Major League Baseball believes they have the goods on New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez. In this installment of the New York drama entitled “As The AROD Turns” we are being given a glimpse into the perceived validity of data that MLB has acquired.
MLB is so sure of the strength of their case that according to a Daily News report an ultimatum has been presented to AROD. Either serve a suspension that keeps him off the field until 2015 or face a possible lifetime ban from baseball.
This infraction would technically be the first time Rodriguez would be penalized under MLB’s Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) Policy. Rodriguez famously admitted to using PEDs from 2001-2003 while playing for the Texas Rangers but at that time MLB did not have an official policy in place to punish athletes for PED usage. With a first time offense a 50 game suspension is standard, so it is obvious MLB is looking at a mountain of data that warrants the heavy suspension ultimatum.
MLB is expecting a response from Rodriguez as soon as Monday. That decision will help frame what comes next. Rodriguez has apparently been meeting with a team of representatives and lawyers to determine the proper course of action. According to sources, there is an internal battle between Rodriguez representatives on the heels of the MRI public relations failure of recent days.
If Rodriguez turns down the offer suspending him for the remainder of 2013 and all of 2014 then MLB is expected to leverage the lifetime ban within days. If he is subject to a lifetime suspension then Rodriguez would lose the remaining $100 million plus of the 10 year contract he signed with the Yankees. Of course the MLBPA would then appeal, on the behalf of Rodriguez, creating a hearing with an arbitrator. A timetable for a decision through arbitration wouldn’t be known upfront.
If Rodriguez accepts the deal from MLB, and it is unknown if his ego could handle such a deal, he would still be eligible to play the final three years of his current contract (2015-2017). Those final three years would guarantee that he would collect the remaining $60 million on his contract. The level of play Rodriguez would be capable of as a 40 something would not factor in receiving the remainder of his contract. It is not known if there would be any legal recourse attempted by the Yankees if that did occur.
His decision rests on two underlying themes. One, does Rodriguez believe that the evidence MLB has gathered will warrant a lifetime suspension or will an arbitrator only allow for a first offense 50 game suspension? Remember Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the season for his official first time offense but it was a deal that Braun agreed to. It provides a look into the mountain of Biogenesis data in Major League Baseball’s hands.
The second point is far more subjective. Can the apparent inflated ego of Alex Rodriguez actually accept the suspension? This is man who has an apparent painting of a centaur (his upper torso on a minotaur body) hanging over his bed and was photographed and was photographed in a Details Magazine spread, kissing himself in a mirror. Can he humble himself and accept the deal with MLB? He is monetarily set for life already but to risk losing $60 million is something I am not sure even the ego of Alex Rodriguez could allow.
More details should come out throughout this week and the pocketbooks of the New York Yankees and Alex Rodriguez will hang in the balance. Are the reports accurate? Will Rodriguez accept the deal? Will there be an unparalleled punishment handed down by MLB? Stay tuned to the next edition of “As The AROD Turns” to find out.