What Will a Stimulant Cost Mike Cameron?

Last week, MLB announced that Mike Cameron tested positive for a banned stimulant. This was a second offense, which means he is suspended for the first 25 games of the 2008 season. This is interesting because Cameron is a free agent, and any team that signs him will get him for 25 fewer games. I have been wondering how the market will treat Cameron. Will he earn a salary commensurate with his projected full-season value minus the 25 games, or will there be further penalty for his misbehavior?

Let’s keep this simple by using his 2007 performance and playing time. I’ll also make a rough adjustment for defense. Given his batting performance for a center fielder, Cameron’s 2007 was worth approximately $12.63 million. When I take away those 25 games, what he produced was worth $10.35 million; therefore, the suspension time alone ought to generate a loss of about $2.28 million. That is a pretty steep fine, but he still as another $10 million that he can use to dab away the tears.

The question is: how much less (if any) will he get beyond this amount? I acknowledge that these are just estimates, and differences between an actual and projected contract may be a product of mis-estimation. However, if he doesn’t get much less than this, then I think it’s pretty safe to say that fan indignation towards PEDs is more talk than substance. I look forward to seeing what he gets.

8 Responses “What Will a Stimulant Cost Mike Cameron?”

  1. tangotiger says:

    JC, I’d strongly urge you to add in a fielding component. This makes an enormous difference. Even if you just want to go with +1 win for an above average fielder and -1 win for a below average, this has got to be done. Especially for what you are trying to imply here. I get a free agent win costs 4.4MM each. Making Mike Cameron a +1 fielder in CF seems reasonable, so that’s an extra 4.4MM that’ll cost a team.

    Even if you don’t have your own fielding numbers, there’s plenty out there to use, be it BP FRAA, The Fans Scouting Report, STATS ZR, THT RZR, etc, etc.

  2. Ron says:

    The more interesting question is will the suspension affect the number of years on the contract he gets? Will GMs not want to give him a longer deal for fear of a repeat suspension? Will he have to prove himself by taking a 1 year deal and not testing positive for the 137 games he can play?

  3. Simon says:

    It won’t measure ‘fan indignation’ towards PED but GM’s attitude.

    I guess a detailed investigation of fans’ attitude to PED would reveal that there is a strong correlation with the popularity of the athlete before the positive test. So you have Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis, Jason Giambi and Barry Bonds. Who the public chooses to get irate about seems unrelated to the severity of charges, likelyhood they are guilty or evidence that they benefited.

  4. Jake says:

    I agree with Ron.

    Does a team shy away from him now out of fear of a third positive test?

  5. Marc Schneider says:


    I don’t understand how his contract does or does not reflect fan indignation, unless you are saying that GMs won’t sign guys because they think fans will stop coming. That’s not really a fair analysis. That’s sort of like saying if people were really upset about high gas prices, they would stop driving. I think the indignation is real but like a lot of things isn’t enough to make people give up something they need or like.

  6. pawnking says:

    I’d say any GM who signs him should have a clause where they will be able to walk away from it should he test positive again without remuneration.

  7. tangotiger says:

    Unless I’m crazy, when a player is suspended, it is without pay. You don’t need an extra clause.

  8. Jake says:

    Well money aside, if I’m a GM looking for a CF I’m only going to sign one guy to play that position. Cameron can’t play CF if he’s suspended again. So it would be risky signing him over someone else who may not be as good but is more likely to complete the season.