Alex Rodriguez, once Major League Baseball’s biggest star, was slammed Saturday with an historic drug suspension that encompasses all of the 2014 season, including the postseason, and will cost the Yankee third baseman $25 million in this year’s salary, plus millions in any performance incentives he would have earned.
The ban comes after a year of vicious attacks on Major League Baseball and the Yankees, public denials that he acquired massive amounts of performance-enhancing drugs from a seedy Miami dope den, and millions in legal bills from a team of high-profile lawyers, crisis managers and private investigators.
Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz struck the 14-time All-Star and three-time Most Valuable Player with the 162-game suspension, plus the offseason, in an endorsement of MLB’s accusations that Rodriguez scored an array of PEDs from Biogenesis, a now-shuttered Miami-area anti-aging clinic operated by Anthony Bosch, in clear violation of the game’s collectively bargained drug program.
MLB announced the suspension — the longest drug suspension in the history of the program — Saturday morning in a short statement.
For the 38-year-old Rodriguez, the ruling is a death blow to his already PED-tainted career, even though the decision by Horowitz reduces the 211-game ban baseball commissioner Bud Selig imposed in August and is based on non-analytical evidence — Rodriguez has not failed a drug test since baseball’s 2003 survey testing year. He is unlikely to take that small victory as a sensible stopping point in his legal crusade, however, and his attorneys have threatened to immediately file an injunction asking a judge to stay the suspension pending further legal action. Rodriguez has already commenced a lawsuit against the league and others he claims have conspired to frame him as the most tainted ballplayer since Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens.
The decision comes about seven weeks after Rodriguez stormed out of his grievance hearing on Nov. 20, professing that he had been treated unfairly. The walkout saved him at the last minute from going under oath with denials.
Assuming the suspension stands — it is highly unlikely a judge would interfere with a ruling issued under binding arbitration — Rodriguez’s suspension is immediately effective, meaning he will not be allowed to participate in spring training or any other Yankee activities. He will lose his entire 2014 salary — $25 million — plus millions in the performance bonuses he was closing in on.
The decision wraps up a tumultuous process that began Aug. 5, the day Selig banned Rodriguez for doping and interfering with MLB’s Biogenesis probe. While Rodriguez immediately elected arbitration, more than a dozen other players implicated in the scandal accepted their bans. Most of them have already served 50-game suspensions (Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun accepted a 65-game suspension) and are now free to take the field in spring training, something Rodriguez will not be allowed to do.”
– The New York Daily News, "Arbitrator Hits A-Rod With Full Season Ban"