Melky Cabrera looked like a bust after five mediocre or poor seasons from 2006-2010. He was going to be another in a failed line of prospects before he suddenly knocked out 201 hits in 2011 and followed it up with a monster 2012.
These are the two types of players often nabbed for PEDs: The aging standout looking for a little extra juice or the flummoxed prospect trying to save a career. The former is why Derek Jeter -- having a magnificent 2012 season after looking to be in the twilight of his career -- was an easy target for Skip Bayless. (The problem for ol' Skip is that Jeter has a track record suggesting this type of season is not crazy ... not to mention that Jeter is perceived to be untouchable).
Both Colon and Cabrera will miss 50 games -- an important 50 games, to be sure. But here is the problem: The punishment neither directly impacts them beyond those 50 games, nor does it hurt their teams beyond losing them during that time.
The first part has an easy solution: Teams should be able to void the contracts of those busted for PEDs, even if it is a first offense. It doesn't have to be mandatory, but it should be there as a dis-incentive for cheating.
The second part, of course, is far trickier. You could say losing those players is punishment enough for a team. But the A's are in the wild card hunt. The Giants are leading their division. Both teams got to where they are with great assistance from players who were found to be cheating. While college sports have found a way to punish teams either retroactively (stripping titles and victories) or moving forward (making them ineligible for postseason play in future years after scandals), pro sports have not. Why shouldn't Colon and Cabrera be ruled "ineligible" for all the games they played this year, thus taking their teams out of contention?
Perhaps the answer is that such a punishment would actually have some teeth to it.