Major League Baseball came down hard on those connected to the Biogenesis scandal today, suspending Alex Rodriguez through 2014 and a dozen others for fifty games each in the wake of the investigation. Compared to Ryan Braun’s season ending suspension earlier, it appears that the boom was lowered harder on A-Rod, who fought the charges rather than negotiating.
A suspension that effectively could end the career of one of the Yankees greats, Alex Rodriguez will be 40 years old when he is reinstated to the MLB. The suspension will hit hard on the pocketbook of A-Rod, who will lose roughly $34 million in contract money as a result of the ban.
Among the dozen other players who were suspended by the league today, Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers will represent perhaps the most significant loss. He, like the other 11 men, will face a 50 game ban. At this point in the season he will be eligible to return for the playoffs should his team qualify given the number of games remaining on the schedule.
The men who agreed to serve 50 game bans from the MLB today were Cruz, San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Antonio Bastardo, New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, New York Mets minor league outfielder Jordany Valdespin, Seattle Mariners minor league catcher Jesus Montero, New York Mets minor league outfielder Cesar Puello, Houston Astros minor league pitcher Sergio Escalona, New York Yankees minor league outfielder Fernando Martinez, and free agent pitchers Fautino De Los Santos and Jordan Norberto.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig gave two statements on the suspension of Alex Rodriguez and a dozen other players today according to ESPN. The first was a general statement about the Biogenesis investigation, in which he said that he was “proud of the comprehensive nature of our efforts – not only with regard to random testing, groundbreaking blood testing for human Growth Hormone and one of the most significant longitudinal profiling programs in the world, but also our investigative capabilities, which proved vital to the Biogenesis case.”
Targetting Alex Rodriguez in the other statement, he explained the year and a half long ban. “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.”
As Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria put it on Twitter, “today is a sad day for MLB,the fans of this great game, and all players who may have been negatively affected by others selfishness…Ultimately, although today will be a day of infamy for MLB, it is a tremendous step in the right direction for the game we love.”
Throughout the investigation, players have spoken out against the use of performance enhancing drugs and largely supported the investigation into the player’s whose names surfaced in the Biogenesis scandal. With records forever tainted by the steroid era, baseball seems ready to move on once and for all from the cloud of performance enhancing drugs. Today represents a step in the right direction in the fight they may never one hundred percent win.
All of the suspensions are eligible for appeal should the player’s choose to continue their fight, A-Rod has already said he intends to challenge the MLB’s decision. The stakes couldn’t be higher for the Yankee great, if he is forced to serve the suspension slated to begin Thursday, his career in the major leagues will be all but officially over.
He will be able to continue playing throughout the appeal process.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express