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So apparently the consensus is that A-Rod should commit insurance fraud. Lovely.

Jan 30, 2013, 8:31 AM EDT

AlexRodriguezAP

UPDATE: Rosenthal has updated his column, making it clear that he’s not advocating insurance fraud. Rather, he’s talking about the possibility that A-Rod may not be able to come back absent the PEDs he’s been allegedly taking these past several years. I get that distinction, but I don’t think it changes the calculus much. Insurance companies would still fight any permanent disability claim tooth and nail, seeing them as matters born of opportunity, not of his actual physical condition.

8:31 AMIn the last post we saw Darren Rovell suggest that A-Rod and the Yankees commit insurance fraud. I figured, well, that’s just Rovell being Rovell. He tweets a lot of off-the-wall things.  But apparently he’s not alone on the Insurance Fraud Express. Rosenthal goes there this morning:

The Yankees probably cannot void Alex Rodriguez’s contract, and they might not even need to try. A-Rod just might void himself. Specifically, Rodriguez might find a doctor who says he is suffering from a career-ending injury, collect the $114 million remaining on his contract and never play again … A-Rod can attempt to go through his rehabilitation, then make the case that he is physically unable to perform. A doctor surely could make such a diagnosis quite plausible, given the weakened condition of Rodriguez’s two hips.

Absolutely no one was suggesting that A-Rod’s career was over this time yesterday morning.  This is 100% inspired by the bad P.R. created by the Miami New Times story. To say it’s “plausible” that a doctor could be found to say that A-Rod is done as a baseball player is the sort of thing ambulance-chasing lawyers who are ambivalent about insurance fraud say.  Sure, of course you could find a doctor to say that, I suppose. But it has to actually be true, not “plausible.”

Any insurance company that would be on the hook for A-Rod’s disability claim is ten steps ahead of any columnist baking up such schemes this morning.  They have read the December report from A-Rod’s own surgeon in which he said that A-Rod had less cartilage damage than expected than that “his rehab has the highest chance of successfully getting back to the level with his hip that he was before his hip started hurting.”  They have also read the reports since yesterday in which the Yankees are portrayed as looking for any way possible to get out from under the $114 million he’s owed.  They will fight and fight hard against any claim that A-Rod is permanently disabled, especially given that all of this talk about his alleged permanent disability magically popped up on some Tuesday morning when A-Rod became far more unpopular than he was previously.

Everyone, back away from the ledge. Stop suggesting that A-Rod’s situation is any different than any other ballplayer busted for PEDs.  The only difference is that (a) A-Rod is owed a lot more money than most of them; and (b) A-Rod is a lot less popular than most of them.  That’s it. And that is all that is inspiring this talk of voiding deals or committing felony insurance fraud so the New York Yankees don’t have to pay him anymore.

  1. Old Gator - Jan 30, 2013 at 8:36 AM

    And while he’s committing insurance fraud with the health carrier, he might as well claim that the old parking lot damage to the driver’s side door on his Maserati was caused by the tail-ender inflicted while going through the construction at the Palmetto/Dolfeen interchange by that driver from an unnamed large island a hundred miles south of here.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:20 PM

      why did Alex and others pay for the PED’s with their credit cards………………
      why didn’t Alex have his cousin pay like before……………..

      I don’t know if this is BS, tired of this PED shite!

  2. heyblueyoustink - Jan 30, 2013 at 8:42 AM

    The horse is dead. Dead, Dead, Dead.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:33 AM

      and now it’s a piñata!

      • Old Gator - Jan 30, 2013 at 1:26 PM

        Eccchhhhh – hit it a couple more times and all the guts spill out….

    • thegreatstoneface - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:55 AM

      a robert klane reference. nice.

  3. Ryan - Jan 30, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    It seems to me like people are confusing the somewhat common (and more importantly, legal) practice of teams putting a player on the DL because of some “injury” with the real-world version of this practice, insurance fraud. Way to think, people.

  4. stex52 - Jan 30, 2013 at 8:52 AM

    So who said there was an IQ test to be a sportswriter? All you need is a by-line, a deadline, and an angle to inflame the masses. Even if they don’t like you, at least they are reading it so they can get fired up.

