As we trek through the offseason (please, baseball, come back, the Boston Red Sox need another championship), the signing of big, and small, player contracts occurs. Many may ask why any player needs to sign a contract for so much money and so long while other players barely get a fourth of that amount or number of years.

Even more important than the above questions: Why does Major League Baseball make such “big” attempts at suspending, and slowly eliminating, the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), yet allows repeat offenders to be rewarded with spectacular contracts?

Sure, one can use the excuse “teams construct contracts, therefore, the league does not have any say in rewarding offenders.” Wrong. The league does have a say. Look at National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern. Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers last year? Nope.

The most lucrative contract signed in baseball, at the time of this article being written, bears the signature of Alex Rodriguez, a performance-enhancing drug user, and is worth $275 million over 10 years.

During this offseason, free agent Jhonny Peralta inked a 4-year, $52 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals. Another user of performance-enhancing drugs. By the way, according to Business Insider, Peralta’s 50-game suspension for PEDs last year cost him about $1.8 million in lost salary. Guess his average of $13 million a year for the next four years will make up for that loss.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the “usual” contract for players coming off suspensions for PEDs is a two-year contract worth $16 million. Melky Cabrera and Marlon Byrd both received those amounts, according to Rosenthal.

Active players are realizing that the “rewarding” of performance-enhancing drug users is ridiculous.

Free agent David Aardsma summed it up nicely when he tweeted, shortly after the announcement of Peralta’s deal, “Apparently getting suspended for PEDs means you get a raise. What’s stopping anyone from doing it? #weneedtomakeachange”

Brad Ziegler, an Arizona Diamondback and player representative, tweeted, “It pays to cheat. Thanks, owners, for encouraging PED use.” He followed that up with another tweet which read, “We thought 50 games would be a deterrent. Obviously, it’s not. So we are working on it again.”

So, owners, team officials, league officials, why are we rewarding PED users after handing them a lengthy suspension?

Let us show not only current players, but up-and-coming players from high school and college, that using performance-enhancing drugs is bad and will get you nowhere in the big leagues.

George Harvey, an intern for Courier Publications, lives in Coral Springs, Fla., except in the summer, when he resides in Warren. The Coral Springs Christian Academy junior has had a passion for sports journalism since a young age. He can be reached by e-mail at