Alex Rodriguez Rumors
MONDAY: Major League Baseball has announced that Alex Rodriguez has officially been suspended for 211 games. That punishment would take effect on Thursday, August 8. However, unlike the other 12 players who were issued suspensions today, Rodriguez will appeal his suspension and therefore be allowed to play until that appeal has been heard. MLB issued the following statement regarding his suspension:
Rodriguez's discipline under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program is based on his use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including Testosterone and human Growth Hormone, over the course of multiple years. 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.
Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Michael Weiner issued his own statement regarding Rodriguez's situation:
We agree with [Rodriguez's] decision to fight the suspension. We believe that the Commissioner has not acted appropriately under the Basic Agreement. Mr. Rodriguez knows that the Union, consistent with its history, will defend his rights vigorously. The Union’s members have made it clear that they want a clean game. They support efforts to discipline players, and harshly, to help ensure an even playing field for all. The players support the Union’s efforts to uphold the JDA while at the same time guaranteeing that players receive the due process rights and confidentiality protections granted under the agreement.
Rodriguez's suspension is far and away the largest of anyone connected to the Biogenesis investigation -- coming in at 146 games longer than 2011 National League MVP Ryan Braun. Rodriguez stands to lose the entirety of his $25MM salary in 2014 and would lose an additional $7.96MM if he were to drop his appeal prior to Thursday.
Let's take a look at a few stray links to round out the weekend ...
- Nationals starter Dan Haren has begun to turn around his difficult season, and sounds prepared to leave D.C. when he becomes a free agent after this season. As MLB.com's Bill Ladson reports, Haren acknowledges that he has failed to "live up to the billing so far," and that his "heart says [he] probably won't be back." The veteran righty also noted his interest in being closer to his family, which makes its home in Southern California.
- With Alex Rodriguez apparently prepared to fight his reportedly upcoming suspension, sources tell the New York Daily News that Rodriguez "may accuse the Yankees in his appeal of mishandling his injuries, forcing him to turn to other alternatives to stay on the field." Were Rodriguez to pursue such an approach, however, he could run into other issues with his contract. As I recently explored in the context of a hypothetical lawsuit between MLB teams and players, the MLB Basic Agreement requires a player to provide advance notice of any medical treatment for baseball-related injuries.
- How have recent early-career contract extensions held up over time? To approach the question, Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus looked at it another way: standing here today, would the team choose to sign the player to the portion of the deal that remains? While the full article requires a subscription, the Baseball Prospectus team also discussed this issue in their most recent podcast. While some deals have clearly worked out to date, others are more debatable, such as those given White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, Royals pitcher Wade Davis, Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz, and Diamondbacks hurler Trevor Cahill. (Also included in the BP podcast is an interesting discussion of the international slot bonus system.)
Alex Rodriguez will be suspended through at least the 2014 season in an announcement Monday by Major League Baseball, but the Yankees third baseman plans to file an appeal, which will enable him to play tomorrow night against the White Sox in Chicago, two people with direct knowledge of the plan told Bob Nightengale of the USA Today. The appeal would be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in the next three weeks, according to Nightengale. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post tweets the announcement of the Biogenesis suspensions will take place around 11am CT.
Davidoff also reports MLB is leaning towards only suspending Rodriguez for violating the Joint Drug Agreement, and not the Basic Agreement, allowing for an appeal. A person close to the situation told Davidoff that Commissioner Bud Selig does not want give Rodriguez the sympathy points which would come with suspending him via the "best interests of baseball" clause of the Basic Agreement. Joel Sherman, Davidoff's colleague at the Post, added Selig does not want a court fight with the union, wants to avoid the perception of not allowing Rodriguez due process, and wants to avoid outside noise so people can concentrate on what MLB says is the heart of its case: A-Rod used PEDs for years, lied to MLB serially, and tried in myriad ways to thwart the investigation (all Twitter links). ESPN's Buster Olney tweets this strategy gives Selig the high ground to go to the union and ask for tougher rules.
Rodriguez is one of about ten Major League players to be suspended tomorrow, but he is the only one who will be banned beyond this season, writes Nightengale. MLB officials have informed Rodriguez's attorneys and the MLBPA of the decision to suspend the players, and told Rodriguez he is no longer able to discuss a settlement, reports Nightengale, who attributes two people unauthorized to speak publicly before the scheduled announcement. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted he was told by a person updated on the Biogenesis inquiry that Rodriguez and MLB never were close to a settlement.
"I'll have an opportunity, when the time is right, to tell my full story," Rodriguez told reporters, including Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press (via Philly.com), last night after a four-walk performance for Double-A Trenton. "I'm excited to play Monday. I can't wait to see my teammates. I feel like I can help them win."Manager Joe Girardi says Rodriguez, if he is in Chicago, will be in the lineup at third base tomorrow night, tweets Scott Miller of CBSSports.com.
