The Biogenesis punishment creeps ever closer, with Major League Baseball telling MLB Players Association officials which players will be suspended in the wake of the Biogenesis investigation, according to the New York Daily News.
Suspensions for Alex Rodriguez and other players are likely to come by the end of the week, capping a story that has slowly played out over the last month. Most players, according to the News, will receive 50-game suspensions, but others, including A-Rod, will face stiffer punishment for lying to baseball’s investigators or interfering with the investigation. At least two players who have been linked to the South Florida anti-aging clinic — Toronto’s Melky Cabrera and Oakland’s Bartolo Colon — will not be punished, the News reports, because they’ve already served Biogenesis-related suspensions.
At least one player, A-Rod, may appeal. His attorney, David Cornwell, told ESPN Radio earlier this week he was preparing an appeal with A-Rod expected to be hit, at minimum, with a suspension for the rest of this season and all of next. That, effectively, would be a ban for A-Rod, who is 38 and rehabbing from hip surgery in January. Commissioner Bud Selig may choose to suspend A-Rod in “the best interests of the game.” In any event, A-Rod he faces a tougher penalty than the 65-game suspension that Ryan Braun accepted, as the Daily News notes, and appears ready to fight. From The News:
Rodriguez faces a much stiffer punishment than other players linked to Biogenesis because MLB officials have gathered evidence that suggests he attempted to interfere with baseball’s investigation — by intimidating witnesses and purchasing documents — in addition to violating the sport’s drug policy.
If Rodriguez indicates that he will appeal his looming suspension to stay on the field and protect his contract, commissioner Bud Selig is prepared to invoke his rarely used right to suspend a player to preserve the integrity of the game – a power embodied in Article XI, Section A1b of the game’s collective bargaining agreement. Doing so would effectively bypass the joint drug agreement between MLB and the union. Such a suspension would be effective immediately.
While Rodriguez could theoretically appeal such a suspension within 30 days, Selig himself would be the one to review the appeal in a hearing and “render a written decision as soon as practicable” afterward. All told, that process could potentially keep Rodriguez off the field deep into September.
If the punishment Selig were to impose in such a scenario was excessive, Rodriguez could turn to another provision of the basic agreement that gives him the opportunity to ask arbitrator Frederic Horowitz to review it; Horowitz, however, does not have the right to stay A-Rod’s suspension. So invoking Article XI would effectively sideline A-Rod for much of the remaining season.
By using Article XI, Selig would risk a federal court case or a reopening of the collective bargaining agreement. If the Players’ Association decides to reopen the CBA to negotiation, the union would still find it difficult to defend Rodriguez because many of its players have abandoned support for the Yankees’ disgraced third baseman.
Another possibility is for Rodriguez to follow Braun’s lead and settle for a suspension that would take him off the field for the rest of this year and possibly the entire 2014 season as well. A-Rod would serve the ban without collecting pay, but would still have a chance to collect the remaining $60 million the Yankees would owe him from 2015 to 2017. But it is unclear if MLB officials would even agree to such a penalty.