For potentially the third time in five years, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ playoff lives could be affected by a positive drug test by a slugger on another National League club.
That has prompted manager Kirk Gibson, following the announcement Wednesday of Giants left fielder Melky Cabrera’s 50-game suspension for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, to say, “Enough already.”
Cabrera admitted taking illegal doses of testosterone and issued a formal apology. But Gibson, who as the team’s bench coach saw the Diamondbacks get overtaken late in 2008 by the Dodgers thanks in part to Manny Ramirez, who later tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Then, as manager, he saw his team bumped from the playoffs last season by the Brewers, who had Ryan Braun also test positive for a banned substance.
Gibson thinks Major League Baseball needs a much harsher punishment for such infractions.
“I think there needs to be much stronger applications for that kind of activity,” Gibson said Wednesday before his team’s 5-2 loss in St. Louis. “It just absolutely cannot be activity.
“I don’t have an exact number, but I think it should be a minimum of a year (for a first-time offense) and after that, you should be banned.”
Cabrera, Gibson noted, hit .462 (18 for 39) against the Diamondbacks in nine games this season with three doubles, two home runs, eight runs scored and six RBIs.
“He’s had a huge impact against us,” Gibson said. “… He admitted to taking it and knew what he took and that’s just not right. If you do something like that, in my mind, it should be much more severe.
“We’ve made a commitment to stopping that kind of activity and we still from time to time find that people are still trying to fool the system. Maybe they should consider a much stricter penalty.
“It’s just bull. I would say the majority of the people who are in this game care about the integrity of the game. We’re all committed to that and cleaning it up. Obviously, there’s not a big enough deterrent if it continues so I think the penalty needs to be much more severe.”
In 2008, the Diamondbacks lost the National League West title to the Dodgers after they acquired Ramirez late in the season.
“Huge impact,” Gibson said.
Braun was eventually cleared of his positive test earlier this year, but many in baseball believe he escaped punishment through a legal loophole. He hit .500 against the Diamondbacks in the NL Division Series with four doubles, a homer and four RBIs, helping the Brewers advance to the NL Championship Series last season.
“It’s just such a bad blemish on what we do,” Gibson said of players still getting caught for using PEDs. “If you really look at it over the history of the game, batting has always been a huge thing, right? … Of all the things you can do in the game, and I would say doing this now is right up there with the things that should not be tolerated.”