Evan Longoria on A-Rod’s return to Yankees: ‘I don’t think it’s fair’
Evan Longoria spoke to SI.com’s Jimmy Traina for his Hot Clicks Podcast on Thursday and had a few things to say about performance-enhancing drug use in the game and Alex Rodriguez’s return to the rival New York Yankees. On the latter subject, Longoria expressed dismay that Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211-game suspension in the Biogenesis case could allow him to impact the pennant race.
I don’t think it’s fair for the other teams, because I’m in the American League East. Whether he is 100 percent or not, whether his mind is where it needs to be or not, he can affect the game in a positive way. He can affect the game in a tremendous way, which is being in the lineup. In a pennant race, he’s a guy you don’t want in the lineup. Looking at it from that perspective and that perspective only, I don’t think it’s fair that we can’t have an arbitrator hear the case sooner.
If you get in a bench clearing brawl and a guy punches another guy and is ejected from the game and gets a 10-game suspension, you appeal that and it’s heard in the next three weeks. You either get 10 games or six games or whatever. I don’t understand why that process can’t happen for this.
Longoria’s Rays are two games behind the AL East-leading Red Sox and 3 1/2 games ahead of the Orioles, the third-place team in the wild-card race. Tampa Bay has six games remaining against Rodriguez’s Yankees this season, including three in New York in the penultimate series of the regular season. The Yankees also have 10 games remaining against the Red Sox, seven against the Orioles and are hosting the AL Central-leading Tigers at home this weekend. Tonight’s game, in fact, marks Rodriguez’s first home games since the announcement suspension and his return from the disabled list, both of which came on Monday.
With regard to PEDs in general, Longoria joined the growing chorus in stating that the 50-game suspension for a first-offense doesn’t seem to be a sufficient deterrent.
There’s always going to be people that try and beat the system, regardless of what profession you’re in or what you do. . . . But as far as punishment goes, I definitely feel the risk needs to outweigh the reward. The risk of a 50-game suspension does not outweigh the possibility of a guy playing half or three-quarters of a season and putting up career numbers and getting the contract the next year based off their play. . . .
I’m a voting member of the Major League Baseball player’s union, and my one vote by itself would mean nothing for changing policy, changing the way the punishment goes in the joint drug treatment and prevention program, but if everybody voted . . . because it seemed like an overwhelming number of players have spoken out on this issue whereas in the past it’s been very taboo, but it seems more players are starting to come forward and voicing their opinion negatively about cheating and PEDs.
If it comes to this offseason or the next, where we have [a] formal meeting [take] place where everybody in the union is there, and we have keynote players in the game today speaking adversely, then policy could get changed. The penalties could get more severe because guys want it out of the game.