It’s been approximately five months since Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig issued an unprecedented 211-game suspension to New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez for allegedly violating the league’s Joint Drug Agreement and interfering with the league’s investigation. The decision, being made by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, is due any day now. According to sources it could happen at any minute.
Shortly after the ban was issued the MLB Player’s Association (MLBPA) filed a grievance against Rodriguez’s suspension saying it was without “just cause.” A-Rod, who has never failed a drug test, has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) during his tenure with the Rangers between 2001 and 2003 but not since the league’s Joint Drug Agreement was implemented. The 211 game ban is the most of any player since Miguel Tejada received 105 games in early 2013 for amphetamines. The suspension is broken down into 50 games for violating the Joint Drug Agreement and 111 days for interfering with the investigation of the Biogenesis lab in Florida.
A-Rod supposedly, according to MLB, leaked Biogenesis documents that implicated Milwaukee Brewers’ player Ryan Braun and Yankee teammate Francisco Cervelli. That is why MLB believes that he deserves a more severe sentence then the other players found to be involved in the with the scandal.
Sources told ESPN’s Wallace Mathews that Rodriguez would consider taking a reduced ban as long as it was in the vicinity of 100 games or fewer. If the suspension is reduced to somewhere near 65 games, like the ban Braun received, there is a good chance that A-Rod will accept the ruling. If the sentence is not reduced to Rodriguez’s liking, he and his attorneys will file an injunction against the decision citing that it violates federal labor laws. A source told the New York Daily News,
“The papers are all ready. They are just waiting for the announcement.”
This would allow A-Rod to play for most, if not all, of the 2014 season. Proceedings of this kind usually take between four and six months to resolve. Taking the case to federal court could hurt the Yankees’ slugger more than it could help him. It would cost him upwards of $10 million with no guarantee of emerging from the proceedings victorious.
It seems like everyone, from the media and the fans to people who don’t even watch baseball, is waiting for this saga to come to a conclusion. Even though Rodriguez may take the case farther, it will cease to be quite the media circus it is today. Spectators have been watching this unfold for close to half a year.
The decision in this case is also hindering the Yankees ability to go after free-agent players. The Yankees still owe A-Rod $86 million through 2017, $25 million (plus bonuses) for this season alone. In order to avoid paying higher luxury taxes for going over MLB’s team spending limit, they need to know how much money they can afford to spend on pitching and potentially a new third baseman. The Yankees have been rumored to be one of the teams going after Japanese pitcher, Mashiro Tanaka. Under the new posting agreement recently negotiated between Nippon Professional Baseball and Major League Baseball the bidding war for Tanaka will be one of the largest ever, making it even more important for the Yankees to know Horowitz’s decision and A-Rod’s subsequent action.
It was reported that there was a strong possibility that the public would know the fate of Alex Rodriguez yesterday so expect some big news to break in the coming hours of the weekend.