According to a report from SI.com’s Jon Heyman, Major League Baseball is expected to announce shortly the suspension of Cincinnati Reds pitcher Edinson Volquez for violating the league’s ban on performance enhancing drugs.
Volquez, currently on the disabled list while recovering from Tommy John surgery, apparently tested positive during Spring Training and will be banned for 50 games. He will be the first player suspended this season for use of PEDs.
The irony here is that according to Fanhouse’s Ed Price, Volquez can serve his suspension while on the disabled list. In the end, Volquez will lose 50 games worth of pay, but will not miss any additional time during the season. If his suspension begins today, Volquez would be eligible to pitch on June 15, but isn’t expected back from his recovery until mid-July.
I’m sure we’ll hear how he was just using something to help recover from the surgery, which is probably true. Volquez had not tested positive before his injury and I can certainly see why he would want to speed his timetable back to the field.
The biggest mess of this whole deal is that Volquez won’t miss even one start due to this suspension. Sure he’ll lose out on roughly $133K, but like Manny Ramirez last year, who was allowed to play in minor league games during his suspension, Volquez being allowed to serve his on the disabled list looks bad for baseball. In a sense, the punishment is said to be 50 games, but in reality, Volquez will merely be fined. The Reds suffer no penalty whatsoever as Volquez was already unavailable for those games.
Volquez is arbitration eligible for the first time after the season, as his suspension shouldn’t leave him short of the service time needed to stay that way, so the Reds will have a decision to make this fall. My guess is if Volquez can get back onto the field and pitch in the second half, the Reds will extend an offer to him. If he has a setback and can’t comeback this year, he could be non-tendered, but the Reds surely wouldn’t want to see him walk away, even with this stigma attached.
In case you were wondering if you had missed it, you didn’t. There wasn’t any outcry from me, nor will there be. PEDs have become so ingrained in the baseball world that I have long since stopped caring about them. The penalties are in place, if a guy wants to take a chance on getting caught and having every blogger and writer in the world drag his name through the mud, then that’s on them. Prepare yourselves though folks, you’re gonna hear a lot of chatter about this one, just as you do about every guy that’s been tagged so far.
Just do us all a favor and save your hand-wringing. Keep your cries about role models and such. And I swear if I hear even one person ask what they are supposed to tell their children…
Here’s what you tell them; Volquez made a choice and now must suffer the consequences. Tell them every decision they make will affect something else and they should be aware of any possible ramification before making those choices. Tell them to look up to Volquez for the way he pitches, but not to idolize people they don’t truly know.
And yes, if the Reds decide to turn him loose after the season, I’d sure hope the Tigers try to bring him in. Arms like his, even re-built ones, don’t come around too often.
UPDATE: From 700WLW’s twitter, Volquez says the drugs were fertility meds prescribed in the Dominican to help he and his wife start a family. The drugs that were supposedly prescribed are on the MLB-banned list.
I have no additional thoughts on the what and why concerning the drugs used here, I just thought I should also note Volquez’s reaction. Whether or not these were steroids used to speed recovery or fertility drugs to bolster a low sperm count doesn’t truly matter. the drugs were banned, he knew it (or should have) and he now sacrifices his paycheck. I’ll not guess as to his true intentions, as frankly I don’t care what they were.
As a fan, I still want him on my team, and I hope he and his wife are successful in their attempts at parenthood.