    If the Yankees feel that they just can’t deal with the shame of having A-Rod at 3rd, they can pay him off. Houston could use a transitional 3rd baseman for two or three years. It’s not like they have problems with reprobates; they used to have Jeff Kent at 2nd.

    • cur68 - Jan 30, 2013 at 11:34 AM

      I hate the way Rodriguez has been pretty much convicted on hearsay evidence. Its not at all dissimilar to the way Ryan Braun was hung out to dry. When did waiting for corroboration from a reliable source get to be outside the beat of a news reporter?

      • stex52 - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:05 PM

        I think he might get the “reprobate” tag from me independently of any PED usage. But your point is taken. If I wanted to use a fake name for a player in a clinic, “A Rod” might be just about the first one I would grab. Corroborating evidence would be nice.

      • cur68 - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:08 PM

        I myself would use “Ron Mexico”. It has tenure.

      • bigharold - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        Cur, ..

        While I myself use Ron Burgundy.

        To your point, I’m amazed that he’s been tried convicted and sentenced without so much as a passing reference to due process. It’s like if you pit the phrase PED and ARod in the same paragraph there is a firestorm of accusations and condemnation. No point in waiting for the facts, .. lets get stright to the execution. But, what if all this is BS as it relates to ARod?

        Hey I get it, .. it’s not like he didn’t earn his reputation but there is a certain lynch mob mentality to all this stuff the last couple of days. I think I’ll hold off until something more that wild ass speculation is available.

        In the mean time the rest of you HBT folks, Stay Classy.

      • bigharold - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:26 PM

        Cur, ..

        While I myself use Ron Burgundy.

        To your point, I’m amazed that he’s been tried convicted and sentenced without so much as a passing reference to due process. It’s like if you pit the phrase PED and ARod in the same paragraph there is a firestorm of accusations and condemnation. No point in waiting for the facts, .. lets get straight to the execution. But, what if all this is BS as it relates to ARod?

        Hey I get it, .. it’s not like he didn’t earn his reputation but there is a certain lynch mob mentality to all this stuff the last couple of days. I think I’ll hold off until something more that wild ass speculation is available.

        In the mean time the rest of you HBT folks, Stay Classy.

      • bh192012 - Jan 30, 2013 at 4:36 PM

        Just to be clear:

        “Rodriguez appears 16 times in the documents New Times received, the paper said, either as “Alex Rodriguez,” ”Alex Rod” or the nickname “Cacique,” a pre-Columbian Caribbean chief.”

        Along with other MLB players names. So unless a bunch of muscle beach guys all decided to pick MLB player nicknames………… Occam’s razor. Seriously guys, we already have players linking their fathers etc. to the clinic (Max Gonzalez for weight loss?) there IS a MLB connection here. We’re starting to wander into un-reasonable doubt.

      • stercuilus65 - Jan 30, 2013 at 7:33 PM

        “way Ryan Braun was hung out to dry.”

        LOL Give it up, he was as guilty as fk.

      • cur68 - Jan 30, 2013 at 7:37 PM

        Based on what admissible evidence? When you raise your retort to this consider it from the perspective of it was YOU accused with of a crime where you stood to lose your reputation and millions of dollars, all with faulty evidence.

  5. paperlions - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:02 AM

    To me, this phenomenon is no different than players using drugs that don’t enhance performance or people taking diet drugs instead of exercising more and eating better/less. Some writers and fans don’t like ARod and would LOVE to see him gone and not paid the remainder of his contract, so they are flailing around for scenarios that are consistent with their desires and strongly latching onto them. This isn’t any different (to me) than players working out in gyms and listening to the erroneous claims of body builders that say they experienced muscle gain after adding HGH or IGF-1 to their typical steroid concoction and then players going out and buying/using those things despite extensive medical research that shows that neither of those things result in added muscle mass or strength in healthy adults….the players want it to be true and are willing to buy in.

    It is all about finding a way to believe what you want to believe regardless of reality.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:44 AM

      I feel the same way about people who take happy pills. Americans just love taking placebos w/ side effects, I think.

