The Ace, The Set-Up Man, and the Consequences of a Positive Test

B MacCorrespondent IJanuary 20, 2009

If you haven't heard by now, the Phillies have snatched up Ace Cole Hamels for three more years. Avoiding arbitration, Hamels signed a three-year, $20.5 million contract over the past weekend.

If you don't know already, the Phillies have snatched up flame-throwing set-up man, Ryan "Mad Dog" Madson, by signing him to a three-year deal as well. The deal is worth $12 million over the three years. This shores up the right-handed eighth-inning specialist spot.

But the Phillies problem is what happens when the Phillies need a left-handed eighth-inning specialist?

J.C. "The Set-Up Man" Romero, has been suspended by MLB for a positive banned substance test prior to the playoffs. Romero is suspended for 50 games and will return for much of the upcoming season...but how well will he pitch when he comes back from suspension?

Furthermore is Romero going to be able to pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic?

I am not shielding Romero from his positive test. Because it is up to him to have the supplement that he took tested prior to taking the supplement. Sole responsibility falls onto Romero for knowing (or not knowing) what is in the supplement(s) that he takes.

However, I am critical of both the maker of the supplement in question, and MLB.

I know that Romero did not take the banned substance to "gain an edge" over the competition, but rather to "cut down" on the number of pills he would have to take.

I am critical of MLB the most, because if the supplement in question could make the player test false-positive for the banned substance, then why not run the player's test sample more than twice. How about three, four, maybe five times? Testing for a banned substance in a supplement or in a player is like testing for an STD or cancer

No one really knows anything about the exact science of testing for banned substances; it is not exactly rocket science (or maybe it is, no one knows) because you can test false-positive for a banned substance, an STD, or cancer.

I am critical of the supplement maker because they did not label their products clearly. But I also believe that MLB was going "headhunting" of sorts, because the producer of the supplement that Romero took was the creator of Androstenedione.

This has been a Phillies update, and remember: only three more weeks to spring...spring training that is.