Major League Baseball announced the 211 game suspension for Alex Rodriguez on Monday for violating the Joint Drug Agreement. A-Rod is appealing the suspension though and will be able to play until the appeal is heard which might not happen until the offseason.
There was talk of a lifetime ban from baseball, but MLB obviously backed away from that. It also backed away from using “for the good of the game” clause which ensures that A-Rod is given his due process so this doesn’t look like one big witch hunt (although you could still make the case for that).
Here is a statement released by MLB:
Rodriguez’s discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years. Rodriguez’s discipline under the Basic Agreement is for attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner’s investigation.
Here is a statement released by MLBPA head Michael Weiner:
We agree with [Rodriguez's] decision to fight the suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously. The Union’s members have made it clear that they want a clean game. They support efforts to discipline players, and harshly, to help ensure an even playing field for all. The players support the Union’s efforts to uphold the JDA while at the same time guaranteeing that players receive the due process rights and confidentiality protections granted under the agreement.
Here is a statement made by A-Rod:
I am disappointed with the penalty and intend to appeal and fight this through the process. I am eager to get back on the field and be with my teammates in Chicago tonight. I want to thank my family, friends and fans who have stood by my side through all this.
Here is a quote from A-Rod during the press conference before the game:
“The last seven months have been a nightmare. Probably the worst time of my life, for sure. Obviously for the circumstances that are at hand and also dealing with a tough surgery and rehab program and being 38. I am thrilled and humbled to have the opportunity to put on this uniform again and play major league baseball again. I feel like I was 18 years old back in Fenway Park in 1994 when I went in to face the Red Sox for the very first time. It’s been 20 years. And I’m just very excited for the opportunity to go out there and play baseball and help my team win. And prove to myself, my teammates, the fans of New York, the fans of baseball, that I still have the shot to play the game at a high level and I’m going to give it my best.”
When questioned directly if he did steroids A-Rod didn’t deny or admit to using illegal PEDs. Instead it sounded as if he was fighting just to lower his punishment. Of the 12 other players punished today, none of them were banned for more than 50 games. Ryan Braun received a 65-game suspension. A-Rod added, “I’m fighting for my life, I have to defend myself. If I don’t defend myself, no one else will.”
Here is a statement by the Yankees:
We are in full support of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. We also recognize and respect the appeals process. Until the process under the Drug Program is complete, we will have no comment. We are confident that the process outlined in the Drug Program will result in the appropriate resolution of this matter. In the meantime, the Yankees remain focused on playing baseball.
However, we are compelled to address certain reckless and false allegations concerning the Yankees’ role in this matter. The New York Yankees in no way instituted and/or assisted MLB in the direction of this investigation; or used the investigation as an attempt to avoid its responsibilities under a player contract; or did its medical staff fail to provide the appropriate standard of care to Alex Rodriguez.
Separately, we are disappointed with the news today of the suspension of Francisco Cervelli. It’s clear that he used bad judgment.
Just by appealing and pushing the suspension off until next year, A-Rod saves himself some money because he makes more this season then next. My guess is that ultimately A-Rod has the suspension reduced. Even if it’s just from 211 games to 162 or 150 games it will save him another good chunk of money.
A-Rod’s salary, while he is suspended, doesn’t count against the luxury tax. I’m not sure if it’s the $25 million he’s owed next year or the full $27.5 million which is the average annual value (I have read it both ways and have not heard from any official firsthand).
As far as I’m concerned, this works out very well for the Yankees. They get A-Rod for the remainder of this season, which they desperately need considering how bad their third basemen have been. With A-Rod missing most or all of next season, the bulk of his salary will not count against the luxury tax. As the team approaches its goal of getting below the $189 million luxury tax threshold, that will be a huge help. In 2015 they can then go back above the tax threshold and reset their penalty.
A-Rod played third base and hit cleanup on Monday night. He went 1-for-4 with a bloop single in the second inning, flied out in his next two at bats and struck out looking in the eighth.
NEWS & NOTES
• Really bad news here: Michael Pineda was lifted from his last start after just 29 pitches with stiffness in his shoulder. It’s actually more surprising that it took this long for him to have a setback then it is that he’s having one now. Shoulder injuries can be career threatening and this is why. Guys will just constantly have shoulder problems for the rest of their careers. Hopefully this is just a blip. He’s heading to New York to see a doctor this week.
• More bad news: David Phelps, who has been out for about a month with elbow soreness, also suffered a setback and will see a doctor. Hopefully he avoid surgery which would keep him out for at least a year.
• Yankees first round pick Aaron Judge (32nd overall) is also injured although nobody seems to know anything about it. That’s not completely uncommon with the really low level guys.
• Gary Sanchez was promoted to Double-A Trenton. He’s still at least one to two years away from the Bronx.
• A-Rod is suspended, but he’s still going to play while he appeals. Buy Yankees tickets if you want to go to the stadium and show your support.
Photo credit: (August 4, 2013 - Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America).