It is tough when a team goes into the offseason needing to make serious improvements, but begins by eliminating players who might fit and help the team.
That's exactly what the Arizona Diamondbacks have decided to do this winter. The D'backs organization has made it very clear that it will not sign players who have used PEDs. It's a position that managing partner Ken Kendrick has made clear through the media in the past few week, as reported by Nick Piecoro of azcentral.com.
It's also a position that came to light recently in comments made by D'backs pitcher Brad Ziegler after Jhonny Peralta signed a four-year deal worth $53 million following his 50-game PED suspension last season.
It's a position that I understand, given the landscape in MLB right now. It's the desire to win games the right way, with players who fans can invest in. Fans are getting tired of stars turning into cheaters.
I believe the St. Louis Cardinals made a mistake by recently signing the veteran Peralta to such a rich free-agent contract. For an organization like the Cardinals that builds through its farm system, it's a risky message to send to young prospects and the St. Louis fanbase.
The interesting thing about taking this type of stance this year is that there are two players who would fit the D'backs really well, but had a recent history of using PEDs. So, it's not an empty stance. The D'backs could make improvements this winter, if they overlooked the past use of PEDs.
Righty Bartolo Colon would fit perfectly in Arizona's starting rotation, likely requiring only a solid one-year investment. The 40-year-old Colon has seen a career resurgence after looking like he might be done. Colon has been very successful with the Oakland A's, posting a record of 28-15 over the past two seasons.
The questions about Colon stem from his August 2012 suspension for 50 games for PED use. Colon was involved with the Biogenisis scandal and MLB did not suspend him a second time for his involvement last season.
Another player who would potentially fit into the D'backs' lineup and clubhouse is Nelson Cruz. Cruz is coming off of a recent 50-game PED suspension that he served at the end of last season. Cruz's career averages of 32 home runs and 99 RBI would be ideal to slide in behind Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt, but it will never happen with the current philosophy of the D'backs organization in place.
The road back to contention for the Diamondbacks will be tough enough. It is made all the more difficult by trying to do things the right way.
Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.