In two weeks, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees will report back to New York City for his arbitration hearing against Major League Baseball to fight their verdict on the 211-game suspension handed down to him in August for his reported purchasing and use of performance enhancing drugs.
In the meantime, it has gotten quite ugly as each side has taken verbal swings at the other through the media; the latest is a shot from MLB to the side of A-Rod. Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported late Sunday night that Rodriguez reportedly failed a drug test back in the 2006 season for a banned stimulant. However, as per the current Joint Drug Agreement which went into effect in 2006, a player is not subject to be punished by the league unless he fails twice for a stimulant, thus, the banned test never becomes public.
Rodriguez's spokesperson Ron Berkowitz denied the allegations that Rodriguez failed the test back in 2006 and in fact, according to Michael O'Keefe of the New York Daily News, the lawyers for A-Rod have filed an application with federal arbitrator Frederic Horowitz, who currently is overseeing the case, that MLB not only leaked that story, but leaked the lie about Rodriguez failing for a banned stimulant as well.
O'Keefe spoke with an unnamed source related to baseball who said that MLB was unlikely the ones that leaked the news on A-Rod back in 2006 because "all it would do is make baseball seem desperate and seem like they are reaching at this point."
Which is exactly what baseball seems like they are doing at this point if it is true that they were the ones who leaked a story on a non-violation against a player from seven years ago. And further more, if MLB did in fact release this news, then shouldn't they release the other non-violations on players who may have failed a first time, but were never punished because it was in the rules from the agreement? It has to make the average fan and reader wonder how many players have failed for a banned stimulant, but have never had it reported since a first-time failed test wouldn't be considered a violation.
In the current arbitration case in which Rodriguez is trying to get the 211-game suspension either completely removed or reduced drastically, as that penalty originally was supposed to take him out for the remainder of the 2013 and all of the 2014 season when originally handed down back on August 5. Under the current agreement, Rodriguez has never failed a drug test for PED's and if he had, the first suspension for a failed test is 50 games, something he has never served in his entire career.
12 other players were given suspensions from baseball for being a part of the Miami Biogenesis case in which players purchased and used PED's, one of which was Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli. Another was Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and former MVP Ryan Braun, who served a 65-game suspension, although he did fail a drug test back in 2011, but had it overturned due to a technicality in the handling process of his test.
If suspended, A-Rod would stand to lose the $25 million he would earn in salary from the Yankees, plus the additional $6 million in bonuses if he surpasses players on the all-time home run list. Rodriguez currently stands at 654 home runs and is just six away from tying Willie Mays on the list with 660 career home runs. If A-Rod gets banned for any length, the Yankees are not required to pay him during time served for a punishment; for every 50 games banned, he would lose $7.5 million on his contract.
In the 44 games played after recovering from hip surgery, Rodriguez hit .244 with seven home runs and 19 RBI and was the team's best option at third base after all of the other players before him failed to put up the production in the middle of the lineup that he gave the Yankees. Heading into the 2014 season, Rodriguez is still the team's best option at third and is being counted on if the suspension ends up getting overturned.
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