A suspension handed down to New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez must be on the horizon. What else is there to think when his lawyer, David Cornwell, says he’s already looking to counter any punishment.
“We are focused on an appeal,” Cornwell, said in an interview on ESPN radio in New York.
And there you have it. Word on the street is that Major League Baseball soon will exact penalties on Rodriguez and others allegedly involved in the Biogenesis case.
Cornwell said Rodriguez’s “primary focus” is playing in the majors again. Rodriguez is in Tampa rehabbing a quad injury that postponed his return to the Yankees last week. Clearly, New York wants no part of a Rodriguez return. Why? A lot of it is a money game.
The team would like to get from under his contract that has about $100 million left on it. If Rodriguez hits 13 more homers, he would tie Willie Mays with 660 on the all-time list and receive a $6-million bonus. For every 50 games that Rodriguez is suspended, the Yankees would save $7.5 million.
Rodriguez, 38, would be eligible to play during the appeals process, which could take weeks or months. If he has no setbacks physically and spends the full five days on his minor league rehab, Rodriguez could return to the Yankees on Aug. 6 in Chicago against the White Sox.
However, MLB may try to suspend Rodriguez under its collective bargaining agreement instead of its drug rules, according to The Associated Press. If MLB goes ahead with the suspension under the labor deal, Rodriguez would lose virtually any chance of delaying the penalty while he appeals the case.
He has never been disciplined for a drug offense, and a first offender under baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement is entitled to an automatic stay if the players’ union files a grievance. That means the penalty is put on hold until after an arbitrator rules.
Cornwell said the goal for Rodriguez is to have “no discipline,” not just a reduction in any suspensions. There have been numerous reports that Rodriguez could face anywhere from a 50-game suspension to a lifetime ban.