It is expected that Major League Baseball is going to suspend Alex Rodriguez for the next 212 games in an announcement on Monday, according to Bob Nightengale of the USA Today. A-Rod is expected to appeal any suspension.
A suspension of that length will cost A-Rod and save the Yankees roughly $34.2 million. His contract won’t count against the luxury tax while he is suspended.
This comes on the heels of A-Rod suggesting on Friday that MLB and the Yankees are trying to cancel the rest of his contract.
“There is more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field,” A-Rod said after homering in Trenton on Friday. “And that’s not my teammates and it’s not the Yankee fans.”
“I think it is pretty self-explanatory. I think that is the pink elephant in the room,” he said. “I think we all agree that we want to get rid of PEDs. That’s a must. I think all the players, we feel that way. But when all this stuff is going on in the background and people are finding creative ways to cancel your contract and stuff like that, I think that’s concerning for me, it’s concerning for present — and I think it should be concerning for future players, as well.”
Prior to Friday night’s comments, A-Rod was reportedly in negotiations with the Yankees on a settlement for the remaining $90 million on his contract. The MLBPA head Michael Weiner, on behalf of A-Rod, reached out to MLB with a suggested 80-100 game suspension with the promise to retire afterward if he could still get paid the remainder of his contract. However, talks with the Yankees and MLB ended following his public comments on Friday.
There are two interesting things going on here. First of all, it doesn’t sound like a lifetime ban is coming even as a negotiation tactic. The other is that Bud Selig is not expected to use the “integrity of the game” clause to suspend A-Rod. By not doing that, A-Rod will be able to play while he’s appealing the suspension, per Joel Sherman.
If A-Rod appeals the suspension, he is has said that he expect the Yankees to activate him from the DL and plans on playing. Yankees manager Joe Girardi has confirmed that he will pencil A-Rod into the lineup if he is available.
MLB has decided against banning A-Rod without giving him the right to play while he appeals to avoid a court battle with the MLBPA and they want to avoid the perception that A-Rod isn’t getting his due process. He is being levied a much heavier suspension because they are charging that he used steroids for years (including 2009-2012), he lied to MLB during the investigation and tried to destroy evidence, per Sherman (additional links).