"I think all of us are curious what's going to happen, and is Alex going to be a player for us tomorrow, and what's going to happen with the other guys that are involved in this. Because in my mind I have him penciled in here tomorrow," Girardi said (as quoted by Nightengale). "I don't suspect it'll be awkward. Most of the guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot. I think it'll be business as usual. I'm sure there will be more media there obviously tomorrow but I think that's more for Alex to deal with than the rest of the guys. I don't think it'll be a big deal."
Rodriguez's suspension of at least 214 games would be the longest handed out by baseball to a player or manager since Pete Rose agreed to a lifetime ban in 1988 for gambling. Rodriguez, sidelined by various injuries, has been on a minor league rehab assignment where he has posted a pedestrain slash line of .214/.333/.452 with three home runs and ten RBIs in 51 plate appearances across four levels of the Yankees' system.
SATURDAY, 10:44pm: Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports tweets that sources say there's a chance MLB will reach a compromise with A-Rod's camp prior to a 6 p.m. Sunday deadline, though one source judged the possibility to be "next to nil."
9:11pm: Sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports that A-Rod expects MLB to impose his suspension using the collective bargaining and drug agreements, meaning that he will not play for the Yankees on Monday against the White Sox.
7:57pm: A-Rod will be suspended Monday, sources tell T.J. Quinn and Andrew Marchand of ESPN. The suspension will likely run through the end of the 2014 season. Tense discussions reportedly "broke down completely" today after MLB Commissioner Bud Selig informed officials he would no longer negotiate with Rodriguez's camp.
7:41pm: Around 20 players altogether may be punished, T.J. Quinn of ESPN reports via Twitter. That total includes around 12 players who will be punished as major leaguers. However, several minor league players are also expected to receive punishment, Quinn adds.
4:03pm: Barring a dramatic change in the eleventh hour, MLB plans to just institute their suspension of A-Rod without further negotiations, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Rodriguez's camp also called the Yankees to try and work out a deal on the remainder of his hefty contract, but they were rebuffed (link).
FRIDAY, 8:05pm: There is no 6pm deadline for players to accept suspensions, according to a report from Teri Thompson, Bill Madden, and Michael O'Keefe of the New York Daily News. The trio explains that 50-game suspensions are likely (as expected) for all involved players except for Rodriguez. As for A-Rod, with negotiations apparently stalled, the Daily News reporters say that MLB appears to be leaning away from a lifetime ban. Echoing this morning's reports, the league reportedly believes that a suspension in the 200-game vicinity would be "more palatable to an arbitrator."
5:05pm: Players facing Biogenesis-related suspensions, including Rodriguez, will have until 6pm EST to settle their cases, tweets Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. Otherwise, the league will (as previously reported) move forward with suspensions, with an announcement coming Monday.
12:57pm: Heyman tweets that players have been informed the suspensions will be announced on Monday.
12:04pm: While there has been speculation that suspensions for players involved in the Biogenesis investigation would be announced today, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it's looking more likely that they'll be delayed until Sunday. Major League Baseball is prioritizing the suspensions for players other than Alex Rodriguez, because there is still no indication that A-Rod is willing to cut a deal (Twitter links). Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, meanwhile, tweets that the suspensions should come out Sunday or Monday.
Sunday would be a last-minute deadline, as some teams (the Rangers, for example) will have exactly 50 games remaining after that point. The Tigers, who stand to potentially lose Jhonny Peralta, will only have played 109 games at that point and therefore aren't in as much danger.
As USA Today's Bob Nightengale wrote, MLB is said to be willing to suspend Rodriguez through the 2014 season -- a ban of roughly 217 games that would cost the three-time MVP more than $34MM in salary. However, contrary to other reports that say Rodriguez refuses to discuss a deal, Heyman reports that there are indications that Rodriguez may be open to discussing a slightly lesser penalty. Heyman lists a 150-game suspension as a compromise possibility but adds that it isn't clear how many games MLB is willing to shave off the 217-game proposal, or if they're even willing to come down at all. Rodriguez is scheduled to play in rehab games for Double-A Trenton this weekend, beginning tonight.
THURSDAY, 7:46pm: There's a wide gap between the suspension Rodriguez is willing to accept and the one MLB would like to issue, two sources familiar with the talks told T.J. Quinn and Andrew Marchand of ESPN.com. Negotiations between A-Rod and MLB appear to be stuck on the 38-year-old's desire to make sure he can cash in on at least some of the remaining $100MM owed to him.
