Posted August 04, 2013

Years of mistrust color MLB’s impending suspension of Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez, MLB, suspension
Alex Rodriguez has long been in MLB's crosshairs for performance enhancing drug use.

Alex Rodriguez has long been in MLB’s crosshairs for performance enhancing drug use. (Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

Major League Baseball is prepared to announce Monday that New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will be banned for the remainder of this season and all of next season. The decision comes as a result of multiple violations of both the Joint Drug Agreement and Collective Bargaining Agreement, according to sources familiar with baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis scandal. The planned suspension, covering 214 games, could effectively end Rodriguez’s career.

MLB moved to begin closure on Rodriguez’s status Saturday after weeks of unproductive talks with the former MVP through a series of changing lawyers and representatives for Rodriguez. MLB first spoke to Rodriguez on July 12 about the evidence it held against him. Officials spent two hours that day asking Rodriguez questions about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, his connection to Biogenesis, including texts between him and clinic director Anthony Bosch, and possible obstruction of baseball’s investigation. Rodriguez refused to answer all questions, ostensibly on Fifth Amendment grounds. Subsequent talks between Rodriguez’s representatives and MLB, made primarily through the union, went nowhere.

On Saturday, Rodriguez asked Michael Weiner, executive director of the players association, to arrange a meeting with MLB officials that would include Rodriguez’s representatives, union officials, MLB officials and executives from the Yankees. Rodriguez reached out to the Yankees with an e-mail about his proposed meeting, though discipline in such cases as defined by the CBA is not a club matter and can only involve the commissioner’s office.

The request for a roomful of lawyers proved to be the last straw. Baseball officials, according to a source familiar with the talks about Rodriguez between the union and MLB, decided to that an end to the long, unproductive road had been reached. Baseball was already eager to resolve the cases of players facing 50-game suspensions by Monday so that such suspensions would end before the start of postseason. Rodriguez, it was decided, would be included in that self-imposed deadline.

JAFFE: MLB tips its hand with reaction to latest Alex Rodriguez comments

Up to 12 suspensions are expected to be announced Monday, including those involving Nelson Cruz of Texas, Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers and Francisco Cervelli of the Yankees. The suspensions will include the name of at least one player whose connection to Biogenesis has not been previously reported, according to sources familiar with the case, though that player was described as not being a high profile individual.

Though Rodriguez hinted Friday night about a conspiracy by the Yankees and MLB to keep him off the field, a source familiar with baseball’s thinking said those comments did not factor heavily in the decision Saturday to press ahead with the planned suspension, calling such reports “overstated.”

More important to the decision was that fact that baseball and Rodriguez were never on the same page about how he should be treated in the Biogenesis case, a dispute that could be at the center of an appeal. Rodriguez’s camp argued that Rodriguez should be treated the same as players facing 50-game suspensions — that is, as a player with no previous recorded violations of the Joint Drug Agreement. Rodriguez, as reported by SI in 2009, did fail a 2003 test for steroids, but testing in that season was undertaken for survey purposes only with no penalties attached. Rodriguez subsequently admitted that he used PEDs from 2001 through 2003 — again, when no testing with penalties existed — though the evidence obtained by MLB in the Biogenesis case has been reported to detail the use of PEDs by Rodriguez at least in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Documents said to be the logbooks of Bosch and published by the Miami New Times in January detailed an extensive doping regimen associated with Rodriguez’s name, including at least 19 different drugs to be taken morning, noon and night through multiple delivery systems, including pills, injections and lozenges.

Bamberger: Rodriguez’s Saturday night in Trenton felt like the end

MLB had contended that Rodriguez’s actions were so pervasive and extended over so many years that, like Ryan Braun, the Brewers outfielder who accepted a 65-game suspension last month, he should be considered a multiple offender. MLB suspended Braun not just as a first-time violator of the JDA, but also as a violator of the CBA in regards to his actions related to his 2011 failed drug test, when Braun held a dramatic news conference to proclaim his innocence and suggest a conspiracy by the urine specimen collector.

Rodriguez still has time to offer baseball terms of a settlement beyond a 50-game suspension and less than the planned 214-game suspension, though he publically has said he will “fight” any discipline.

If baseball goes ahead with its plan to also suspend Rodriguez for violating not only the JDA but also the CBA, Rodriguez would be ineligible to play while his appeal is heard and decided, a process expected to take about 45 days. A 214-game suspension would sideline Rodriguez until the 2015 season, a season when he turns 40 years old. It may be unlikely the Yankees would want Rodriguez back at that age after two years out of baseball and with such disgrace attached to him — even if Rodriguez would be due $61 million for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons. Those years are the last three seasons of a 10-year deal the Yankees bestowed on him in 2007 while thinking he would smash the all-time home run record and become baseball’s celebrated “clean” champion.

A 214-game suspension would save the Yankees about $34 million and make it much easier for them to execute their key business plan to reduce their 2014 payroll to $189 million, a maneuver designed to reset their competitive balance tax rate, save millions of dollars and allow for another ramping up of payroll in 2015. They may find the cost of buying out Rodriguez to be cheaper or at least more palatable than having him wear a Yankees uniform again.

