Sunday, July 28, 2013

MLB suspensions likely to drop this week; A-Rod's could last until 2015: Report

Alex Rodriguez spent his birthday on the field of the Yankees’ minor league Tampa complex Saturday, taking small steps in yet another attempted comeback bid. You can probably guess what what the embattled New York Yankees third baseman was wishing for when he blew out the 38 candles.

After the fallout from Ryan Braun's sordid suspension, all indications lead to Major League Baseball announcing all of the suspensions in the Biogenesis case this week, including one that could keep A-Rod out the rest of this year and all of next season, according to The New York Post.

If it all goes according to MLB’s reported plan to announce the suspensions all 15-plus players facing sanctions in the performance-enhancing drug case, expect the hammer to drop hardest on the Yankees slugger. MLB went early — and somewhat easy — with Braun’s suspension because of his willingness to accept the penalty without appeal.

It is expected other players will do the same this week. To that end, Rodriguez’s representatives met with MLB officials in the past few days, reported The Post. It is believed A-Rod’s camp was trying to gain a better understanding of potential penalties. However, a member of Rodriguez’s team said yesterday it is “unequivocally untrue” that Rodriguez is seeking a settlement.

The Post reported:

MLB apparently is willing to give the same sanction to first-time offenders in this case, in which the evidence does not come from a failed urine or blood exam, but rather from an investigation. The thinking is MLB wants to provide the first-time offenders this carrot: Don’t appeal and you can serve the entire suspension this year and start with a clean slate for next season.
Rodriguez does not fit into this category. It has become evident MLB is going to demand Rodriguez’s punishment far exceed Braun’s. That is because MLB believes the combination of being a user and obstructing the case demands a much stiffer penalty — especially because Rodriguez has admitted to previous drug use from 2001-03 and because MLB believes Rodriguez subsequently lied to its investigators in previous interviews about his usage.
Bud Selig was at the Hall of Fame ceremonies in Cooperstown this week and was said still to be mulling what punishment to deliver Rodriguez. It is conceivable he could ask for permanent banishment, akin to Pete Rose. But the belief is no matter the level of evidence — and it has been portrayed that MLB has substantially more evidence on Rodriguez than it does on Braun — it would be hard to convince an arbitrator, if Rodriguez appeals, that Rodriguez’s first suspension should be for life.
Keep in mind, though, that Selig could ask for life knowing the arbitrator could lower the punishment to a shorter duration — or even find that Rodriguez should not be punished at all.
But as a way to levy a sanction that will not be reduced, there was growing belief around baseball that Selig would request the rest of this season and all of next year. 
A 2014 suspension for Rodriguez would probably be a sure death sentence to his declining baseball career. The 38-year-old would be approaching 40 in 2015 with two hip surgeries literally under his belt —and a Yankees front office that will everything in their power to shake free of the remaining $61 million contract they will still owe A-Rod in 2015-17.

If Rodriguez decides to fight the suspension, he is apparently going to have to counter alleged communications between him and the Biogenesis centerpiece Tony Bosch that describe the usage of PEDs.

It is believed that those descriptions are the strongest part of MLB’s case and will prove Rodriguez used PEDs and worked diligently to try to prevent MLB from finding evidence of that.

Braun's penalty might look like a stroll in the Yankee Stadium outfield, when all is said and done with A-Rod.

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