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Front Page: Michael Pineda Suspended 60 Games For Banned Substance

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#221 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 12:31 PM

We can't prove either side of this, I'm not sure why you're so focused on a meaningless prove a negative thing. No one is going for proof. This is a matter of interpretation unless they release transcripts (and even then, its still not concrete). Each team will make a judgment about intent when he becomes a free agent. Each fan will make a judgment when he comes back to boo, cheer, or yawn.

That said, there's no evidence for a procedural error. None. The system has been extensively retooled and the only other reduction was based on intent, not procedure. No one involved has invoked procedural problems, which they regularly did when those were present. By contrast, Pineda and the Twins have indicated that it was due to a lack of intent defense. You can doubt the veracity of that defense (readily) but there's no indication that it was a procedural matter. At this time.

People have provided reasonable ways to prove a lack of intent. They have his urine, they can test for trace amounts of illicit substances. Diuretics and masking agents don't erase the presence of those chemicals, they just take them below the limits of testing (since PED use is about the amount of a substance in you, not the presence of naturally occurring levels). There may be a scarcity of the substances it would mask that indicate that the supplement wasn't being used to hide anything. They may also have provided a bottle from Pineda's locker and a history of openly using the supplement that indicates he wasn't hiding anything. Taking it openly would influence me as an arbitrator. They also may have interviewed the buddy and gotten his story about where the mistake was made (that would be significantly less influential to me but taken with other factors, maybe its useful?)

Thoughts?


Well plenty of posters have suggested that his reduction implies that there must have been some evidence presented that he didn't take PED's, so yes some are posting that.

A test that doesn't show PED's just means he didn't have any in his system at that time. It doesn't prove that he hasn't taken them. He could have kept taking the masking agent long after he stopped using PED's, "just to be sure" he flushed it all out.

#222 ashbury

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 01:58 PM

A test that doesn't show PED's just means he didn't have any in his system at that time. It doesn't prove that he hasn't taken them. He could have kept taking the masking agent long after he stopped using PED's, "just to be sure" he flushed it all out.

The negotiated protocol involves a re-test, if a masking agent is found in the urine. I suppose the timing could be just perfect, so that the diuretic happened to flush out the last detectable bit of PED, but the odds are that the re-test will uncover something.

 

If he's taking a diuretic even after the PEDs are long gone, well, now we're into angels dancing on the head of a pin territory, and are back to the diuretics themselves being rightfully banned and therefore a stupid risk for no competitive benefit.

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#223 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 02:45 PM

 

Water alone doesn't have the same effect as a diuretic.
No amount of water would cause you to mask a drug test.
Diuretics cause you to flush out stored fluids, whereas excess water just causes you to urinate the excess water that you just drank.

excess water will dilute anything in your urine. If that's the issue at hand, I'm not sure why they don't just drink a ton of water. 


#224 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 05:09 PM

The negotiated protocol involves a re-test, if a masking agent is found in the urine. I suppose the timing could be just perfect, so that the diuretic happened to flush out the last detectable bit of PED, but the odds are that the re-test will uncover something.

If he's taking a diuretic even after the PEDs are long gone, well, now we're into angels dancing on the head of a pin territory, and are back to the diuretics themselves being rightfully banned and therefore a stupid risk for no competitive benefit.


My point is, that's (taking the diuretic long after he's stopped taking PED's) not any more of a stretch than suggesting he took a banned diuretic just to lose water weight and wasn't trying to mask anything.

#225 ashbury

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 05:21 PM

My point is, that's (taking the diuretic long after he's stopped taking PED's) not any more of a stretch than suggesting he took a banned diuretic just to lose water weight and wasn't trying to mask anything.

Agreed, and it may come down to purely philosophical views or even just semantics. I'm pretty adamantly anti-PED. But if the aim of the sport's drug policy is to reduce the harm that they perceive PEDs to bring, and if all that is being missed is PED usage infrequent enough to not be caught by periodic testing, maybe that suits my purposes.

 

But then, I spent a large portion of my career in numerical computation, dealing at times with "what really constitutes 'zero'?", on a computer. :) So I'm not inclined toward absolutes.

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#226 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 05:31 PM

Agreed, and it may come down to purely philosophical views or even just semantics. I'm pretty adamantly anti-PED. But if the aim of the sport's drug policy is to reduce the harm that they perceive PEDs to bring, and if all that is being missed is PED usage infrequent enough to not be caught by periodic testing, maybe that suits my purposes.

