Major League Baseball and its players union are expected to finalize a deal early next week that will bring stiffer penalties for users of performance-enhancing drugs, according to a report late Wednesday evening from Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports.
Citing a top-ranking MLB official who requested anonymity, Nightengale reported that the deal will also seek to bring "widespread carbon isotope testing" to help detect a synthetic testosterone, according to the report. The move comes in the wake of the suspension of 14 players from the league last season for receiving performance-enhancing drugs from the South Florida health clinic Biogenesis despite none of them failing a drug test.
Stiffer penalties are expected to rise from 50 to 80 games for first-time offenders of PEDs, from 100 games to an entire 162-game season for second-time offenders, and a lifetime suspension for the third offense.
According to the report, players who test positive because of "inadvertent use" of a PED will have their suspensions reduced from 50 to 25 games, although it's not clear how the league will classify "inadvertent use" of the drug. The league may chose to look back on San Francisco Giants reliever Guillermo Mota as an example of "inadvertent use." Mota was suspended for 100 games in May 2012 for Clenbuterol even though he said it was just a part of his cough medicine.
In early February, it was reported that the league and its players union had been discussing the stiffer penalties. The league's newest Joint Drug Agreement had gone into effect after the 2011 season, and it expires Dec. 1, 2016, two years after commissioner Bud Selig retires following the 2014 season. VERDUCCI: Quick Pitch: Previewing the 2014 season for each team