Skip to content

What does Alex Rodriguez’s future have in store?

Jun 5, 2013, 3:40 PM EDT

Alex Rodriguez Reuters Reuters

Let’s get one thing out of the way at the outset: whatever results from the Biogenesis news, be it a lengthy suspension or otherwise, this will not “forever taint Alex Rodriguez‘s legacy” or whatever words anyone chooses to author to that melodramatic effect. Alex Rodriguez’s legacy was toast years ago, rightly or wrongly.

A-Rod was transformed from a supremely-talented All-Star into a greedy mercenary when he signed his first $250 million contract with the Texas Rangers before the 2001 season and had that image solidified when he opted out of it while with the Yankees and signed another huge deal in December 2007.

He was branded a steroid cheat and effectively denied his rightful ticket to the Hall of Fame when word surfaced of his past performance enhancing drug use in early 2009 and that stain has never gone away in the public eye.

Beyond that, he has been portrayed in the media — not necessarily without reason — as a vain, image-conscious but self-consciousness-impaired prima donna for well over a decade now and has been judged as something less than a professional or a fierce competitor due to past playoff failures (never mind that he carried the Yankees on his back to the 2009 World Series title) and because he is not Derek Jeter (never mind that not even Derek Jeter is the Derek Jeter the media and his adoring fans have constructed).

So no, this is not a fall from grace. This is not a hero brought to his knees. If you hear someone talking about A-Rod and Biogenesis and they offer any sentiment suggesting that this, after all that has come before, is the final straw, you may feel free to ignore this person because they have no idea what they are talking about. A-Rod has been a widely hated and hated-on figure for far longer than he was ever considered, first and foremost, a baseball superstar and this is merely another brick in that very tall, very long and very solid wall. It’s not totally fair that he’s been made the pariah that he is, but he is a pariah among all but the most forgiving fans, no question.

So what CAN the Biogenesis scandal do to Alex Rodriguez?

It can suspend him for 50 games. One hundred games if the investigation finds out he used PEDs and lied about it. But it cannot, and I believe should not, end his career, either in its entirety or as a New York Yankee.

Alex Rodriguez is under contract with the New York Yankees through 2017 . Including this season he’s owed approximately $114 million. While the Yankees would love to be out from under than contract somehow — because, really, it’s a horrible contract — there is no mechanism for them to void it regardless of what comes out of the Biogenesis investigation. The Joint Drug Agreement provides no means to do so. Player contracts have no terms which allow for contracts being voided due to PEDs for they incorporate the Joint Drug Agreement by reference. Given that we are now nearly six years out from when the deal was signed, it would strain credulity for the Yankees to claim that there was any fraud or misrepresentation that forced them into the deal.  It’s just not going anywhere, regardless of what the Yankees front office may say off the record to the media.

At the same time, there is zero incentive for Alex Rodriguez to retire or walk away from the game. While he is coming off major surgery and while it is unclear whether he will ever be anything close to the player he once was, it is premature to say that Rodriguez will never play again for physical reasons. But even if he can’t play — even if his hip is toast, he can’t run, field or even lift a bat — the Yankees are still on the hook for that $114 million. All A-Rod would need to do is to comply with whatever rehabilitation or medical regimen the Yankees asked him to do and the checks would keep on coming. There is considerable precedent for this happening in baseball history, with Albert Belle being perhaps the most notable example. Belle signed a five-year contract with the Orioles in 1998, but due to a degenerative hip condition did not play for the final three of those five years. He was kept on the disabled list by the Orioles, fully paid, the entire time. Why? Because teams assume the financial risk of injury to a player, not the player.

But the thing is, Alex Rodriguez does appear to be able to play baseball. He has been rehabbing at the Yankees complex in Tampa for weeks now, taking ground balls, running, hitting balls off a tee and getting back into baseball shape. Just today Yankees manager Joe Girardi had this to say about his third baseman:

“My focus is not on what MLB is investigating and all of that. And I don’t want to get caught up in that just because, in a sense, they’re going to handle it. I’ll let them handle it. I’ll continue to assist our players in getting ready anyway they can.

“But he’s in Tampa getting ready and that’s what we want him to do.”

He hasn’t commented on the latest reports.  Given the state of Rodriguez’s rehab, the Yankees need for his bat back in the lineup and given the potentially lengthy timeline for any discipline if he is found culpable, I think it’s far more likely that we’ll see Alex Rodriguez playing major league baseball games this season than we’ll see him cast out of the game on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Latest Posts
  1. Video: Josh Donaldson crushes walk-off homer as Athletics down the Phillies

    Sep 21, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    Josh Donaldson Josh Donaldson

    Josh Donaldson gave the Athletics a spark when he delivered a walk-off two-run home run in the 10th inning against the Phillies on Sunday.

  2. Neal Huntington intends to keep Russell Martin in a Pirates uniform

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:15 PM EDT

    Russell Martin Russell Martin

    It seems soon-to-be free agent Russell Martin is on his way to a big payday in the off-season, but Pirates GM Neal Huntington still intends to keep the catcher in a Pirates uniform.