But then, I spent a large portion of my career in numerical computation, dealing at times with "what really constitutes 'zero'?", on a computer. :) So I'm not inclined toward absolutes.


Right. And I'm not trying to deal in absolutes.
Both are possible. I'm just pushing back at a few posters who have said something along the line of, "the arbitrator reduced his suspension, which proves that he wasn't trying to mask PED's."

Unless I'm shown the transcripts of the arbitration hearing (which won't happen), then I'm not prepared to give him that benefit of the doubt, since I don't know why the arbitrators made the decision they did.

#227 ashbury

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 05:39 PM

Right. And I'm not trying to deal in absolutes.
Both are possible. I'm just pushing back at a few posters who have said something along the line of, "the arbitrator reduced his suspension, which proves that he wasn't trying to mask PED's."

Unless I'm shown the transcripts of the arbitration hearing (which won't happen), then I'm not prepared to give him that benefit of the doubt, since I don't know why the arbitrators made the decision they did.

Well, so, I guess we're not there yet. :)

 

Masking agents like diuretics are banned, and thus suspension worthy, but they are banned because of their potential to be used to hide PEDs, not for their inherent harm or competitive edge. You're right that we haven't seen transcripts, leaving us only to infer, but the knowledge that an arbitrator reduced the suspension length suggests to me that he or she became convinced PEDs were not being masked. Because the default would have been to just let the suspension stand unchanged.

 

Proof, no. It's only supposition, but I don't think far fetched.

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#228 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 04:59 AM

Well, so, I guess we're not there yet. :)

Masking agents like diuretics are banned, and thus suspension worthy, but they are banned because of their potential to be used to hide PEDs, not for their inherent harm or competitive edge. You're right that we haven't seen transcripts, leaving us only to infer, but the knowledge that an arbitrator reduced the suspension length suggests to me that he or she became convinced PEDs were not being masked. Because the default would have been to just let the suspension stand unchanged.

Proof, no. It's only supposition, but I don't think far fetched.


It's also not far fetched to suppose that the arbitrators reduced the suspension because there was a procedural error of some kind.

#229 Only Here in Negative

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 07:36 AM

 

Well plenty of posters have suggested that his reduction implies that there must have been some evidence presented that he didn't take PED's, so yes some are posting that.

A test that doesn't show PED's just means he didn't have any in his system at that time. It doesn't prove that he hasn't taken them. He could have kept taking the masking agent long after he stopped using PED's, "just to be sure" he flushed it all out.

 

This appears too roundabout to continue going back and forth. I, with many others, have suggested that the reduction may imply that there was evidence of no PED use. You, along with many others, have suggested that any use of masking agents is evidence of PED use and the reduction is due to a procedural issue. Neither of those is provable, though I think the first is more likely give the way baseball closed procedural loopholes in the collection process.

 

I will say one other thing: your concept of how masking agents work is not correct. They don't flush the PEDs out of the system or make them disappear. They basically dilute the amounts so they are within the range of normal presence in the body. There would still be larger-than-normal amounts of the PED substance in the body, just within range of what a human could reasonably have in a natural way. If you tested someone and they had a masking agent but also extremely low levels of the PED substance, you could reasonable assume that they were unlikely to be using PEDs. Not saying that's what happened with Pineda, just refuting the concept that there's no way to know if PED use was taking place.


#230 Only Here in Negative

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 07:43 AM

 

Yes but the examples do exist.

 

But they're not relevant. This would be like if you were convicted on drug charges and we got to sentencing, where the prosecution and defense make recommendations for jail time based on prior cases. If I'm the prosecutor and I recommend death because that's how they handle it in Malaysia, that's an entirely different legal procedure and is irrelevant. Same thing if your attorney brought up cases in the Netherlands where many drugs are legal.

 

A-Rod and Alfonso are both from a prior enforcement age and are relatively irrelevant. The commissioner had broad powers to impose suspensions and arbitrators were much more involved in determining if these were too Draconian. That's why they made a new agreement that codified the process - the league got a process that wasn't subject to legal issues and the players got a process that was even and wasn't "How much in the public eye is the player". We have to compare it to cases since 2014.

 

The only relevant one is the Mondesi one that Chief pointed out. That one was due to reasonable proof there was no PED use. Still can't use the agent so still a suspension, but lessened. And notably, the postseason ban is lifted. That shows something.


