Dee Gordon was allowed to play for the Miami Marlins following a failed MLB PED test. Gordon had PEDs in his system when a test was administered to him in Spring Training. A report from CBS Sports now states that he appealed the automatic 80-game suspension and was allowed to begin the regular season on the active roster for the Marlins. One way to look at the situation is that Gordon was caught cheating, but was allowed to keep playing baseball. It has raised a lot of questions about the current MLB drug policies.
By appealing his PED ban, Gordon was allowed to finish Spring Training and play the first 21 games of the 2016 MLB season. That included coming through with the game-tying hit in a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on April 28. Gordon had 97 plate appearances for the Marlins in those 21 games, registering 25 hits and six stolen bases. Now he likely won’t get his next at-bat till sometime in August. That’s too soon for a lot of people on social media.
After putting together a 2015 season where he won a Gold Glove, a batting title, and a Silver Slugger Award, Dee Gordon cashed in with a nice contract from the Miami Marlins. The Marlins gave Gordon a five-year, $50 million deal to take care of his remaining arbitration seasons as well as his first opportunity to enter free agency. The Marlins also have a team option of $14 million for the 2021 MLB season that comes with a $1 million buyout. With 600 plate appearances in the 2020 season, the option becomes guaranteed.
During his PED suspension, Dee Gordon won’t get paid for the games that he misses. Gordon’s contract was set to pay him $3.3 million this year, so he will now miss out on about $1.6 million of it. The deal he signed with the Marlins is heavily weighted on the backend, with his yearly salary increasing until it hits $13.8 million for the 2020 MLB season. The escalators in his deal have also been met with disdain from baseball fans across social media.
Despite receiving an 80-game suspension, Gordon will only miss out on roughly 3.2 percent of the money owed to him by the Marlins. All MLB contracts are guaranteed as well, so the Marlins can’t get out of the deal simply because he was caught using PEDs. The All-Star second baseman will be under additional public scrutiny after he tested positive for exogenous testosterone and clostebol, but he will go right back to getting paid once he has fulfilled his suspension. While his reputation will forever be scarred by this scandal, his bank account will still look very nice.
So does the Dee Gordon suspension dictate that MLB contracts should be voidable? Many baseball fans are posting on social media about how the Miami Marlins should be able to void their contract with Gordon. It’s not possible under the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), but that could become an area of contention during the next labor negotiations between the Players Association and the MLB owners. Many players (like Justin Verlander) might agree with that taking place.
Should MLB players be allowed to continue playing when they fail PED tests? That is the other issue that some players and fans have with this situation, as Dee Gordon was allowed to continue having a competitive advantage over other players in the league. What happens if the next MLB PED suspension comes during the World Series and a player is allowed to appeal and make a difference in a championship outcome? The Dee Gordon situation may shine light on a losing situation for Major League Baseball, but how long will it be until the union or the owners do something about it?
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