Alex Rodriguez Suspended For The 2014 Regular And Postseason
This past Saturday the verdict of Alex Rodriguez’s suspension length was announced. Arbitrator Fredric Horrowitz made public that his suspension from Major League Baseball would be reduced from the initial 211 games to 162 games including the 2014 postseason. Suspended for the entirety of the 2014 MLB season, Rodriguez will miss out on $25 million of the remaining $86 million on his contract with the New York Yankees.
Following the investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic in Miami on August 5th, Commissioner Bud Selig ruled a 211 game suspension on the Yankee third baseman. Soon after Selig announced he and MLB’s conclusion on the matter of Rodriguez’ suspension, the MLB Player’s Association filed an objection claiming that the punishment was ultimately without “just cause”.
Horrowitz was present in the case over the span of twelve separate sessions from September 30th to November 20th. In court, he led a panel of three experienced arbitrators including General Counsel Dave Prouty and MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred.
When news of the verdict reached Rodriguez, he released a statement on his Facebook page saying, [quote]“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable.”[/quote]
Although Rodriguez is suspended indefinitely for 162 games and the 2014 postseason, which is the highest suspension in MLB history, he is permitted to play in exhibition games and spring training games. He has already made note that he will indeed do so. Additionally, Rodriguez may play for any independent-ball leagues he may desire as long as he is given full consent by the New York Yankees, for whom he is still under contract with until the conclusion of the 2017 season. Although the 38 year old Rodriguez will contest the ruling in federal court, it is highly unlikely that a judge would overrule the panel of arbitrator’s decision. Bob Nightengale of USA Today baseball explained to CBS Radio,[quote] “That’s a real, real long shot. There’s really no chance federal court’s going to step in and bother with this.”[/quote]
Furthermore, speaking in generalities, federal courts do their best not to get involved in arbitration cases. Even in the event that a judge would consider overruling the verdict he would have to see proof that the arbitrator(s) acted in a “capricious manner”. As for the union, they have made it clear that they “strongly disagree” with the decision that has been made and recognize that a “final and binding decision has been made”.
Rodriguez has admitted that he exercised the use of performance enhancing drugs from 2001-03 during his tenure in Texas, he has vehemently denied any usage since. Rodriguez was not the only one who received a suspension in the Biogenesis Scandal. Fourteen additional players accepted penalties as well. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun received a 65 game suspension, whereas the additional twelve received 50 games.
The future for the once highly touted Alex Rodriguez seems very bleak, but with the Yankees still owing him the $61 million left on his 10-year $275 million contract Rodriguez may be having the last laugh. Nevertheless, Rodriguez will fight his case in federal court sometime in the ensuing months and the baseball world will simply have to wait and see how far deep he digs himself once more. Rodriguez is slowly falling in the pit of what will possibly be considered the “deviation of a superstar”, ultimately leaving him standing in baseball infamy.