The agreement announced Friday between
"That's something that the players have been interested in and pushing for a long time," Dodgers catcher
Under the new deal, the most significant toughening of the drug protocol in eight years, the penalty for a first offense increases from 50 to 80 games and the penalty for a second violation jumps from 100 games to 162, the equivalent of a full season. A third suspension would result in a lifetime ban.
Players suspended for drug use will not be eligible to participate in that season's playoffs and would be limited in how much they could receive in postseason bonuses.
When baseball first started testing with penalties in the 2005 season, a positive test for banned substances drew a 10-game suspension.
"Hopefully, this is really a padlock that kind of closes this chapter," said pitcher
Players began calling for increased penalties last summer when 14 players, including former MVPs
"Obviously that showed that there was a need for harsher and stiffer penalties. This is a very clear and resounding answer to all that," Ellis said. "And it's all because of what the players have done. We stood up, we spoke up and we said we want a clean game."
In addition to longer penalties, the number of random tests will increase from 1,400 to 3,200. Off-season testing will also increase and there will be up to 400 additional random blood collections used to detect human growth hormone.
"Experience proves that increased penalties alone are not sufficient; that's why the players pushed for a dramatic increase in the frequency and sophistication of our tests, as well as comprehensive changes in a number of other areas of the program that will serve as a deterrent," said Tony Clark, executive director of the union and a former
But even the new penalties weren't tough enough for some.
"I wish it would get stiffer. You get caught once, you're out," said Dodgers reliever
"It's one of those things where someone's hustling the system. That's what that is. And no one likes that. If someone wants to do that, that's cheap. That's a scam artist and I'm not a fan of those people."