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Mota suspended

ESPN via the AP reveals that Guillermo Mota has been suspended for 50 games for a violation of the MLB drug policy. One might surmise that he starting doping in between his stints in Cleveland and New York. Mota was a free agent but considering the way he pitched for the Mets last season (minus the one pitch to Scott Spiezio) there was every reason to think that he would be back in orange-and-blue.

I'm still not sure this explains what is going on in the drawing to the left here. The suspension apparently doesn't apply to winter league or spring training games, so Mota will be out of action until the end of May. Depending on your feeling about players who have tested positive for performance enhancers, Mota still might be a reasonably-cheap pickup for four months of the season.

The Mets still have Billy Wagner, Aaron Heilman and Duaner Sanchez under contract for next season, and will probably look to bring Chad Bradford back as well. I'm not entirely sure what the status of Pedro Feliciano is, but he shouldn't be eligible for free agency for a few years so the Mets can likely keep him if they want to.

UPDATE [11/2 @ 9:35am]: Mota has now apologized (Daily News via Baseball Musings):

"I have no one to blame but myself," Mota said in a statement that did not explain how he ran afoul of baseball's drug rules. "I take full responsibility for my actions and accept MLB's suspension. I used extremely poor judgment and deserve to be held accountable."

"To my teammates and the entire Mets organization, I am sorry. I truly regret what I did and hope that you can forgive me. To baseball fans everywhere, I understand that you are disappointed in me, and I don't blame you. I feel terrible and I promise this is the first and last time that this will happen. I am determined to prove to you that this was one mistake."

The steroid issue is a polarizing one. Mota is a cheater, at least as far as MLB is concerned. As a once-convicted cheater he is suspended for fifty games and is then is allowed to ply his trade some more. Whether that will be with the Mets or another team is yet to be determined. For those of you who take a hard stance against the use of PEDs, is there a point at which you forgive? Is everyone entitled to a reprieve from a single foolish transgression? When Mota completes his suspension, let's assume for a moment that he has taken his last performance enhancing drug. If he admits he has made a mistake (which he has) and he vows that it will not be repeated (that, too), will he forever be adorned with the scarlet "S" in the eyes of the fans? Or, having paid his debt to the society of baseball, is he free to resume life as it existed before? Let's say management forgives him long enough to re-sign him and he continues pitching like a bullpen ace when he returns, will we more easily forget (or forgive) what he did?