As the fallout from the Major League Baseball investigation begins to become apparent, with Ryan Braun being the first player to be suspended with his 65 game suspension that will span the duration of the 2013 season, the next big name player looking at a big suspension is New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez has admitted to PED use in the past, before there were rules in place that such use would result in a suspension, but has previously claimed that the only time he used PEDs was between 2001-2003 while with the Texas Rangers.
The Biogenesis Clinic scandal, however, has come back to taint Rodriguez. Reports on Rodriguez are mixed, with some reports indicating that Rodriguez will seek to make a deal with Major League Baseball similar to the deal that Ryan Braun struck, which resulted in a 65 game suspension. Other reports indicate that Rodriguez is not looking to strike a deal and is looking to play this year while planning to launch an appeal, as the Yankees third baseman has never once tested positive for use of any performance enhancing substance and it would appear that the evidence against Rodriguez is a combination of documentation and circumstance. It cannot be verified with 100% certainty that Alex Rodriguez, in fact, took any performance enhancing drugs beyond the 2003 season.
The most extreme reports indicate that Rodriguez is facing a lifetime ban from the game (source: http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/blog/eye-on-baseball/22859672/will-mlb-push-for-lifetime-ban-for-arod). The Major League “Death Penalty,” the lifetime ban, has only been imposed a few times in the history of the game, most notably on the eight Chicago White Sox players which included Eddie Cicotte and Shoeless Joe Jackson for their roles in the Black Sox scandal, and Pete Rose who was given his lifetime ban for gambling on baseball.
If a lifetime ban is, in fact, handed down on Alex Rodriguez, it will be the first time that a player has been barred from the game because of performance enhancing drug use. Speculation is that MLB has more evidence against Rodriguez than it did against Ryan Braun.
According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, Rodriguez has no intention of cutting a deal with Major League Baseball (source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/mlb/2013/07/23/alex-rodriguez-biogenesis-mlb-negotiations-suspension/2579977/). Rodriguez has been rehabilitating from off-season surgery on his hip and was scheduled to make his season debut on Monday before an MRI revealed he had a grade one strain to his quadricep and the Yankees opted to put him back on the disabled list.
Rodriguez stands to lose $14 million this season and $7 million next season on a contract that still guarantees him nearly $100 million before it runs out if baseball hands down a 100 game suspension. However, with no prior precedent and no knowledge of what evidence exactly Major League Baseball has against Rodriguez, it is difficult to determine whether or not he will face a lifetime ban for baseball.
Meanwhile, the Yankees seek a playoff spot in the American League East and are doing so without a solid, steady presence at third base. It’s quite possible that because of Rodriguez’s dealings with Biogenesis, Alex Rodriguez won’t have a chance to be that presence down the stretch this season.
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