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.

Japanese outfielder Yoshida to negotiate with MLB teams

Masataka Yoshida
Yukihito Taguchi/USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Outfielder Masataka Yoshida will be able to negotiate with Major League Baseball teams starting Wednesday under the posting system with the Japanese big leagues.

A member of Japan’s Olympic team last year, Yoshida will be posted at 8 a.m. EST on Wednesday and MLB teams have until 5 p.m. EST on Jan. 20 to reach an agreement, the commissioner’s office said Tuesday.

The 29-year-old hit .335 with 21 homers and 88 RBIs in 119 games this year for the Orix Buffaloes of Japan’s Pacific League. A left-handed batter, he has a .327 average with 133 homers and 467 RBIs over seven seasons in the Japanese majors.

Yoshida hit .350 with two RBIs as Japan won last year’s Olympic gold medal.

Under 2017 changes to the posting system, the posting fee will be 20% of the first $25 million of a major league contract, including earned bonuses and options. The percentage drops to 17.5% of the next $25 million and 15% of any amount over $50 million. There would be a supplemental fee of 15% of any earned bonuses, salary escalators and exercised options.

Hard-throwing right-hander Kodai Senga, another member of the Olympic team, is a free agent and does not have to go through the posting system because he has 11 seasons of service time in the Japanese major leagues.

Senga, who turns 30 in January, was 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA in 22 starts for the Pacific League’s Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. He pitched three scoreless innings in two outings against the U.S. in the Olympics, allowing one hit and striking out six with two walks.