Bartolo Colon Suspended 50 Games for PEDs, MLB Needs a New Plan

Former Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletics is the latest player in MLB to test positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Colon is the 5th player this season to test positive for a PED; three of the players happen to be in the Bay area.

The San Francisco Giants pitcher Guillermo Mota was penalized 100 games earlier this season for his second offense. Mota’s teammate, Milky Cabrera tested positive for testosterone a week before Colon.

Colon, who ironically tested positive for testosterone like Cabrera, will be suspended immediately for the team’s next 50 games. 40 regular season contests remained on the schedule when the suspension was handed down, so it will carry over to the playoffs if the A’s make it to October. If not, the remaining 10 games will carry over to the 2013 season.

There’s no doubt Colon has been a big reason why Oakland is in the position they’re in, which happens to be in the playoffs if the season ended today. It doesn’t, but still Oakland is in second place ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West and nobody would have guessed that at this point of the regular season.

Colon has 10 wins and an ERA under 3.50, and his veteran presence has stabilized the otherwise young Athletic pitching staff. Yes, the A’s have depth but Colon led Oakland in IP and WAR. His 1.21 WHIP was good enough for second best in the rotation.

One might think the MLB would pleased their new drug prevention policy is working; they’ve caught 5 players this season using a banned substance after all. I’m not so sure “working” is the proper term here.

I’ve got a feeling there are more players using performance enhancers than we think, and I’m not alone. Victor Conte, the founder of BALCO, has stated he believes as much as 50% of the games’ players are using. He claims evading the current testing policy is fairly easy, “like taking candy for a baby”.

Another problem with the current process is the penalty in place for someone who’s never been caught before. Cabrera and Colon are two impact players on contending playoff teams, and they both still have the opportunity to play this season.

Their suspension are without pay, which does hurt a bit. However, consider how much money Cabrera would have made this offseason in free-agency had he never been caught.

For some players the reward out weighs the risk, and that needs to be corrected.

Aaron Kirn is the Director of Video for Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter @AaronKirn