Major League Baseball has handed out stiff suspensions to 18 players involved with the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal in one of the most sweeping round of sanctions in the sport’s history.
But Joe Carter doesn’t think the punishments went far enough.
“You pay the price for what you’ve done, and I don’t think it’s a steep enough price,” the former Blue Jay great said on a conference call Thursday.
New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games for his links to Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Florida accused of distributing banned performing-enhancing drugs.
Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun, winner of the 2011 National League most valuable player award, was suspended for 65 games, while all-stars Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta and Everth Cabrera were banned 50 games apiece.
Baseball should have been harsher, says Carter.
“Sure I don’t think they’ll get into the Hall of Fame because the older guys are not going to vote for them and I don’t blame them whatsoever,” he said. “But I think it’s not enough punishment for what they have done.”
Carter said the league needs to void the statistics of players caught using performance-enhancing drugs.
“It’s not fair to the guys who played the game the correct way because baseball is a stat-driven commodity,” he said. “Everyone is compared by their stats. So if the playing field is not level then how can you really judge how good players were from different eras when you hand out awards? I think it’s very unjust.
“A 50-game suspension is nothing because they’ll come back, and Ryan Braun, he’ll still make his money next year. And A-Rod is fighting his, which I cannot believe.”
Carter played for 16 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland, San Diego, Toronto, Baltimore and San Francisco. He hit the 30 home run mark six times in his career, and hit one of the biggest homers in World Series history when his walkoff shot gave Toronto the 1993 title.
“It used to be that if you were close to 400 home runs, there were Hall of Fame aspirations,” said Carter, who finished his career with 396 homers. “Now 400 home runs, it’s like the 200 benchmark, it’s not-existent.
“These guys have taken the game up to 500 and 600 home runs like it’s nothing, and they have still been rewarded basically for cheating. I’m not a fan of that because it’s taken away from what I’ve accomplished and what I did.”
Carter will be back in Canada on Tuesday, when he visits the Vancouver Canadians, Toronto’s single-A short-season affiliate, as part of the team’s Superstar Series.
He said he doesn’t watch much baseball in his free time anymore, but he understands the struggles the 2013 Jays are going through, particularly after seemingly beefing up their roster during the off-season.
“Everybody was looking at how much improved they were on paper, and they are a much improved team,” he said. “But when you have five, six, seven guys coming to a new situation, coming to Canada, playing in a different league and trying to jell together, I don’t think it was fair right from the beginning to have high expectations.”