CHICAGO -- Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has suspended Alex Rodriguez for 211 games beginning Thursday. Rodriguez is expected to be in the New York Yankees’ lineup for Monday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox, and to appeal the suspension.
WHAT IT MEANS: Baseball believes that Rodriguez has continued to use performance-enhancing drugs in flagrant violation of the sport's rules.
What will ensue now is a long fight for Rodriguez’s baseball future and his guaranteed money. If and when he is suspended, he will not be paid.
Rodriguez is owed about $96 million on his 10-year, $275 million contract that runs through the 2017 season.
Rodriguez and his legal team are expected to engage in an all-out, battle royal with MLB over the validity of the suspension. In a twist that makes this soap opera so interesting, A-Rod’s camp doesn’t believe the Yankees are on his side.
AS FOR TODAY: Rodriguez is expected to appeal and should be in the lineup for the Yankees on Monday in what might be the craziest baseball night here since Disco Demolition.
The commissioner has chosen not to use his “best interests of baseball” power to keep Rodriguez off the field during his anticipated appeal. Under the Joint Drug Agreement, players remain eligible during the appeals process.
No official word yet where Rodriguez will play -- third base or DH -- but he does have one thing working for him: He will face three lefties against the White Sox the next three days, beginning with Jose Quintana. Rodriguez is 0-for-2 against Quintana.
THAT’S HIP: It is no minor thing that Rodriguez is making his 2013 debut after his second major hip surgery. Rodriguez was embarrassed by his 2012 postseason performance, during which he was benched and pinch-hit for and struck out 12 times in 25 at-bats.
MLB'S POINT OF VIEW: The commissioner’s office believes it has reams of evidence that Rodriguez has used steroids for years, lied about it during previous investigations and interfered with this Biogenisis investigation. This is why they think Rodriguez deserves a harsher penalty than the other players punished.
The details of what they have allegedly uncovered will add to the intrigue as this story unfolds.
A-ROD’S POINT OF VIEW: Rodriguez has denied everything thus far, but if even he were to admit his relationship with Anthony Bosch, his camp believes he should receive only a 50-game suspension based on clause 7G of the Joint Drug Agreement, which states first-time offenders can only be hit with a 50-game suspension. Rodriguez has never failed a test.
By the way, Rodriguez needs only 13 homers to tie Willie Mays’ 660. If he does that, the Yankees owe him another $6 million.
YANKEES' POINT OF VIEW: The Yankees are privately happy that Rodriguez is being suspended because of the salary relief it will potentially give them. Publicly, they are expected to say they will let the process play itself out and that they are pleased to have Rodriguez back. But if Rodriguez’s suspension is upheld, they will save $34.2 million
With all the money still coming to him, the Yankees may try to void the deal, but that is very difficult to do and there are no clear avenues. Still, they might figure they have nothing to lose.
ARBITRATION: When will we find out? Well, this story hasn’t really worked that well with timelines, but it can take 45 days (20 days for a hearing and then 25 days for the arbitrator to decide) for a ruling to come down.
Ryan Braun’s overturned case took months before it was decided, but that was during the offseason, so it may not be a proper barometer. Other cases also have taken more than 45 days.
Baseball will likely want to get it done quickly to try to move past this episode. Rodriguez’s lawyers may want more time to gather their defense.
CERVELLI TOO: Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli has been suspended for 50 games as well.
QUESTION: Do you think the Rodriguez ruling is fair?