Whether another team would sign Rodriguez as a released free agent in 2015 is unclear. Barry Bonds could not find a job as a free agent after his age 42 season — and that was while he still was playing regularly and being productive. He led the league in on-base percentage in 2006 and 2007, his final two seasons.

48 comments
propackage
propackage

Let everyone calm down. The person that put up this evidence is essentially a jail house snitch. He is cutting a deal with his testimony. Bud Selig is a piece of crap, not unlike the piece of crap that suspended pete rose, for basically betting on his team to win. They don't have a dirty urine test and I am sure he gave them plenty of samples. You all would not like to be convicted on this limited amount of evidence. Organized baseball is another quasi government that is pushing its agenda. Let them prove their case. Could not convict Clemens either. If you are right this should be no problem.

camaro90
camaro90

If A-Rod is not treated the same as the other players, I will never watch another baseball game. It is only fair A-Rod be treated fairly. It is not fair to go back during A-Rod career. Just because MLB did not have a way to deal with the players back then is a pie in the face of the  MLB commissioner. I have been a NY Yankee fan for 40 years and if A-Rod gets more then 50 games, I will boycott MLB in my house.

MarkCalasade
MarkCalasade

This is not a ban; it's a suspension, and through 2014 is NOT enough. Were MLB serious about cleaning up the game, A-rod would be banned for life. Selig has no balls.

cmub
cmub

Recently I heard someone comment that what would help put an end to the abundance of PEDs and HGH throughout MLB would be the ability of clubs to void long-term contracts if a player is caught using the banned substances.  The current 50 or 100 game suspensions, not including Braun or the upcoming A-Rod suspensions, hurt the player's wallets, but the long contracts with guaranteed money offsets the loss.  If you can void the contract then those players are going to find it harder to get on teams, or even stay with the current team, without facing lesser contracts to compensate for the risks involved.

muser
muser

It seems like it might be 2015 before MLB announces what's been in the media forever...

rogerdale38
rogerdale38

When Roger Maris broke the Babes single season home run mark, MLB put an asterisk next to his name because he did it in 162 games vs 154 games. I think it's been removed since. Do we extend this action to known and admitted cheaters? I just feel that once a liar and a cheat, always a liar and a cheat. Just my thoughts.

JamieBreslow
JamieBreslow

A-Rod is baseball's version of John Travolta. We know it, he knows it, but still he's gonna appeal it. It looks a lot better if you just tell the truth so everyone can move on.

RealJDSportsFan
RealJDSportsFan

I don't think the appeal is going to work and there is no reason for it to work, I think MLB has compiled enough evidence on him that it's going to be tough for him to win an appeal. And if this is under violations of the CBA instead of drug policy then he won't be playing during the appeal. Here is an article on the CBA and how they can suspend him under it: http://wp.me/p2wecE-hd

GoPSULions
GoPSULions

The Yankees knew when they signed him to the last contract that he had failed an earlier drug test, so they can't be that surprised that he continued to use PEDs.  If he was not in decline, I would not expect the negative side from the Yankees.

With that said, he has been caught again, if you believe the reports, and he should just resign at this point.  He is a player on the way down.  Sitting out for essentially two seasons will not improve his game.  Yes, he could potentially collect on the back end of the contract, but why continue to put yourself and the family through all this.  Just retire and the news will die down.  Otherwise it just continues.

mystafugee
mystafugee

Speaking of shady, Bud Selig who was one of the major culprits in the 1980s collusion case which the owner's lost.  

mystafugee
mystafugee

I didn't realize Selig was turning into Goodell making these cases personal and his decisions arbitrary.  

bwillybwillybwilly
bwillybwillybwilly

Instead of calling him "A-ROD," we should refer to him as "A-FRAUD," not?

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

"I don't see what the big deal about A-Rod is."

-Barry Bonds

BWS102
BWS102

this will never hold up with the union 

alex47666-123
alex47666-123

im glad he is appealing for one he never was tested positive for PEDs everyone else on the list was caught. 2nd its a joke 212 games what melky got 100 bruan got 65. Melky made up a website saying it wasnt true and bruan got caught lied and then got caught lying. Arod came out when he got caught in 03 when he took it for his injury.  

howdythurr
howdythurr

sounds like he took the deal...better than a lifetime ban imo

friendly--neighborhood--scrawler
friendly--neighborhood--scrawler

It's about time, this guy has been dirty since Texas which he admitted to, so i believe he has been using since Seattle and has not stop !!! A-Roid continuously lied and spat in the face of MLB and its fans. The players union and owners has as much blame for allowing baseball to be formed around one form of cheating or another. whether it's greenies , amphetamines, steroids, HGH, cork bats to doctored balls, THIS sport has no one to blame expect the higher ups they say crap falls downhill . Using A-Roid as a scapegoat wont help matters. if you really want to clean up the game from now on A player uses once, life time ban with the guidelines clearly marked out. You cannot reverse the hands of time and desegregate baseball just like you can't do the same for drugs and cheating, its what you do going forward , lay down hard and fast rules if you want the game to be clean. 