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:54 AM

        What’s wrong with happy pills?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 30, 2013 at 11:25 AM

        Well, we may start a happy pill debate for today, but there are a number of things I take issue with on happy pills. I have no idea why people would rather take them to mask a problem rather than try to fix that problem — especially as they are not as effective as other treatments. I recognize that sometimes they can be helpful, but that is in FAR fewer cases than they are prescribed for. They are not the preferred treatment for a number of conditions, and amongst the people I know who take them, they are generally prescribed by a doctor who does not specialize in psychiatry. I hate it when primary care physicians attempt to treat mental health conditions — because most of them would never consider treating conditions like cancer, etc. They would send you to a specialist for that. Yet, they attempt to treat psych stuff by giving you a pill.

        /end rant

      • paperlions - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:55 AM

        Agreed. There always has to be an external reason (which means that it is available to others) rather an inherent quality of the individual….though, I am not sure that this phenomenon is restricted to Americans.

      • indaburg - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:24 PM

        Primary care doctors are frequently forced, for lack of a better term, to treat mental health conditions because insurance frequently is lacking. Don’t get me on a rant on how terrible insurance coverage is for mental health issues. For some people, cognitive therapy would be more effective than the pills, but most insurances offer only a few sessions, usually with a high co-pay.

        As for masking a problem… well, for some people, it’s a biochemical disruption that the pills help to callibrate. I’ve witnessed great improvement in some patients that were terribly depressed while taking “happy pills.” It’s true that some studies show that some of these pills are only slightly better than a placebo but without a test to definitively diagnose mental health diseases like depression, it’s something of a guessing game.

      • paperlions - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:44 PM

        Completely agree historio. Doctors are far too prone to prescribe first and ask questions later (or never), generally over prescribing and treating symptoms rather than causes. Sadly, doctors are taught to be mechanics of the human body and are not trained to be critical thinkers or to develop good diagnostic skills….and if those aspects are stressed in med school, they are failing tremendously at developing those skills.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 30, 2013 at 7:12 PM

        ‘Lions–Medical students are taught those skills, or at least I and my classmates were. However, a lot of medicine is treated as business, with higher volume equalling more income for the physician’s employer. There is also a lot of CYA medicine, in which some order unnecessary tests or procedures and prescribe unnecessary medications in order to mollify demanding patients and avoid lawsuits.

        Ditto to Indaburg’s post.

  6. indaburg - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    So lemme get this straight. It’s NOT ok to take PEDs to get an unfair advantage and cheat the system because um, think of the children. It is ok to commit insurance fraud to avoid paying millions of dollars and cheat the system because kids don’t know what insurance is anyway. PEDs bad, insurance fraud good. Ok, got it.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      Unless that insurance fraud is worker’s comp — in which case they are bringing down our country and must be made an example of. But that one’s a cautionary tale for children too,

      • stlouis1baseball - Jan 30, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        Each person’s case is different. I take anxiety pills as needed. I take them so infrequently I don’t even fill the prescriptions on time. I will have literally 85% of the medicine left and yet…it’s time for the auto-refill. Granted…this is just me. Your point is well taken. In general…I would agree they are most likely way over-prescribed. My issue derives from certain events. Certain things give me panic attacks. My skin feels like its turning inside out. That is the best way I can describe it. Huge crowds…flying…giving presentations in front of a large groups of people. These things give me anxiety/panic attacks. I take my pill about 20 minutes before pulling into the parking lot and you can NOT trip me up. You ask me a question and the answer rolls off the tongue. It may be in my head. But I don’t care. The medicine “works.” Placebo or not…it ”works.”
        Srangely, when I am blogging/posting/commenting on HBT I get a lot of panic attacks. LOL!

      • historiophiliac - Jan 30, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        movie theaters — that was always the hardest for me for some reason.

  7. largebill - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    Craig,

    While I understand your wanting to highlight some of the dumber comments made in the wake of the Miami story, I think calling Rovell and Rosenthal a consensus is a bit of a stretch.

    I think my position that the Yankees should have to eat every cent of that contract to teach them (and other teams) the cost of financial irresponsibility is closer to a consensus. And yes, a ten year guaranteed contract for any athlete, let alone one in his 30’s, is definitely irresponsible.

  8. tpxdmd - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:06 AM

    Here’s what I think he should do:

    A-rod should drive to the stadium, and then go on long vacation leaving his car there. That way, the Steinbrenners will see his car in the parking lot when they come in and leave, and assume A-rod is at the Stadium, working hard. Then A-rod should have one of his friends get the car and get into an accident, but still bring it back to the Stadium lot. Then the Steinbrenners will see the damaged car, look for A-rod. When they can’t find him, they’ll declare him dead, and then they can collect insurance from his contract.