Meanwhile, Joel Sherman of the New York Post (on Twitter) hears that A-Rod's camp doesn't plan to settle, but instead will fight any suspension through an appeals process.
The Yanks announced that Rodriguez will join Double-A Trenton on Friday to play in a rehab assignment game. If he is not suspended and prevented from playing pending an appeal, A-Rod could rejoin the varsity squad as early as Sunday or Monday.
WEDNESDAY, 7:38pm: Rodriguez is negotiating with MLB on the terms of a suspension, reports ESPN's T.J. Quinn. (Links to Twitter.) Quinn says that MLB is holding out the possibility of a lifetime ban while also preferring to avoid an appeal process, with Rodriguez coming to the negotiating table after learning of the extent of the evidence against him. Most of the players facing suspensions appear prepared to accept 50-game bans, Quinn further tweets.
6:15pm: MLB is prepared to ban Alex Rodriguez for the remainder of his playing career, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. An announcement will likely come tomorrow or Friday, according to Nightengale's sources. Rodriguez's attorney, David Cornwell, says that the Yankee third baseman will appeal any suspension he receives. According to the report, MLB will base its action not only on Rodriguez's use of PEDs, but on the fact that he purportedly "lied to MLB officials while attempting to sabotage their investigation."
12:06pm: There is some potential Nelson Cruz might appeal a suspension, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
8:04am: MLB informed the players' union yesterday which players will be suspended this week, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Settlements talks could push an announcement to Friday, reports the Associated Press.
6:16am: MLB's Biogenesis suspensions could be issued as early as Thursday, according to Ken Davidoff and Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Davidoff and Sherman confirm what Yahoo's Jeff Passan wrote yesterday: most players involved are leaning toward a plea in the case, aside from Alex Rodriguez, who intends to fight any suspension.
It's been rumored commissioner Bud Selig could sidestep the joint drug agreement by suspending A-Rod under his "integrity of the game" clause while also serving as the sole arbitrator of an appeal. However, Davidoff and Sherman note that "the union could jump through some legal hoops to get the case to an arbitrator." They also point out that upon striking the latest collective bargaining agreement, Selig assured MLBPA head Michael Weiner he wouldn't use the clause to negate players' rights. In my opinion, denying Rodriguez a chance to present his case to an independent arbitrator would be doing just that.
12:33am: Cruz has not decided whether he will serve his suspension or appeal it, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (on Twitter).
7:17pm: Major League Baseball is preparing 50-game suspensions for Biogenesis-linked players who have not been disciplined in the past, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Players such as Nelson Cruz, Jhonny Peralta, Everth Cabrera, Jesus Montero and Francisco Cervelli are among those facing these 50-game suspensions, as are minor leaguers Fernando Martinez, Cesar Puello and Fautino de los Santos. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes that the vast majority of players connected to these 50-game suspensions -- including playoff contenders Cruz and Peralta -- are believed to be willing to accept the punishment rather than file appeals. Doing so will allow suspended players to play toward the end of September and into the playoffs, though their teams would be at a significant disadvantage down the stretch
Passan also tweets that MLB has threatened to double the penalty for players who do not cooperate with the suspensions, making cooperation a much more appealing option. Additionally, he adds that players who lied during the investigation could receive an additional 15 games on their suspensions, similar to Ryan Braun's case (Twitter link).
Bartolo Colon, Melky Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal are not likely to receive additional suspensions, having already served 50-game bans, according to Heyman. Both Heyman and Passan agree that Alex Rodriguez remains firm in his refusal to cooperate with a deal, as was reported earlier today. MLB would like Rodriguez to serve a suspension through the 2014 season but could pursue a lifetime ban if he does not cooperate.
In regard to Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, commissioner Bud Selig is prepared to bypass the grievance procedure in the collectively-bargained joint drug agreement, disciplining A-Rod under the "integrity of the game" clause Article XI, Section A1b, according to Teri Thompson, Bill Madden, Nathaniel Vinton, and Michael O'Keefe of the New York Daily News. Under that scenario, only Selig himself would hear an appeal.
FanGraphs' Wendy Thurm wrote about this possibility several weeks ago, calling it Selig's "nuclear option." Selig's decision would be final, and could not be further appealed to an arbitrator or court.
MLB will reportedly announce the Biogenesis suspensions this week. It's also been reported that if Rodriguez, approaching his season debut after hip surgery and a quad injury, does not accept a suspension running through 2014, MLB may attempt to ban him for life.