#231 Only Here in Negative

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 07:51 AM

 

I still think you throw out #3 because like i've said over and over again in this thread diuretics ARE NOT diet pills. Everyone knows that. They temporarily reduce the amount of water in one's body which anyone who works out seriously knows is the exact wrong thing to do if you are attempting to get into better shape. Dehydration is not advantageous in any scenario of weight loss unless your are trying to make weight for a wrestling match and even then it's definitely not good for you and makes you less competitive because you are dehydrated. 

 

You can keep saying something over and over again but that doesn't make it relevant. No one has said "Diuretics = diet pills", they've said that diuretics are often used in diet pills. A pill can contain more than one substance mixed together. Many weight loss supplements, particularly those that the FDA doesn't look at, combine diuretics with other weight loss strategies like appetite suppression.

 

And its not like diuretics leave you incredible dehydrated. If you take them and don't drink any water, sure. But if you're an athlete and are consuming water and other liquids while performing, with an emphasis by team trainers towards hydrating on hot days, there would be minimal effect. That may lessen the impact of the diuretic but Pineda claims he didn't know it had the diuretic so that wouldn't stop him from taking it if he thought it was working in other ways. Or if he thought that it worked on his off days when he wasn't working much,.


#232 Mr. Brooks

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 10:28 AM

This appears too roundabout to continue going back and forth. I, with many others, have suggested that the reduction may imply that there was evidence of no PED use. You, along with many others, have suggested that any use of masking agents is evidence of PED use and the reduction is due to a procedural issue. Neither of those is provable, though I think the first is more likely give the way baseball closed procedural loopholes in the collection process.

I will say one other thing: your concept of how masking agents work is not correct. They don't flush the PEDs out of the system or make them disappear. They basically dilute the amounts so they are within the range of normal presence in the body. There would still be larger-than-normal amounts of the PED substance in the body, just within range of what a human could reasonably have in a natural way. If you tested someone and they had a masking agent but also extremely low levels of the PED substance, you could reasonable assume that they were unlikely to be using PEDs. Not saying that's what happened with Pineda, just refuting the concept that there's no way to know if PED use was taking place.

1) I'm glad you think it MAY point to evidence he wasn't masking. But, some posters are suggesting it proves he wasn't. Those are the ones I'm pushing back against.

2) I'm stating nothing with the certainty that you imply I am. I just lean towards masking, until/ unless someone can make a compelling argument why he wouldn't run it past the trainers, which nobody has done.

3) My point may not have been clear. I'm suggesting that he could have stopped using PED's months before the test, but continued taking the masking agent, "just to be safe". Therefore a second test would show very low levels, not because he wasn't masking, but because he'd stopped taking PED's so long before hand, that they'd broken down naturally.

4) Just because testing and handling procedures have been tightened up, doesn't mean a mistake couldn't have been made in this instance. I assume there are humans involved in the process? If so, a procedural error is always a possibility.
Do you realize how many surgery patients get tools and sponges left inside of them?

Edited by Mr. Brooks, 12 September 2019 - 10:31 AM.


#233 laloesch

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 08:09 PM

You can keep saying something over and over again but that doesn't make it relevant. No one has said "Diuretics = diet pills", they've said that diuretics are often used in diet pills. A pill can contain more than one substance mixed together. Many weight loss supplements, particularly those that the FDA doesn't look at, combine diuretics with other weight loss strategies like appetite suppression.

And its not like diuretics leave you incredible dehydrated. If you take them and don't drink any water, sure. But if you're an athlete and are consuming water and other liquids while performing, with an emphasis by team trainers towards hydrating on hot days, there would be minimal effect. That may lessen the impact of the diuretic but Pineda claims he didn't know it had the diuretic so that wouldn't stop him from taking it if he thought it was working in other ways. Or if he thought that it worked on his off days when he wasn't working much,.


I can think of three or four posts in this thread alone where people have said diurectics are diet pills but that's beside the point. The whole point of taking a diuretic is to kick your kidney's into overdrive and cleanse your system of whatever may be in it. Dehydration and over urination are simply side effects. Every diet pill i could find online had stimulants and laxactives, but no diuretics to speak, at least the legitimate ones. Ingredients like ephedra,ephedrine,pseudoephedrine, etc.

