Alec Asher Suspended 80 Games

Phillies pitching prospect Alec Asher, acquired from the Texas Rangers in last summer’s blockbuster Cole Hamels trade, has been suspended by Major League Baseball for 80 games after a positive test for a performance enhancing drug.

Asher is on the disabled list at AAA and hasn’t pitched since May 17. In eight starts this season for Reading and Lehigh Valley, Asher has a combined 2.30 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. In 54.2 innings he’s struck out 35 batters and walked seven. Asher made a brief cameo for the Phillies in 2015, starting seven games and losing six of them while posting a 9.31 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP.

Asher is listed on the Phillies’ 40-man roster. His suspension will stretch into September, which means the likelihood of his making a contribution to the Phillies in 2016 is low. Asher is the least heralded of the prospects acquired from Texas at last year’s deadline. Nevertheless, with the injuries to Vince Velasquez and Mark Appel, Asher’s suspension will test the Phillies’ and the Iron Pigs’ starting pitching depth down the stretch.

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  1. Tim

    June 16, 2016 03:10 PM

    So if he’s on the DL now, do current games still count against his suspension? Or does he have to be placed back on the active roster in order for the suspension to begin? Not that I care that much about Asher at this point, just curious.

  2. Romus

    June 16, 2016 03:56 PM

    I am curious to what he has to say about this.
    The guy from the Blue Jays did not even know when or how he had ingested it into his system when he was asked in March or April.

    • Ed

      June 17, 2016 07:17 AM

      Hmmm, these guys know what they’re doing. It’s a calculated risk and the rewards are great. Players like Asher are just trying to get that edge that they don’t have. They get caught and act like a kid with their hands in a cookie jar.

  3. rlh1004

    June 17, 2016 08:32 AM

    This will continue to be a problem until clubs are allowed to void the contract of an offender… They may get suspended but at the end of the suspension they will still get their money.

    • ryan

      June 17, 2016 09:52 AM

      This will continue to happen…forever…as long as pitchers are throwing balls and batters are trying to hit them.

      Please name me a single system, from the beginning of time, from family board games to fort knox, where some people didn’t try to cheat.

      That’s not to say I’m not in favor or coming up with better rules, I just think its an exceedingly complex system that will take more than simply implementing a steeper penalty to fix.

      I also don’t really see failed tests as an indication of a problem. It seems that if Asher did knowingly take PEDs with the goal of improving his stock, then he got caught and will lose that major league development time that he sought. If there is any chance that he actually was a victim, then his punishment isn’t going to completely ruin his career.

      • Romus

        June 17, 2016 10:05 AM

        What I find interesting…that there may be two different rules for testing for the major league player and the minor league player. I may be wrong on that….but I remember reading that the CBA guidelines for testing MLB plyers are more lenient in their favor.
        Whereas minor league players have no CBA backing behind them.
        Does anyone know?

      • Tim

        June 17, 2016 11:25 AM

        Romus, the minors do indeed have different guidelines. For the majors, the Joint Drug Agreement (agreed to by the Players’ Association and MLB separately from the CBA) only applies to them, just like the CBA does. Here is a link to the minors drug program:

        I don’t know how it was agreed to since I don’t think minor leaguers have a union. But the violations vary depending on the drug. First offense for a PED is 80 games (it would have been 50 in the majors), but stimulants and drugs of abuse (weed, I guess, and harder stuff) only get you 50 games.

    • Tim

      June 17, 2016 11:10 AM

      Even if the players ever collectively bargained that right away (they wouldn’t), it wouldn’t really do much. Because then the players would become free agents, and some other club would just pay them instead. Do you think no one would have picked up Ryan Braun for a nice chunk of change if the Brewers had voided his contract after his suspension? Of course, even if the Brewers could have, they wouldn’t, because it would have been stupid (unless there were collusion, like there almost certainly was with Barry Bonds). And do you think the Phillies would even remotely consider voiding Asher’s contract if they could? He’s young and cheap, and even if he’s not a top prospect, he could potentially contribute to the team someday after his suspension. Which if he ever does contribute, no one will care about his suspension. Just like Phillies fans don’t give a shit that Carlos Ruiz was suspended. And didn’t give a shit that Marlon Byrd had been suspended before the Phillies re-signed him.

      And besides, contracts do get voided, but only after the third failed test which triggers a permanent ban.

  4. Bob

    June 17, 2016 09:29 AM

    I can’t stand the steroid cheats. The punishment is too lenient IMO.

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