Phillies pitcher Kent Emanuel wants to be exonerated after unfair PED suspension
In August 2020, Kent Emanuel, a pitching prospect in the Houston Astros organization, received an 80-game suspension for violating MLB and the MLB’s Joint Drug Agreement.
Emanuel had tested positive for the metabolite dehydrochlormethyltestosterone, a retro steroid from the 1970s/80s also known as DHCMT. He denied ever “knowingly or intentionally” using any kind of performance-enhancing substance, let alone one as crude and outdated as DHCMT.
It was only a trace amount – seven picograms, to be specific – but even that was enough to land him on the sidelines for more games than would take place in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. By comparison, the UFC’s threshold for DHCMT is 100 picograms, which is supposedly the lowest amount that would actually begin to impact an athlete’s performance.
Now with the Philadelphia Phillies, the rules have changed, and Emanuel, who has long maintained – and masterfully argued – his innocence, would like the record set straight.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement, which MLB and the players’ union spent most of the offseason hashing out, governs everything in the game from minimum salary to performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). For years now, the union has tried to mandate a minimum threshold for DHCMT. They are also now asking for MLB to restore service time and salary to unfairly suspended players, as well as a public apology and exoneration to clear their names.
According to The Athletic (subscription required), Emanuel says that union officials told him “there wouldn’t be another case” like his. But the rest, The Athletic says, is “unlikely.” It’s unfair, considering Emanuel’s reputation was besmirched by something the league now deems inconsequential. Not to mention what his suspension cost him, playing time he can never get back. Other players who were suspended for the same substance saw their careers end and their reputations ruined in the league.
Emanuel also went into personal detail in what he described as a “long (but good, I promise) thread.” Most notably, he says that he tried to set up a meeting with the MLBPA, MLB, and anti-doping officials last summer and that the league was “the only party that refused to meet.”
He also alleges that MLB doesn’t want to make the changes to their Joint Drug Agreement public because changes suggest they made mistakes that require correction. It’s also why they have yet to exonerate Emanuel and any of the other DHCMT players. Emanuel’s seven picograms may as well be zero, yet the blemish on his record remains.
Essentially, MLB is reluctant to do the right thing because it will make them look like they were doing something wrong. That’s some great leadership right there, Commissioner Manfred.
Ironically, and in classic MLB fashion, that mindset means they’re already in the wrong. What else is new?