13 home runs and 36 RBI in 171 plate appearances.

Adams was splitting time at first base with Mark Reynolds. Daniel Murphy drew starts at first base over the weekend, so it could be a Reynolds/Murphy split there now with Wilmer Difo remaining at second base.

In his major league debut on June 3, the 24-year-old Rodriguez pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of Jeremy Hellickson, who lasted just one-third of an inning. Tuesday’s start will be his first at the big league level. At Double-A Harrisburg this season, Rodriguez posted a 3.31 ERA with a 72/28 K/BB ratio in 68 innings.