The ruling cuts A-Rod’s suspension to 162 games. Rodriguez appealed the initial mandate of 211 games.
|“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable.” — Alex Rodriguez|
This fight is not over. Rodriguez is expected to take the case to federal court as he continues to battle Major League Baseball in fallout from his role his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Rodriguez’s ban includes the 2014 postseason, should the Yankees get to them.
A-Rod’s suspension is for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy and interfering with the league’s investigation into the Biogenesis clinic. Commissioner Bud Selig handed down the original sentence in August.
The ruling is the longest drug-related suspension in MLB history. For the 38-year-old Rodriguez, 38, will lose his $25 million salary.
The Yankees will gain $27.5 million worth of salary relief for luxury tax purposes, since the average annual value of his deal is what counts there, according to Sports Illustrated. That will aid the team’s attempt to get below the $189 million threshold to reset their luxury tax rate, but it leaves a major hole in their lineup.
Rodriguez is a three-time AL MVP. Baseball’s drug rules allow Rodriguez to participate in spring training and play in exhibitions.
The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance saying the discipline was without “just cause.”
Horowitz, who became the sport’s independent arbitrator in 2012, heard the case over 12 sessions from Sept. 30 until Nov. 20. Technically, he chaired a three-man arbitration panel that included MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred and union general counsel Dave Prouty.
A member of Rodriguez’s camp anonymously floated that idea Thursday that A-Rod would accept a lesser ban. The short version: If arbitrator Fredric Horowitz decided to uphold A-Rod’s suspension and rules he must sit out more than 100 games, then Rodriguez likely would go to court to fight it. If the term comes in at less than 100 …
“(T)hen Alex will have some things to think about,” a source told ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews.
Why is a 100-game threshold important? Money, according to ESPNNewYork.com. A court fight would cost “at least $10 million, with no guarantee of winning,” according to Matthews’ source. A 100-game suspension, by Matthews’ calculations, would cost $15.425 million based on A-Rod’s $25 million salary for 2014.
“All of this has been presented to Alex, and he is weighing his options,” Matthews’ source was quoted as saying. “In certain situations it may not make much sense to continue to fight.”
The Associated Press reported Friday that Horowitz could issue his decision this weekend.
So was A-Rod’s side trying to cut a deal through the media, which would imply guilt? Rodriguez spokesman Ron Berkowitz says no, despite reports to the contrary.
“We have not asked to negotiate, have not thought about negotiating and the facts, in any of these stories that state this, are inaccurate,” Berkowitz told ESPNNewYork.com.
Rodriguez has publicly fought the 211-game suspension Major League Baseball imposed last August for his role in the Biogenesis scandal. He maintains he’s innocent and shouldn’t serve any time.
The offseason arbitration conducted by Horowitz has often turned into a spectacle, with charges of impropriety leveled by both sides. Rodriguez famously stormed out of one session and immediately expressed his frustration through the media.