  9. lessick - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    As you wrote, I haven’t seen any prominent writer suggest that A-Rod’s career was over before yesterday, but I would bet that many were thinking it was possible. Two bad hips? Hip conditions prematurely ended the careers of Bo Jackson and Albert Belle.

    Count me among those who were skeptical that A-Rod could come back from this, especially after Cashman admitted he might not play in 2013.

  10. rdillon99 - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Why would ARod want to do this? He doesn’t stand to benefit from this scheme at all. The New York Yankees are the Policyholder (not ARod) and the team is the one only who stands to collect the insurance proceeds if ARod is declared to be totally disabled and unable to continue his occupation as a professional baseball player (ARod will receive the full amount of his salary from the NYY no matter what). That being the case, I don’t see the incentive for ARod to risk partaking in what may be described as a fraud.

    • IdahoMariner - Jan 30, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      i don’t know how to thumbs up your comment enough.

  11. blingslade - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    75%-85% of all players easy before they sign the big contract.

    Afterwards? prolly “only” 50%.

  12. kirkvanhouten - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:34 AM

    So, I’m going to go out on a moral limb here and say that committing $97 million in insurance fraud is *much worse* than taking HGH.

    Much, much, much worse.

  13. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:39 AM

    Insurance fraud isn’t the only thing he might wanna consider committing.

    • zzalapski - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:47 AM

      I, too, would like to consider committing some of these writers to a sanitarium.

  14. klownboy - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:41 AM

    He should be gone from New York ASAP. A-Roid’s time is up.

    http://wp.me/p1gCK6-zL

  15. beearl - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    “Absolutely no one was suggesting that A-Rod’s career was over this time yesterday morning.”

    Not true. Several weeks ago on MLB Network (Jan. 9th to be specific…I texted a friend after I heard it), Harold Reynolds outlined almost exactly this scenario. A delayed surgery. A longer-than-anticipated recovery. Missing all of 2013. Yanks trying to collect insurance money (something about a player needing to miss a full year to trigger that?). Lawyers getting involved. Maybe more steroid accusations thrown by the Yanks. Maybe an attempt to void his contract. He made a bold prediction that A-Rod would never play again. All prior to the reports yesterday.

  16. zzalapski - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    Thank goodness for the Internet, because it’ll be great seeing all this dredged up when some of these Insurance Fraud Express sportswriters get the J.G. Taylor Spink award in the future.

  17. orangecisco - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Why would it be hard to believe that a 38 year old baseball player with two degenerative hip conditions could be done for his career? There were already reports that he could miss the entire 2013 season. Is it so far fetched that after another setback in his rehab that doctors could tell him to walk away? You can dial back your indignation because it is not that implausible.

  18. raysfan1 - Jan 30, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    The knuckleheads suggesting insurance pay the remainder of A-Rod’s contract, even without getting into the fraud aspect, seem to think that’s free money. Humana, for example, did not become a $33 billion a year behemoth in the health insurance field by simply eating large payouts. To oversimplify, those costs get passed on to us. Ticket prices and cable bills won’t come down once A-Rod is gone–those costs to us are already locked in. I don’t want to pay for him yet again.

  19. mogogo1 - Jan 30, 2013 at 10:47 AM

    I don’t understand how contracts for guys at the end of their careers are EVER insurable. When guys are pushing 40, of course they’re going to be banged up and worn out with a multitude of nagging injuries that could arguably be “career enders.”

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM

      Because nothing is ever not insurable, it’s just whether you want to deal with the absurd premiums you have to pay. I’m sure it’s almost a 1:1 basis with Arod b/c of his hip(s) conditions.

      • mogogo1 - Jan 30, 2013 at 1:28 PM

        If it were normal medical insurance, a pre-existing condition like his hips would likely be specifically excluded. I find it difficult to believe this sort of insurance wouldn’t work the same way. Bare minimum there must all sorts of stipulations about who would have the final medical say, so the article’s suggestion that the Yankees or A-Rod could just “find” some doctor to side with them and they’d get their money is absurd.