So you are taking him at his word that he didn't know what he was taking and all of this was just to lose a few pounds keeping in mind that we are a month or two before the end of the season, he's 6'-7" and 270 pounts to start with, risking it all when he could make the post season for the first time in quite a while in his career? Yeah okay.

Edited by laloesch, 12 September 2019 - 08:23 PM.


#234 laloesch

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Posted 12 September 2019 - 08:26 PM

But they're not relevant.


Sure they are and the examples aren't that old. You can spin it all you want but the examples do exist and they are perfectly valid.

Edited by laloesch, 12 September 2019 - 08:27 PM.


#235 Only Here in Negative

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:47 AM

 

 

1) I'm glad you think it MAY point to evidence he wasn't masking. But, some posters are suggesting it proves he wasn't. Those are the ones I'm pushing back against.

2) I'm stating nothing with the certainty that you imply I am. I just lean towards masking, until/ unless someone can make a compelling argument why he wouldn't run it past the trainers, which nobody has done.

3) My point may not have been clear. I'm suggesting that he could have stopped using PED's months before the test, but continued taking the masking agent, "just to be safe". Therefore a second test would show very low levels, not because he wasn't masking, but because he'd stopped taking PED's so long before hand, that they'd broken down naturally.

4) Just because testing and handling procedures have been tightened up, doesn't mean a mistake couldn't have been made in this instance. I assume there are humans involved in the process? If so, a procedural error is always a possibility.
Do you realize how many surgery patients get tools and sponges left inside of them?

 

Yeah, I guess I just see the "there was a procedural issue" in the same "you're reaching" light that you see "he didn't tell the trainers what he was taking for benign reasons". It just seems crazy that a well-oiled machine that depends on being consistent (and has experienced the PR nightmare of inconsistency) is likely to be to blame. And that the MLBPA wouldn't be going crazy in public if it had.


#236 Only Here in Negative

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:50 AM

 

I can think of three or four posts in this thread alone where people have said diurectics are diet pills but that's beside the point. The whole point of taking a diuretic is to kick your kidney's into overdrive and cleanse your system of whatever may be in it. Dehydration and over urination are simply side effects. Every diet pill i could find online had stimulants and laxactives, but no diuretics to speak, at least the legitimate ones. Ingredients like ephedra,ephedrine,pseudoephedrine, etc.

So you are taking him at his word that he didn't know what he was taking and all of this was just to lose a few pounds keeping in mind that we are a month or two before the end of the season, he's 6'-7" and 270 pounts to start with, risking it all when he could make the post season for the first time in quite a while in his career? Yeah okay.

 

Your skepticism is fine. But the facts are the facts and he didn't get busted for anything he was taking right now. This positive test was before the All-Star break and reflects on activity from the beginning of the year. That may still not convince you but we should be accurate. Seems like an agree to disagree moment.


#237 Only Here in Negative

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:56 AM

 

Sure they are and the examples aren't that old. You can spin it all you want but the examples do exist and they are perfectly valid.

 

Maybe another agree to disagree moment since you're set in stone on this but I'll take one more shot.

 

The use of PEDs from now and 2012 can be compared - they're generally the same substances and generally used the same way. So comparing A-Rod and Pineda's use of PEDs, valid.

 

You can't compare the procedural process. It underwent significant changes in 2014. Before that, it was largely commissioner's discretion and it was wildly inconsistent. There were lots of reductions and negotiations because there was no standard. The commissioner threw the book at guys (often based on how big a star they were - Selig was the hypocritical worst), the players argued back, and the arbitrator often found something in the middle - often as a result of direct negotiation between league and player's agent (e.g. Braun, A-Rod). After 2014, there were set punishments and set procedures that delineated what could reduce a suspension and what couldn't. You can't compare A-Rod's processing for PED violations with Pineda's - they're being tried under two different systems.

 

A-Rod having his suspension reduced is utterly and completely irrelevant to any attempt to decipher Pineda's reduction. I'm not sure how that's something that we can even debate, it seems crystal clear. They weren't processed under the same rules. Chief pointed out Mondesi Jr. as a guy who was a relevant comparison - he was processed under the current rules.


#238 Only Here in Negative

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 08:59 AM

 

Sure they are and the examples aren't that old. You can spin it all you want but the examples do exist and they are perfectly valid.