Why don't players gamble on the game... because the consequences are too high,  make it the same way for drugs users

CodyWells
CodyWells

I am so tired of Alex and all his lies. I do not feel sorry for him. Baseball is supposed to be about Strengthening and conditioning. He took steroids and does not belong in the Hall Of Fame

cbpwabb
cbpwabb

I would like to see the day when all pro sports, and their associated player unions, support a policy of LIFETIME ban for use of performance enhancing drugs.  It has taken far too long for baseball (MLB) to put its foot down and change many of its longstanding policies.  Next to be addressed is a salary cap.. But that is a conversation for another time. Thanks

Action
Action

This story isn't interesting.  What is interesting is this year's Houston Astros team.

pamperofirpo
pamperofirpo

A Fraud is a jerk and a louse. But, ifI were him, I would push this into arbitration as well. A 214 game suspension is unlikely to stand. It is way more than any suspension ever. It seems like MLB/Selig s making this personal. And, the Yankees motive is to get A Fraud off their payroll completely. My guess is that the suspension ultimately gets reduced to 100-130 games. The max seems to me to be double what Braun received.

DEJ1948
DEJ1948

A-Rod will be better off as soon as he realizes that no one in or out of baseball wants anything to do with him.  Do us all a solid and go gently into the night.  

Mel
Mel

Bye bye Arod....lololol

AnthonyP5500
AnthonyP5500

@camaro90 

But it's not the same.  He didn't just fail a test, or get caught cheating, he actively obstructed the investigation.  That's the one accusation I've read that seems to carry some weight and a paper trail where he tried to buy up documents.  It's an offense not covered by the JDA, something that seems materially detrimental to baseball in my opinion, and worthy of a suspension outside of it however the commissioner deems fit.  MLB is a business and A-Rod is an employee.  That discretion in the commissioners power is on the books and has been during A-Rod's entire career.  It's not unfair.

propackage
propackage

@MarkCalasade  I don't agree. It is about more than Rodriguez, it is about due process. You don't believe in due process then that's another matter. You feel that baseball players don't have the right for due process, when you get fired at work for some crap I hope you understand it then

propackage
propackage

@cmub let everybody pee in the cut at the start of every game or the end of every game. If they fail that is the end, Until they fail I am not interested. Radar is a development that goes against the constitution. It puts you under surveillance before they think you have committed a crime. This is one step worse. Here you are punished with no evidence that you committed a crime. I want to see evidence, not the paperwork of someone trying to cut a deal for himself. 

vinjack
vinjack

@JamieBreslow Travolta used PEDs? No wonder his acting has gotten stronger as he gets older. 


Mike26
Mike26

@BWS102 We'll see if the union is serious or not about cleaning up the game.  They SAY they are - this will be its first test.

Jack38
Jack38

@CodyWells I fine A-Rod a disgusting person. But think of this: Why did he take PED's? Answer: To play better, to produce more for his team and himself. He wanted to play more games and play them better. Contrast that to, say, Mickey Mantle, whose night crawling kept him out of games. Or Gaylord Perry, who wrote a book about how he cheated during games (and everyone laughed). Jim Bouton detailed how Whitey Ford would cut balls with his wedding ring and use Ellie Howard to load up a mud ball. 

Why is A-Rod's trying to use drugs to be better so bad when stars of other eras cheated fans and each other. My guess is that, like Barry Bonds, A-Rod's lack of likeability makes the difference

Mark112
Mark112

@DEJ1948 

 

I think it's "...go gentle into that good night" but I agree with you sentiment 110% (as Pete Rose might say). Come to think of it, maybe A-Rod could join Pete in Vegas and share some quality moments; they deserve each other.

likedoohan
likedoohan

@DEJ1948 He won't. Even if he is suspended for this year and the next, the Yanks still owe him $61 million for 2015-17. He's not going to walk away from that.

PAZSKY
PAZSKY

@vinjack @JamieBreslow Ah, so it was Vincent Vega who threw Tony Rocky Horror through the four-story window and not Marcellus Wallace...it was roid rage! 

mystafugee
mystafugee

@Mike26 @BWS102 That's not the union's job, their job is to make sure their player's interests are protected.  In this case it's whether ARod gets a fair shake.  

gregubanks
gregubanks

@Jack38 @CodyWells  You are wrong Jack, thats what made mickey mantle what he was the fact he played through the injuries and night life as many of the players did!!!

Mike26
Mike26

@Jack38 @CodyWells No, the cheating itself is what makes one unlikable in most people's books.  Cheating to play better in a GAME (yes, a pro career at the same time) stains EVERYTHING one does and the collateral damage on the game, teammates and organization is far more damaging than the player considers or cares about.

MarkBritten
MarkBritten

@likedoohan @DEJ1948 They could probably try to get his contract voided due to the suspension (they could claim he brought the team into disrepute or something). It would probably end up in a long court case though.