Mike Trout with known PED user Nelson Cruz, who is currently serving a 50-game suspension as part of the Biogenesis scandal.
Mike Trout made headlines on Monday with his comments advocating a lifetime ban for any player who is caught for PEDs...the first time.
I think MLB is definitely moving in the right direction with getting these guys. For me personally, I think you should be out of the game if you get caught. It takes away from the guys that are working hard every day and doing it all-natural.
Some people are just trying to find that extra edge. It’s tough as a guy that goes out there and plays hard every day and puts 110-percent effort (in) every time. And then you wake up the next day and you see there’s a list of guys that are, you know, on the list. It’s good that MLB caught them and they are moving in the right direction with suspensions and stuff.
Under the current policy, a lifetime ban is issued on the third offense, following 50- and 100-game suspensions.
Trout isn't the first player to ask for such severe punishment, as Skip Schumaker advocated a similar solution earlier this season.
But if MLB wants to rid itself of cheaters, this may be the solution. However, as is the case with any "solution," it isn't perfect.
Let's take a look at the pros and cons of Trout's proposed system.
Obviously, the biggest pro is the extremely strong deterrent it would serve for many players still contemplating getting that "extra edge."
If players knew their MLB careers would end after one positive test, they would feel much less inclined to use them.
Players will have to make a whole different kind of assessment list: Is hitting an extra 10 home runs per season worth missing 10 seasons?
I think not.
The biggest obstacle to passing such a harsh system is the rigid intransigence inevitably to come from the MLB Players Association.
Obviously, the MLBPA would not want to put any player's entire career at risk.
This won't get done without the MLBPA, and the odds of them agreeing to it are next to zero.
The Steroids Era that included record-breakers like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa has come and gone and the young kids who looked up to those stars are beginning to get serious about baseball.
A precedent has been set that PEDs can lead you to fame and baseball success. Kids have learned that cheating is acceptable if you cheat your way to the top—and that needs to end.
By implementing this system, MLB ensures that kids are dissuaded from cheating, as it could end their careers (not to mention the health issues that come as well).
One of the bigger cons (for players) is that there are no second chances.
Professional athletes are under immense pressure to succeed, and they sometimes feel the need to take PEDs in order to do so.
When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day.
People make mistakes, and players are nothing more than people. If a player makes a mistake by using PEDs or takes them unknowingly, their career ends immediately, which could be considered too harsh a punishment.
One of the biggest jokes in MLB is that players who have used steroids are still playing. Guys who suffer a 50-game ban can come back and continue to play.
If a player gets caught once, they can even continue to use steroids after they get caught, and if they get caught again, they miss 100 games but can come back.
The current system was considered very harsh at the time, but now it looks like a bit of a joke.
If Trout's idea came to fruition, we would see cheaters out of the game right away, which makes for a cleaner MLB.
Before Ryan Braun was linked to the Biogenesis scandal, he tested positive in early 2012 for PEDs. However, he was not punished because his urine was left out too long, which supposedly induced a false positive.
While we can assume that Braun's test was not a false positive, the fact remains that false positives can happen when it comes to PEDs.
If a player were to suffer a false positive and be banned for life because of it, the MLBPA would have a field day.
The risk of a death sentence in baseball is the same as a death sentence in court—there's always the chance that you're wrong.