  3. Joe Maddon on league-wide drop in offense: “The hitter’s at a total disadvantage right now”

    Sep 21, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT

    Joe Maddon Joe Maddon

    Joe Maddon’s Rays are just one piece of the puzzle that has been the MLB-wide drop in offense over the last five years.

  4. Jurickson Profar won’t play in the Arizona Fall League due to shoulder soreness

    Sep 21, 2014, 8:35 PM EDT

    Jurickson Profar Jurickson Profar

    More bad news for the snakebitten Rangers: Jurickson Profar won’t play in the Arizona Fall League due to lingering soreness in his right shoulder.

  5. Marcus Stroman’s six-game suspension reduced to five games

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

    Marcus Stroman Marcus Stroman

    Marcus Stroman’s suspension for throwing at Caleb Joseph’s head has been reduced from six to five games.

  6. Corey Kluber struck out 14 batters in a second consecutive start

    Sep 21, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT

    Corey Kluber Corey Kluber

    Corey Kluber is a pretty good pitcher. He became the first pitcher since Randy Johnson in 2004 to strike out 14+ batters in back-to-back starts.

  7. Mets sweep Braves, eliminate them from playoff contention

    Sep 21, 2014, 6:05 PM EDT

    Phil Gosselin, Andrelton Simmons Phil Gosselin, Andrelton Simmons

    It’s official: the Braves will not be playing post-season baseball in 2014.

  8. Masahiro Tanaka pitches the Yankees to a victory in his first start since early July

    Sep 21, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT

    tanaka yankees getty Getty Images

    Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka looked sharp Sunday in his first start since July 8, scattering five hits over 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a 5-2 win over the visiting Blue Jays. He struck out four batters, did not issue a walk, and only went to one three-ball count all afternoon.

  9. Video: Enrique Hernandez lays out, makes snowcone catch

    Sep 21, 2014, 3:52 PM EDT

    enrique hernandez getty Getty Images

    This sure looked like an RBI double for Kevin Frandsen of the Nationals before Marlins outfielder Enrique Hernandez raced to the corner and laid out to pull off a slick snowcone catch …

  10. Anibal Sanchez likely to join Tigers’ bullpen this week

    Sep 21, 2014, 2:45 PM EDT

    anibal sanchez getty Getty Images

    Tigers right-hander Anibal Sanchez suffered a strained pectoral muscle on August 8 and then reaggravated it August 25. But he’s making swift progress now …

  11. Rangers officially shut down Alex Rios

    Sep 21, 2014, 1:53 PM EDT

    alex rios getty Getty Images

    Rangers outfielder Alex Rios hasn’t appeared in a game since September 4 due to a nagging right thumb injury, and he’s not going to be rushed back for the final week.

  12. Dallas Keuchel is done for the season

    Sep 21, 2014, 1:08 PM EDT

    dallas keuchel getty Getty Images

    Astros pitching coach Brent Strom announced Sunday that ace left-hander Dallas Keuchel won’t make another start this season.

  13. Carlos Beltran may not play again this year

    Sep 21, 2014, 12:20 PM EDT

    Carlos Beltran Getty Getty Images

    It’s been a lost season for the Yankees’ outfielder.

  14. Must-click link: Tommy Harper and the Red Sox’ racist past

    Sep 21, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT

    red sox logo

    A far more recent past than most people will admit.

  15. Ryan Zimmerman hits an RBI triple in his return to the Nationals lineup

    Sep 21, 2014, 11:06 AM EDT

    Ryan Zimmerman AP AP

    His presence will give the Nats a ton of flexibility down the stretch.

  16. Video: Yasiel Puig made a spectacular diving catch

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:40 AM EDT

    Puig Dive

    Like we always say: he giveth and he taketh away. Yesterday he gaveth.

  17. Matt Garza: if you think I was trying to hit McCutchen, “you’re just an idiot”

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Matt Garza AP

    He said it rather than tweeted it. Which is sad, because I had good money on it coming out “your just an idiot” if he had tweeted it.

  18. The Padres are going to keep Bud Black as their manager for 2015

    Sep 21, 2014, 9:20 AM EDT

    Bud Black Getty Getty Images

    Bud Black will be back for year nine at the helm of the Padres.

  19. Settling the Score: Saturday’s results

    Sep 21, 2014, 8:04 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 8.03.08 AM AP

    The Royals are not doing too well in the biggest series to hit Kansas City in 29 years.

  20. Video: Umpires review, uphold Nick Franklin homer that hit the “C” ring at Tropicana Field

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    Nick Franklin Nick Franklin

    Nick Franklin hit the “C” ring catwalk at Tropicana Field with a deep fly ball to right field, which was initially ruled a home run. Replay review confirmed the ruling.

Featured video

Patience finally paying off for Royals fans
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. R. Castillo (2764)
  2. D. Ortiz (1951)
  3. A. Pagan (1926)
  4. M. Trout (1923)
  5. A. Pujols (1868)
  1. J. Hamilton (1824)
  2. N. Arenado (1753)
  3. G. Stanton (1752)
  4. H. Ramirez (1732)
  5. C. Kershaw (1658)