Yesterday, Joel Sherman and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported "the strong indications are Major League Baseball will announce all the suspensions in the Biogenesis case this week." No announcement from MLB is expected today, tweets Steven Marcus of Newsday. Wednesday's trade deadline is "no factor when it comes to the timing of announcements related to the case," hears Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. We could be in for a wild week. The latest on Biogenesis:
- MLB is willing to offer Rodriguez a suspension of the rest of this year and all of 2014, report Bill Madden, Teri Thompson, and Michael O'Keefe of the New York Daily News, and if he declines, MLB is expected to attempt to ban him for life. Over at River Ave. Blues, Mike Axisa runs through different scenarios involving A-Rod.
- The Yankees have continued to search for third base help, but Heyman says that isn't necessarily tied to the possibility A-Rod gets suspended. Though first-time offenders are permitted to play during an appeals process, baseball might challenge that practice in the case of Rodriguez, writes Rosenthal.
- The Tigers have shown no indication they are looking for a shortstop replacement, writes Heyman. "I would think Detroit would want a shortstop, but we'll see," an NL GM told Heyman. Neither Peralta nor Nelson Cruz has indicated to his team a plan in case of a suspension, writes Yahoo's Jeff Passan. It's possible those two will be faced with choosing their current team (appealing a suspension into next year) or choosing to preserve their free agent value (serving a 50-game suspension now). I imagine taking what might be perceived as the selfish route, serving the suspension now, could hurt free agent stock in its own right.
- As you might expect, the Rangers prefer a prolonged appeals process for Cruz, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale wonders, "If Cruz goes down without a fight and accepts his penalty, why would they want a guy back who quit on the organization?" That question would apply to Cruz potentially returning for the playoffs, as well as signing a new deal with the Rangers in the offseason. Cruz might have to settle for a less lucrative two-year free agent deal similar to that of Melky Cabrera, one GM estimated to Heyman.
- Since Colon already completed a 50-game suspension for PED use, A's people are expressing confidence he won't get another suspension, writes Heyman, and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports also hears the same. The team's pursuit of Jake Peavy is unrelated.
- "If drug dealers can use the currency of player evidence as a means to gain immunity and even more money, then our system of policing and protecting baseball has incentivized the people and the very behavior that was the genesis of the problem," agent Scott Boras tells Rosenthal. Baseball cut a deal with Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch that provides many protections.
- In dealing with Jason Giambi, the Yankees concluded they cannot void a contract based on PED use, writes ESPN's Buster Olney. Some lawyers, however, wonder if a team could file a lawsuit against a player alleging damage to their brand.
There are strong indications that MLB will announce all the suspensions in the Biogenesis case this week, according to Joel Sherman and Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. It is believed MLB wants to make the suspensions formal this week so that first-time offenders can serve a 50 game suspension inside of the 2013 season. That, in theory, would give players incentive not to appeal the decision and enter 2014 with a clean slate.
In the case of Alex Rodriguez, he could be hit with a suspension that will sideline him for the rest of this season and all of 2014. Rodriguez’s representatives met with MLB officials in the past few days in what was likely an effort to better gauge the potential penalties coming his way.
His suspension will be substantial as MLB believes the combination of being a user and obstructing the case demands a much stiffer penalty than what was given to Ryan Braun. It is even possible that Bud Selig could ask for permanent banishment, though it would be hard to convince an arbitrator, if Rodriguez appeals, that his first suspension should be for life.
The Alex Rodriguez saga took another strange turn today when the third baseman's handpicked doctor told Mike Francesca of WFAN that the third baseman doesn't have a quad strain and should be able to play, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Later in the day, Yankees GM Brian Cashman responded in a press release, saying, "Contrary to the Basic Agreement, Mr. Rodriguez did not notify us at any time that he was seeking a second opinion from any doctor with regard to his quad strain. As you know, it is the Yankees’ desire to have Alex return to the lineup as soon as possible. And we have done everything to try and accomplish this." Here's more out of the AL East..
- Rays pitching prospect Taylor Guerrieri underwent Tommy John surgery today, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports. Drafted 24th overall by the Rays in 2011, Guerrieri is ranked as the 64th prospect in baseball by Baseball America. ESPN.com's Keith Law ranks him 47th, while Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has him at No. 44. In 67 innings this year for the Rays' Class A affiliate, the right-hander had compiled a 2.01 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.
- Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino says his team has an obligation to be active at the trade deadline, but that doesn't mean a deal is a certainty, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal tweets. While the Sox have been a popular name in trade speculation and have been connected with arms such as the White Sox's Jake Peavy and the Royals' Luke Hochevar, the executive cautions that the team isn't "just building for one year." "There's going to have to be a pretty good deal to extract some of these high-quality prospects we have," Lucchino said (link).
- The Orioles are getting lots of interest in Chris Dickerson and we can expect to see him in the majors somewhere in the next few days, tweets Britt Ghiroli of MLB.com. The O's designated the outfielder for assignment last week.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.