Major League Baseball reportedly has evidence that proves Alex Rodriguez used banned performance-enhancing substances and has offered the New York Yankees third baseman a deal that could salvage the final $61 million of his contract while effectively ending his career.
Baseball officials have told Rodriguez they are preparing to suspend him, without pay, for the remainder of the 2013 season and all of 2014, the New York Daily News was first to report. If he accepts the suspension without appeal, he would be eligible to return in 2015. But if he fights the penalty, the Daily News said, baseball would seek a lifetime ban.
An answer from Rodriguez, who had earlier promised to fight any suspension, is expected soon.
Rodriguez is one of about 20 major league players who are being investigated for their involvement with Biogenesis, a now-shuttered anti-aging clinic in South Florida. Tony Bosch, the former director of the clinic, is participating in the probe and has reportedly provided MLB investigators with logs, notes, receipts, phone records and other information that persuaded the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun to accept a 65-game ban without appeal last week.
Rodriguez hasn’t played for the Yankees this year after undergoing off-season hip surgery, and for him and the Yankees the threat of a suspension is now all about money. If Rodriguez decides to fight MLB, he would continue to receive the rest of the $28 million he is owed this season. And if prevails in his appeal, he would lose nothing.
But if he is hit with a lifetime ban, he would not only lose the $25 million he is to be paid next season but also the $61 million due him in the final three years of the 10-year contract he signed with the Yankees in 2007.
Given Rodriguez’s age and recent health problems—he is 38 and has played more than 124 games only once since 2008 — even a ban that ends after the 2014 season would likely mean Rodriguez would never play again.
Rodriguez could also be put on baseball’s permanently-unable-to-perform list, at which point there would be negotiations among his legal team, the Yankees and both sides’ insurance companies over a settlement that would pay him the balance of his contract.