My friend Josh Fisher alerted me to something in Buster Olney’s column over the weekend about the fallout from Melky Cabrera’s positive PED test last year:
Before Melky Cabrera was suspended this past summer, the Giants were engaged in conversations with Cabrera about a deal that would’ve paid the outfielder something in the range of $75 million of $85 million …
He added in an update yesterday that the Giants said a deal wasn’t necessarily close, but there was no denial of the discussions either.
I offer this only as a reminder to those people who like to point to Cabrera’s $16 million deal as some sort of affront and/or proof that taking PEDs pays. To the contrary, Melky’s positive PED test cost him as much as $69 million dollars. SIXTY-NINE MILLION DOLLARS. Plus the salary he lost during his suspension.
I presume we are going to have stiffer PED penalties in the near future. And that the rash of positive tests for testosterone and the like last season are significant reasons for that. But to suggest that there are not deterrents against drug use in place already is ridiculous. It’s just that some people — most notably Melky Cabrera — are too clueless to be deterred.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.