 

Also, I'm not spinning anything, that's kind of an insulting thing to say. Every post I use words like MAY or COULD and acknowledge that we can't know for sure. The fun of this is trying to read between the lines. I've said it before, I totally get someone who says "I don't believe these guys ever, he's guilty." I may personally think that they're being reactionary and refusing to consider any other possibilities but I get the concept and acknowledge that they may be 100% right. I just think its worth thinking a bit more critically about this and believe that there are some legitimate reasons to consider the possibility that Pineda wasn't juicing (namely, the reduction).


#239 laloesch

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Posted 13 September 2019 - 09:32 AM

 

Maybe another agree to disagree moment since you're set in stone on this but I'll take one more shot.

 

The use of PEDs from now and 2012 can be compared - they're generally the same substances and generally used the same way. So comparing A-Rod and Pineda's use of PEDs, valid.

 

You can't compare the procedural process. It underwent significant changes in 2014. Before that, it was largely commissioner's discretion and it was wildly inconsistent. There were lots of reductions and negotiations because there was no standard. The commissioner threw the book at guys (often based on how big a star they were - Selig was the hypocritical worst), the players argued back, and the arbitrator often found something in the middle - often as a result of direct negotiation between league and player's agent (e.g. Braun, A-Rod). After 2014, there were set punishments and set procedures that delineated what could reduce a suspension and what couldn't. You can't compare A-Rod's processing for PED violations with Pineda's - they're being tried under two different systems.

 

A-Rod having his suspension reduced is utterly and completely irrelevant to any attempt to decipher Pineda's reduction. I'm not sure how that's something that we can even debate, it seems crystal clear. They weren't processed under the same rules. Chief pointed out Mondesi Jr. as a guy who was a relevant comparison - he was processed under the current rules.

 

I don't think you understand what i'm saying. You are diving down into the proverbial rabbit hole pulling up the technicalities, procedures and sequence of events of past PED suspensions, which is fine but irrelevant to me considering my earlier posts never got into the comparison conversation other than to state that Pineda is not the only one to get caught for PED use.

 

I don't doubt that testing, procedures, and how penalties are handed out by the commissioner have changed since Arod's suspension but again, that was never my point and never implied by my earlier posts. I'm not sure where you are going with this to be perfectly honest.

 

My original message is simple and states that Pineda got caught for taking a banned substance (Diuretic) which IS NOT a diet pill and he got smacked with a suspension as a result, which IS 100% TRUE. He's also not alone in being suspended for something like this which was a response to Brock's post, nothing more nothing less.

 

I'm more than happy to debate whether or not he knew what he was doing (I don't buy it, but that's my opinion and i'm entitled too it), but that changes nothing and at the end of the day the team won't benefit from his services after paying him 10 million dollars two years ago, while allowing him to rehab and work his way back this season.  

 

I don't know what else there is too say and i'm not gonna argue with you for the sake of just arguing, it's not productive and it's pointless in this discussion..

Edited by laloesch, 13 September 2019 - 10:25 AM.


#240 KirbyDome89

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Posted 16 September 2019 - 06:01 PM

 

1. It wasn't a month before the postseason. He was notified two months ago (he provided a timeline yesterday) and the appeal took that long. He presumably took it before then, which likely means this started very early in the season. The drug process is not quick (and if you think that Pineda was cheating, that's kind of an issue. He got to pitch for two whole months after he tested positive. If the PED crowd was serious about the "integrity of the game" they should be howling now.)

 

2. My point is simply that arbitrators don't reduce suspensions for no reason. They've only done it once before during the current regime. That points to one of two things - a procedural issue they gave him credit for or he convinced the arbitrator this truly was an accidental ingestion. The first is very unlikely since baseball has cleared up the collection process and no one has indicated that is a reason (and in the past, players have been fast to do that). So that evidence clearly points to the latter. Which of course doesn't mean that Pineda didn't pull a fast one on the arbitrator. Though that seems unlikely since no one else has been able to.

That timeline doesn't make it any less suspicious. Whether he's taking the drug early season, mid season, or at the end, they all have benefits. 

 

Neither if more likely than the other because we've heard nothing about why the suspension was reduced. All the protocol in the world can't remove human error, and that assuming it was even human error and not an issue with the protocol itself. If he's masking, it'd be in his best interest not to reveal that the suspension was reduced due to a technical issue. It also wouldn't jive with the explanation he gave for the drug use, which lets be honest isn't the most sound or convincing story.  




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