MLB's latest tactic on PEDs

Updated: March 22, 2013, 3:13 PM ET
By Buster Olney

Michael Schmidt writes that Major League Baseball is planning to sue some involved in the Miami PEDs case for damages.

From his story about the suit to be filed today:

    The suit will seek to recoup money from its targets -- including the clinic's owner and a person who worked for two prominent baseball agents -- and baseball officials also hope it will produce cooperation with their investigation into the clinic's activities.

    The suit is an attempt to solve the longstanding problem that Major League Baseball has faced in trying to discipline players who have been linked to doping but have not tested positive for a banned substance. After a 2007 report by former Senator George J. Mitchell detailed widespread use of performance enhancers by major league players, Commissioner Bud Selig created a department of investigations -- composed of former law enforcement officials -- to better police the sport.

    But to make a doping case against players who have not tested positive, the investigators need documentary evidence or witness testimony. And because the investigators do not have law enforcement privileges, like subpoena power, they have had little leverage in trying to build cases against players that would lead to suspensions.

    So now baseball is trying a new tactic. A lawsuit, if allowed to proceed, would give the sport the ability to subpoena records from the clinic, which is now closed, and compel depositions. Some of the information uncovered could then conceivably be used by baseball to justify disciplinary actions against players.

Forget the possible recompense. This is all about discovery, and if it works -- if it works -- it's an absolutely brilliant approach by Major League Baseball to get some subpoena power and access to information about drug use in Miami. It's their Trojan horse, a possible game-changer and something that should scare the heck out of players who have been hiding their PED use behind the legal system.