With the 2014 baseball season still three months away for the New York Yankees, the most talked about name on the team is the one who is officially not on the roster for the season in Alex Rodriguez, who was suspended for 162 games by federal arbitrator Frederic Horowitz this past Saturday.
The ruling came down after Horowitz reduced the original suspension from 211 games that was handed down to Rodriguez by commissioner Bud Selig back in August, but instead of the first-time offense penalty that 12 other players got in August for 50 games, Horowitz decided to levy the hammer down as per Selig and MLB's request and take him out for the entire 2014 season.
Currently, Rodriguez is fighting to get reinstated by the sport as he has a lawsuit against Major League Baseball and his lawyers are trying to get an injunction to have the 162-game ban delayed until a ruling is made in federal court, but for the time being, Rodriguez is currently not a part of the Yankees plans for the upcoming season.
The status of Rodriguez's professional career has been talked about in great because he is currently 38-years-old and missed over 100 games due to needing surgery to fix a torn labrum in his hip and was held to playing 44 games last season while hitting .244 with seven home runs and 19 RBI. However, in those 44 games, Rodriguez proved to still be an asset to the Yankees lineup and could have still been a force if he were able to play for the team in 2014.
When asked by the media this week about Rodriguez, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner also feels that his third basemen is still an asset to the organization and didn't rule out him coming back to the team for the 2015 season.
"He’s a great player,” Steinbrenner told a small group of reporters. “I have not thought about 2015, nor am I going to right now. My focus has to be right now. But when he’s on, and he’s healthy, he’s obviously an asset. We’ll see what happens.”
Two things that might factor into Rodriguez still playing for the Yankees in 2015; the first is money, as he is still owed $61 million over the next three seasons and that contract in itself may be just too much for the Yankees to simply buy out and have Rodriguez sit at home. The other, and more importantly, why they wouldn't have him sit at home is the draw that Rodriguez still is.
Sure, A-Rod comes with baggage, but when he's on the field, people still want to see him play. People might say he should go away, but lets be realistic, people still draw to him like flies to a fire. They want to see what he does next; whether it be strike out, hit a towering home run or simply speak in a post-game interview. Everything A-Rod does is must-see and his return to the Yankees this past August was a clear case of that when the ratings for the YES Network went through the roof when he returned from the disabled list.
For the time being, Rodriguez will still try and fight to get back onto the field in 2014 for the Yankees and if the case does go to federal court, then the Yankees may have to figure him into their plans. Until then, he's technically under contract for another three seasons and until otherwise, count on him wearing the pinstripes until that 10-year contract comes to an end.
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