That’s not to absolve the Astros. The organization has acted poorly, every step of the way. From assistant GM Brandon Taubman’s reprehensible comments shouted in the direction of three female reporters, to the responses from the Astros — which included smearing the integrity of Sports Illustrated reporter Stephanie Apstein — it’s been somehow almost worse, which is a difficult bar to shimmy under.But the reason those things happened is because of the environment created by MLB’s decision-makers — and this includes the MLBPA, too. Positive strides have been taken: In the past four years, eight players have been suspended at least 20 games for DV incidents. Roberto Osuna, the relief pitcher at the center of the current Astros debacle, served a 75-game suspension in 2018. And MLB isn’t waiting for criminal convictions to impose these suspensions, which a good thing, certainly.But, somehow, baseball has created a scenario that actually encourages these kinds of situations in October, and that has to stop. Instead of celebrating the best of a wonderful sport, the worst types of athletes — those who act with physical violence toward their partners — are front and center in the postseason because the current system allows it.MORE: MLB, players union have had “positive” talks on opioidsThink about the scenarios we’ve seen play out, both with Osuna and with Aroldis Chapman. Both were suspended for domestic violence issues (Chapman for 30 games in 2016). That drove their trade value way, way down. No non-contender would want to deal with the fallout from trading for a person like that, right? But some contenders — the Astros in 2018 and the Yankees in 2016 — calculated that the risk was worth the reward, and they acquired the All-Star closers for pennies on the dollar (the Cubs, apparently, decided enough time had passed after Chapman’s suspension when they acquired him from the Yankees, but that price was steep, which means trading for an abuser was a huge win for the team willing to ignore what he allegedly did to his girlfriend). So baseball, although certainly unintentionally, has helped create a market glitch that benefits morally bereft teams and places these domestic abusers in the brightest spotlight of the entire baseball calendar. And we can criticize the Astros, Yankees and Cubs all we want, but in a bottom-line sport where winning is all that matters, they just coldly took advantage of the situation and reaped the rewards.Lay violent hands on a woman, get traded to a World Series contender! Trade for a player who was just suspended for abusing his partner, win a championship flag that will fly forever!Are you kidding me?In an ideal world, no baseball front office would want anything to do with a player who beats a woman. But that’s clearly not the case, unfortunately. So MLB — again, working with the MLBPA — has to step in and provide severe deterrents to prevent situations like Osuna and the Astros from playing out. How should baseball fix this?Postseason bansHere’s the first step: With any domestic violence suspension handed out by MLB, postseason bans have to be added, starting with two years from the end of the suspension. So a player who serves a 50-game suspension from April to May 2020, for example, wouldn’t be eligible to compete in the postseason until October 2022. This should apply to any player, regardless of age/contract status/salary. Harsh? Easy way to avoid it. Don’t commit a violent physical act against your partner. It’s not a radical concept. Postseason bans are already part of PED suspensions, and domestic violence incidents leave a much worse stain on the sport. Would the Astros have traded for Osuna if he wasn’t eligible to play in the postseason until October 2020? Probably not. The Cubs certainly wouldn’t have traded for free-agent-to-be Chapman in 2016 if he couldn’t have pitched in that postseason. So that’s the beginning. Team deterrentsThere needs to be a second step, too. Any team that signs/trades for a player who is serving (or has already served) a domestic violence suspension — of any length — has to share in the risk, and not just from a “bad PR” standpoint. The Astros have shown that’s not a deterrent at all. So, this: If any player who already has been suspended for a DV incident gets suspended for a second incident by baseball, the team that traded for/signed him must face a harsh penalty, too. That punishment starts with a severe fine — millions of dollars, donated directly to DV causes — and include loss of draft picks, plural. If baseball wants to truly take a stand against domestic violence, everyone has to be committed to the cause. And if a front office truly believes in second chances — not just Houston, New York and Chicago lip service — then it has to share in the rehabilitation process and shoulder the burden of a relapse. This era of empty promises and hollow words has to end. The end goalHere’s the thing: Baseball’s stand against domestic violence has to be about prevention, too, not just punishment. Every single player who puts on a baseball uniform, at any level, has to know his career will be severely impacted — maybe ended — if he commits any act of domestic violence. That has to be so ingrained in players’ minds that, even in fits of rage, a thought just might flash through their mind: I’m about to throw it all away. Because if these measures stop even one woman from being violently, physically abused by a professional athlete, MLB will be doing something right. Make no mistake: The ultimate blame for the ugly mess surrounding the Astros that dominated the days and hours leading up to Game 1 of the World Series rests at the feet of Major League Baseball. Punishments for the players suspended for domestic violence have to be more harsh, and deterrents for the teams acquiring players suspended for domestic violence have to exist. Because this entire situation could have easily been avoided.