Post-Steroids Have Aging Baseball Players Been Devalued

By Paul Grossinger

It's February 2012 and Johnny Damon, Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Raul Ibanez, Eric Chavez, and Hideki Matsui remain unemployed. Can you even imagine that happening to six, over-37 former All-Stars back in 2006?

Not a chance.

Back in 2006, Mike Mussina (38), Miguel Bautista (35), Jim Edmonds (36), Frank Thomas (38), and Barry Bonds (42) all signed for multiyear deals worth over $15 million. If any of their 2011 counterparts sign, it will be for a one year deal at less than $5 million.

What happened? Steroids are gone from baseball and executives now assume that older players will break down and fall apart like old skeletons. Is that a fair assumption?

Steroids and performance enhancing drugs certainly helped older players avoid injury and regain their vitality and bat speed. Mark McGwire admitted as much when he told longtime fans that he took steroids to recover from chronic injuries. Those drugs also helped him play better than he did in his late 20s prime and break baseball's home run records.

But are performance-enhancers alone responsible for the value older players provide? Should their disappearance, and the increasingly lower-levels of productivity by players over 35, mean an end to the illustrious careers of future Hall of Famers like Damon and Guerrero?

No. Players of that caliber were definitely seen as more valuable in 2006 but their veteran contributions on the field and in the locker room should not be completely discounted. They are diminished but should certainly not be forgotten.

Jim Edmonds
Milwaukee Brewers center fielder Jim Edmonds (15) bats late in the game. The St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 7-1 in the final game of a four-game homestand at Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis, MO.

Two years ago, Guerrero was an excellent designated hitter for the Rangers. He still has enough bat speed and power to help several contenders. Damon helped the Rays to the playoffs last year and is viewed as one of the best clubhouse influences in the game. Are those types of contributions to a ball club truly worth less than $4 million?

As baseball transitions out of the steroid era, its clubs need to reassess older players' contributions to their teams. They are no-longer ageless sluggers who merit multiyear, seven figure contracts. But leaving them unemployed is an equally egregious mistake.

New! Facebook Comments

Leave a comment about this article in the box below and share it with your Facebook friends.

What do you think?

We'd love to hear your comments and/or opinions. If you submit them here, other visitors can read them, rate them and comment on them. An e-mail address is not required.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Agree, except Damon Not Future HOF'er Not rated yet
Some good points. $4-5 million and a one-year commitment is nothing for most teams and certainly worth the good karma and potential production. But …

Click here to write your own.

From Post-Steroids Have Aging Baseball Players Been Devalued to MLB Baseball Blog | Sports Blog | NFL Football Blog | NCAA Football Blog | NFL Football Archives | College Football Archives | College Baseball Blog | MLB Baseball Archives | NBA Basketball Blog | NCAA Basketball Blog | NBA Basketball Archives | NCAA Basketball Archives | Fantasy Football | Fantasy Basketball | Fantasy Baseball | Soccer Archives | Olympics Archives | Stupid Athletes Archives | Other Archives | Football Forum | Basketball Forum | Baseball Forum | NFL Football Store | NBA Basketball Store | MLB Baseball Store | NCAA Football Store | NCAA Basketball Store | NCAA Baseball Store | Fatheads | NFL Football Tickets | NBA Basketball Tickets | MLB Baseball Tickets | NCAA Football Tickets | NCAA Basketball Tickets | NCAA Baseball Tickets |

Home Page
About Us | Contact Us | Site Search | Advertise | Terms of Use |

+1 The Best Sports Blog

Hot Stores!

Ticket City
Hot Tickets!

Subscribe To Blog

[?] Subscribe To
This Site
Add to Google
Add to My Yahoo!
Add to My MSN
Add to Newsgator
Subscribe with Bloglines

Like This Page

Visit Our Social Pages

Become a Fan of on Facebook Find on Google+ Follow TheBestSportsBlog.vom on YouTube
Follow on Twitter  


We are always very interested in reader comments about the site -- especially ideas about how to improve it.

Please leave a thought.