Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Your Weekly PED Nonsense Panic, Jhonny Peralta Division

If you are upset that the Cardinals gave Jhonny Peralta a 4 year deal in free agency and thus "rewarded" a known PED user, you're not paying attention.

You're not paying attention to Dave Cameron's work over at FanGraphs, where he points out that a guy like Peralta should maybe have gotten more than he actually signed for, based on comparable players and a thin market for shortstops.


You're not paying attention to the Cardinals' team history of free agent signings, which includes known PED users like Ryan Franklin, their closer for 3 years and an All-Star selection in 2009.

You're not paying attention to the rumble from various GMs who say they don't think PEDs really affect performance that much. It's their job to manage risk when they hand out contracts, and if they thought Peralta was going to crater without PEDs then he probably wouldn't have gotten a 4 year deal, if you take my meaning.

You're not paying attention to Peralta's somewhat erratic but generally above-average track record, which suggests that he was having success long before he got dinged in the Biogenesis mess and will probably have success after.

What you are paying attention to is more PED hysteria and some decidedly creaky logic. No, Peralta's not being "rewarded" with an enormous contract for doing PEDs. He's being paid slightly below market rate for a guy of his skill set in a tight market. The assumption that GMs are, as a class, so dumb that they would fail to take his PED use into account before signing him (OK, besides RAJ) and just hand over $50+M with a Goofy-esque "Gawrsh!" is what happens when the Cult of the Amateur - "I could do the job better!" - meets manufactured moral outrage - "PEDs are bad and so are the people who use them!". It's the worst sort of sanctimonious Monday Morning Quarterbacking, a Pavlovian response to the letters P-E-D that stands in for conscious thought.

Peralta cheated. He did his time. He came back. And, in accordance with that whole "Free market" thing that everyone's so excited about except when it comes to the people who actually do the damn job making money, he got paid based, not on his PED use, but on his entire body of work and what people think he's going to do going forward.

That's all. So next time, pay attention, and we'll all get along a lot better.
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