Report: A-Rod Now Willing To Negotiate Suspension With MLB
With Major League Baseball seemingly on the verge of issuing a virtually unprecedented lifetime ban against him, Alex Rodriguez finally seems to be willing to negotiate:
After Alex Rodriguez’s lawyer said his client would fight any discipline from Major League Baseball, a source familiar with discussions told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” Wednesday that A-Rod’s representatives are now negotiating a possible settlement that could result in a lengthy suspension.
The source said MLB officials have told Rodriguez’s attorneys that they are willing to ban him for life, although sources said it was not clear commissioner Bud Selig was prepared to make such a move, knowing Rodriguez would fight it in arbitration.
Several sources have told “Outside the Lines” that some MLB officials have pushed for a lifetime ban, saying they would rather force Rodriguez to defend himself than agree to a suspension that allows him play while he appeals.
Rodriguez was presented with MLB’s evidence in recent days, detailing what sources said were “volumes” of documents establishing a connection between Rodriguez and Biogenesis clinic founder Tony Bosch.
Sources said MLB was also given evidence supporting accusations that Rodriguez attempted to coerce at least one witness in MLB’s investigation. That accusation is the basis of MLB’s argument that Rodriguez may be punished for his conduct, in addition to multiple violations of the game’s joint drug agreement.
MLB is apparently hoping that Rodriguez will accept a lengthy suspension that could keep him off the field through at least next season, without the time and trouble of an arbitration hearing.
The incentive for Rodriguez, of course, would be the fact that a deal that keeps him off the field until, say, 2015 would at least guarantee him the remainder of his contract with the Yankees after that whereas fighting a lifetime ban runs the risk of losing and losing out on tens of millions in dollars in addition to legal feels incurred in the arbitration. For Major League Baseball, avoiding a potentially contentious arbitration hearing that could cause problems with the player’s union would be the biggest incentive for such an agreement.
Of course, if Rodriguez does agree to such a deal one wonder if he’ll ever actually play again. The Yankees could just decide to pay out the remainder of his contract while cutting him from the roster. It’s a lot of money, but not an amount that would really hurt the franchise significantly, especially given that actually putting a player with his reputation back on the field is likely to be harmful to the franchises reputation in general. Additionally, at least part of the Rodriguez contract is likely covered by some form of insurance so the team may be able to recoup their losses in the end.
So, even if A-Rod does accept a deal, I’d be very surprised to actually see him play Major League Baseball again.