What You Haven’t Considered In Detroit Tigers’ Decision Whether or Not to Play Peralta


September 8, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Bartolo Colon (40) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros during the first inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been a fair bit of hubhub surrounding Jhonny Peralta this week as we learned that he has resumed workouts with the team. The Tigers say they haven’t made a decision on whether or not he’ll be included on the postseason roster – all they’ve said is that it won’t be as the starting shortstop – but fans have plenty of arguments on both sides.

I’m firmly in the camp that Peralta is one of the best 25 players in the organization and therefore should be on the roster, but, although I can understand some of the counterpoints (mostly that he’d be too rusty to contribute at a high level), there’s one big argument that I just don’t get.

That Jhonny Peralta should not be considered for the postseason because it would present a bad image by allowing a “cheater” on the team.

Patrick O’Kennedy wrote about this a little bit on Bless You Boys earlier this week (emphasis mine):

"Most playoff contenders have at least one player on their roster who has been busted for PEDs.Yankees- Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte, Francisco Cervelli, Fernando MartinezOrioles- Mike Morse, Daniel McCutchenIndians- Jason GiambiRoyals- Miguel TejadaRed Sox, David Ortiz (2003) – allegedlyOakland- Bartolo ColonRangers- Nelson CruzDodgers- Edinson VolquezPirates- Marlon ByrdBraves- Jordan SchaferThe Dodgers, Orioles, and Pirates actually have just traded for these players this season. The Rangers have indicated that they’re looking forward to getting Nelson Cruz back for the playoffs. Should the Tigers be the only team to lose a player for the post season because of the biogenesis scandal?"

I agree with Patrick’s point and want to take it one step further. There’s been similar chatter regarding the Rangers and Nelson Cruz – whether or not they should allow him to play in the playoffs – but there hasn’t been any chatter surrounding Bartolo Colon of the Oakland Athletics.

What’s that you say? You say it’s different because Colon was suspended last year? I don’t see how much of a difference that makes.

Colon, like Peralta and Cruz, was named in the Biogenesis scandal, but Major Leauge Baseball did not suspend him because he had tested positive for the substances last season (and they couldn’t / wouldn’t punish him twice for the same crime). Cruz and Peralta (and the others) were suspended this season because MLB found evidence that they took performance enhancing drugs in the spring of 2012. There was nothing about drug-taking this season that should stain Peralta’s contributions this season. A oversimplified timeline is this:

  • Spring 2012: Colon and Peralta use PED.
  • (stuff in the middle where both players serve suspensions)
  • September 27, 2013: Both players are eligible to participate in regular season games.
  • October 2013: 2013 Postseason begins.

There’s no reason that we should view these players differently with respect to the image it presents about their respective franchises. Both committed the same crime at the same time, and both will be eligible to participate in the postseason. If you’re going to argue against Peralta (and Cruz) for reasons pertaining to “image,” then, whatever, do your thing, but be sure to include Colon (and probably the entire group of past “cheaters”) in that rant as well.