New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez will sit out for the entire 2014 season as a result of an independent arbitrator’s decision that Rodriguez had, indeed, used performance-enhancing drugs during his career. Rodriguez was implicated in an investigation into the now-closed Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Florida, and was handed a 211-game suspension as a result of the implication. The arbitrator came into the picture after A-Rod sued both Major League Baseball and commissioner Bud Selig for tarnishing both his reputation and his career.
In a surprise move, though, the arbitrator reduced the suspension, the highest ever handed out, to 162 games. According to reports, Rodriguez still intends to attend the Yankees spring training camp. He also intends on fighting the suspension in federal court, as he feels it continually destroys his reputation. He maintains his innocence and swears he has never used performance-enhancing drugs during his career.
As Rodriguez sits out for the entire 2014 season, he may find his position as the man with the fifth highest number of home runs in MLB history in jeopardy. His record currently stands at 654, but at 38-years old, it is possible the Yankees dynamo may find himself fighting a losing battle with age. However, even with a return at the age of 40, it is quite possible for Rodriguez to hit the home run record, which currently stands at 762. This is in thanks to Barry Bonds, who was also suspected of using performance enhancing drugs during his career.
Rodriguez received the highest number of suspensions out of the 12 players accused in the performance-enhancing drugs scandal, largely because Major League Baseball accused the slugger of trying to interfere with the investigation. Other players involved in the investigation received no more than a 65-game suspension.
January 2013 saw the Miami New Times run a story that linked Biogenesis to providing MLB players with performance-enhancing drugs. A-Rod, as well as several others, were linked to the company by company records and logs indicating that Rodriguez and other players had been supplied with the drugs. While under appeal, Rodriguez had been allowed to play throughout the previous season with the Yankees, and appeared in 44 games with the Yankees, hitting nine home runs throughout the season and hitting a .244 average.
It is yet determined whether Rodriguez will be allowed to play while the matter goes before the federal court. If the Yankees third baseman serves the suspension, he will still be owed three years on his contract and another $61 million. Rodriguez has the largest contract in baseball history.
This is not the only court case Rodriguez has in front of the courts, however. He also sued the Yankees’ team doctor for malpractice as a result of a misdiagnosed hip injury in 2012. With the current case, though, the MLB is looking to have the case dismissed, stating categorically that the matter is one for arbitrators under the collective agreement. A-Rod’s legal team, however, wants to see the matter return to New York State Court, where this issue was first filed back in October 2013.
It will be interesting to see whether or not Rodriguez will sit out the entire 2014 season and if he does, whether he will finally accept the arbitrator’s decision about the suspension for the entire 2014 season. For now, though, it looks as though the Yankees slugger intends on heading to spring training with the rest of the team.
By Christina St-Jean
Wall Street Journal