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.