In a startling turn of events today, Alex Rodriguez has walked away from the witch hunt. Rodriguez told Major League Baseball on Friday that he plans to drop all of the lawsuits he filed related to his massive 162 game suspension. This includes the suit filed against the MLB Player’s Association and the suit he filed against Commissioner Bud Selig, known as the “witch hunt” suit. A-Rod’s lawyers confirmed his intent to walk away.
By withdrawing his appeal, Rodriguez, in essence, has halted his fight against the massive suspension. Now that he has dropped the suit, A-Rod will miss the entire 2014 Yankees’ season, including the playoffs and the World Series.
Rodriguez initially brought the suit against Major League Baseball in response to what he felt was too harsh a penalty. A-Rod had been linked with several other big name players to the Biogenesis rejuvenation clinic. The clinic, now defunct, was accused of selling performance enhancing drugs to Major League Athletes. These drugs were growth hormones designed to give a player an advantage in the game. It made them bigger, stronger, and faster than the competition. These drugs were expressly forbidden by Major League Baseball, and several suspensions, including A-Rod’s, were handed out. The story about Biogenesis broke in 2013 when a former disgruntled employee revealed what the company’s true purpose had been.
Rodriguez’s suspension was actually handed out near the midway point of the 2013 season. However, he appealed the ruling by the MLB and was given permission to play for the Yankees while his case was under review. A-Rod’s numbers were far from stellar last year. In fact, Yankee Manager Joe Girardi benched Rodriguez several times down the stretch because he was not producing. Yankee fans, who are known for being fickle, even booed A-Rod at times. After the Yankees failed to make the playoffs, many felt Rodriguez would simply retire. However, he has continued to pursue his appeal far into the offseason. Now, it seems he might have finally given up.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players association have come out in favor of this recent development. They agree that dropping the suit was the right thing to do. By doing so, A-Rod has returned the focus of baseball fans back to where it belongs; the game.
So what’s next for arguably the greatest baseball player of his generation? Rodriguez is not returning to the Yankees this year, that’s certain. Will he ever play for them again? By the time his suspension is over, Rodriguez will be 39 years old. The Yankees have begun moving on to a more youthful look the last few years, letting veterans like Jorge Posada fade into obscurity. Derek Jeter, the perennial captain, is still there, but his days are numbered too. Now with Robinson Cano off to Seattle there seems to be a new feeling around the Yankees. A new team chemistry is going to have to form if they want to stay competitive. Without A-Rod there this year, that chemistry will be created without him. Bringing him back next season may not be beneficial to the team.
So how many other teams will be looking to sign an aging icon? The smaller market teams like Houston or Tampa Bay could use the drawing power of an Alex Rodriguez, but can they afford to pay the money he undoubtedly will request? I’m sure he could find a job as a designated hitter in the American League, but it would be for far less dollars than he used to. The graceful thing for him to do might be to simply retire. However, walking away from the game amid such a scandal could forever tarnish the name and reputation of such an outstanding baseball player. I doubt the competitor in him could swallow such an exit. So, while Alex Rodriguez may have walked away from the witch hunt today, there is little doubt he’s going to walk away from the game itself. Then again, who really knows? A year is a long time to wait.
By Chris Chisam