        I agree it must be crazy expensive which makes one think the Yankees would never take it out without expecting to collect on it, but then again the insurance company wouldn’t want that sort of risk if they thought it could be easily collected upon. Normal insurance works on the concept that there’s a large pool paying premiums that don’t ever have claims. I really don’t understand how the business works in a tiny universe of ballplayers where injuries are so commonplace and where every older player is eventually going to have at least semi-plausible arguments that some condition is ending his career.

  20. paperlions - Jan 30, 2013 at 11:27 AM

    It sure would be nice if BB writers like Rosenthaul would educate themselves about these drugs just a little bit. Guess why MLB players have to go to shady clinics to get HGH or IGF-1? Because real doctors would never prescribe such things for their conditions. There is no evidence, NONE, that either of those things speed healing of the body. Do people really think there is a miracle recovery drug that the medical profession knows about, but that millions of doctors are keeping it under wraps? There is a good reason that doctors don’t dole out these things for surgery or injury recovery, because they do not help….indeed, the most likely effects to manifest from taking these types of growth factors are both long-term and negative.

  21. opiedamus - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Clearly, these guys have zero understanding of how insurance works. Then to imply, but not suggest, that someone commit insurance fraud only compounds their ignorance.

    @ paperlions: I’m not saying your completely wrong, but doctors get lots of “benefits” by prescribing what they are suggested to prescribe. Has very little to do with “what works v. side effects,” but rather what puts more $$ in their pocket. Not ever doctor and not everytime, but way more than you think.

    • paperlions - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:46 PM

      Yes, but they can not prescribe things legally for non-approved conditions. I agree that they are far to prone at throwing drugs at problems for which the drugs are approved….but they don’t go around illegally prescribing things (which is exactly what prescribing/dispensing HGH as a PED or “recovery drug” would be doing).

    • raysfan1 - Jan 30, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      By 2014, 75% of physicians will be employees of larger healthcare entities, leaving only 25% in private practice. Salaried employee physicians do not get more $ by prescribing more drugs or any specific drug. Most private practice physicians do not run their own pharmacies either, so they too would not make more money based a prescribing practices.

      • opiedamus - Jan 31, 2013 at 11:00 AM

        @ paperlions: I agree with you. HGH can be prescribed for certain diagnosed ailments. Depends on the doctor’s diagnosis. The deer antler stuff is readily accessible w/out a prescription.

        @ raysfan1: politicians don’t “make any more money” from lobbyists either. I meant it to mean more “perks” if you will. And that is not all that different to any other kind of business, just the money is greater. I would guess that most of the athletes go to private practice doctors and not someone working for Humana or Kaiser, as well. So, to your point: if 25% will be private practice and 2% are open minded then you have a few that can be found to put an athlete in touch with the right contacts if not prescribe HGH for a “diagnosed” condition.

        I’m certainly not saying most doctor’s handle their business in a shady gray area. What I am saying, is that there are some that are willing to “bend” the rules a bit. While not completely illegal, may lean to the slightly unethical. Add to that the money that an athlete is willing to shell out and I’m sure there’s a middleman w/access to whatever is wanted.

  22. edavidberg - Jan 30, 2013 at 12:10 PM

    Have these reporters even read the disability insurance contract? I’d guess not. I haven’t either but so long as we are speculating baselessly I’d say the Yankees had to self-insure a huge portion of that contract, or at least have an enormous deductible. A Rods contract was awful at the time it was made. Insuring any player into his forties would be tough to do. Anyway, if an insurance company were dumb enough to insure A Rod’s health to the level required to play major league baseball at a high level, they deserve to eat the loss.

  23. ghirdorah - Jan 30, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    I couldn’t care less if baseball players take PEDs…(just like I couldn’t care less who gets what performance enhancing surgery or who got their genes selected in vitro) but…if it’s a way to void A-Roids contract and get rid him (for the good of the Yankees and New York in general), then I’m all for it!

  24. jssgriffi - Jan 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Is this the best ppl can do to try to get some offseason interest In baseball? Because if it is, who really cares about ARoid? 95% of baseball fans can’t stand him. So once again who really cares about any of this garbage?

  25. dirtydrew - Jan 30, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    He is a ROIDER. No HOF for him.

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