No one knows for sure if PED’s (performance enhancing drugs) make a professional athlete better at their sport. Especially since the majority of athletes associated with using PED’s were never tested or suspended during their prime because holding players accountable for PED use is something that only started in this millennium.
I’m of the opinion that it’s all about talent. You could inject Major League hitters from any era with all the PED’s in the world and they’re not accomplishing the things Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, etc did. It’s a safe bet they all had the talent to have great careers without PED’s but we’ll never know.
Instead of acknowledging that we’ll never know people question a player’s true talent if they have any PED association. It’s because of this that Bonds, McGwire, Clemens and many others have been left out of the Baseball Hall of Fame because of either being found out or being associated with PED’s.
In modern day baseball if you test positive for a PED you get suspended 50 games and can get significantly less money and contract length than if you were clean. Case in point the Toronto Blue Jays were able to take advantage of Melky Cabrera’s PED suspension last season by signing him to a tiny 2 year 16 million dollar contract.
Unlike other players associated with PED’s we have a sense of when Melky was taking them and now we’ll get a chance to see if he can perform without them. Unlike Bonds and McGwire it’s a lot harder to give Melky the benefit of the doubt that he could still perform at a high level without PED’s. Most of the PED associated players being left out of the Hall of Fame were good and already had star potential when they first walked onto a Major League baseball field.
That’s not something you can say about Melky Cabrera.
From the Melk Man’s big league debut in July of 2005 to the start of 2011 season Melky’s highest potential was considered to be a fourth outfielder.
In December of 2010 the Kansas City Royals signed Melky Cabrera and that suddenly changed.
In the 2011 season Melky had career highs in hits (201), home runs (18), batting average (305), stolen bases (20), RBIs (87) and runs scored (102).
Melky followed that up with another great season with the San Francisco Giants in 2012. He was eventually suspended for high levels of testerone on August 15 but he ended the season with 159 hits, a 346 average, 11 home runs, 10 triples, 60 RBI’s and 13 stolen bases in 18 attempts.
Those 2 seasons were enough to convince the Blue Jays to bet on Melky’s success being because of his true talent and not PED’s.
Most players associated with PED’s just have to live with their mistake. They can’t go back and show doubters that they could succeed without PED’s. At 28 years old and the rest of his career ahead of him Melky has that rare opportunity.