Buster Olney’s contribution to the post-Sosa world, couched in the notion that the clean players like Raul Ibanez should be outraged at the steroid users:
Ibanez and others should say out loud that as far as they’re concerned, cheating should not be tolerated. Insist that the drug-testing penalties be given sharper teeth. Demand that one positive test means a voided contract and a year out of baseball, and a second strike means a lifetime ban.
Question: given all of the below-market early deals these days, might such a thing not actually create an incentive for some players to take steroids, at least for one season? Would Evan Longoria — who’s scheduled to make $550,000 this year — be better or worse off financially if he had his current contract voided, spent the rest of this summer and next spring playing for the Long Beach Armada (note: Longoria is from Long Beach) and was allowed to re-enter the game as a free agent just before the 2010 All-Star break? Sure there’s some risk there, but I submit that he’d stand to make a minimum of a hundred million dollars more by getting his current contract voided and sitting out a year than he would be to walk the straight and narrow with the Rays. So too would many other 0-6-year players, actually, at least assuming that “voiding the contract” didn’t mean that the team still retained control over the player. Which it would pretty have too, wouldn’t it?
Of course, I may be overestimating the extent to which Buster is thinking this one through . . .
UPDATE: To be fair, this quote came in the course of Buster’s thoughts on the Jerod Morris–Raul Ibanez affair, and to his credit, I think Buster gets it right for the most part.