With arbitrator Frederic Horowitz reportedly close to ruling on Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension, the embattled Rodriguez is weighing his options on how to proceed if his ban is upheld. He may be willing to forego a legal challenge to the suspension if it is substantially reduced, reports Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com.
A source tells Matthews that the magic number could be around 100 games, with a ban at or above that level making a further fight "likely." Presumably, a reduced suspension could result either from Horowitz's ruling or through negotiations with MLB. Sources told the New York Daily News yesterday that 65 games represented the level at which Rodriguez might be willing to back down.
These reports constitute a softening of the public position of Rodriguez's team, which has previously insisted that any suspension would warrant pursuit of relief in federal court. But if Rodriguez can whittle the ban down to a low enough point, the financial balance (and obvious risk of failure in a difficult legal challenge) could shift in favor of dropping his case.
A ruling on Rodriguez's grievance proceeding could come as soon as Friday, according to Matthews. Of course, the ultimate suspension length promises to have a major impact on the Yankees. New York stands to lose Rodriguez from its lineup, while also saving a big chunk of his sizeable salary, over the term of whatever ban is ultimately arrived upon.