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Report: MLB could suspend Alex Rodriguez under CBA rather than drug agreement

Jul 29, 2013, 10:05 PM EDT

New York Yankees' Rodriguez speaks with reporters following his rehab assignment for Tampa Yankees in a minor league baseball game against Bradenton Marauders in Tampa Reuters

The clock is ticking for Alex Rodriguez, as MLB is soon expected to announce a suspension for his alleged involvement with Biogenesis. But it could be unlike anything we were expecting.

According to the Associated Press, MLB could suspend Rodriguez under the collective bargaining agreement rather than the regular drug rules. This is potentially huge, as it would prevent him from playing if he appeals a suspension. Here’s what MLB could be thinking.

While use of banned performance-enhancing substances falls under the drug agreement, MLB may argue other alleged violations are punishable under the labor contract, a person familiar with management’s deliberations told the AP, speaking on condition of anonymity because no statements were authorized.

Taking that action would prevent the New York Yankees third baseman from returning to the field, even if he recovers from a quadriceps injury cited by the team as the reason for keeping him on the disabled list.

And merely threatening to use that provision might give MLB leverage to force a deal.

The report states that Rodriguez could be banned under Article XII B of the Basic Agreement, which states: “Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law.”

Yes, the “best interests of baseball” clause. If Rodriguez is suspended under that section, he would serve the penalty while a grievance is litigated. And as we heard from A-Rod’s lawyer earlier today, they have every intention to fight. The union would almost certainly fight it tooth and nail too, even if the evidence against Rodriguez is extensive. If they don’t, the drug agreement is basically rendered worthless. And you thought this was ugly before? We could be looking at a protracted and messy legal battle here.

  1. flamethrower101 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:13 PM

    Only thing that comes to mind at this point is that Selig is totally committed to retirement after this season and this investigation is simply his way of saying “Screw it! I’m gone after next year. Let the next guy clean up the mess.” That or perhaps it’s not a good idea for near 80-year olds to be running a sports business.

  2. tbutler704 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    Very good. Go big or go home, Allan H. Selig. They took Capone down on tax evasion after all. Got is got.

    • DJ MC - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:04 PM

      Capone didn’t have the legal system behind him. The MLBPA likely will.

    • diditforthelulz1 - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:30 PM

      You’re an idiot that probably framed your high school diploma.

      • tuberippin - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:06 AM

        Personal attacks are irrelevant to the topic at hand and do nothing to strengthen the counter-argument.

      • apkyletexas - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:14 AM

        At least he didn’t pick “diditforthelulz1″ as a screen name.

        1998 called – it wants its stupid cat gifs back.

      • diditforthelulz1 - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:30 AM

        @tuberippin oh sorry you framed your highest achievement in life…you high school diploma too. I’m sorry you’ll never amount to anything greater than janitorial achievements and the such. Enjoy you manual labor job sir.

      • willo44 - Jul 30, 2013 at 1:27 AM

        Just a logical observation:
        Professional athletes who are proven/admit to using banned substances/drugs to enhance their performance get a lot of thumbs down. “diditforthelulz1″ receives a lot of thumbs down. Being diditforthelulz1 and cheating with banned substances have a lot in common.

      • cohnjusack - Jul 30, 2013 at 8:56 AM

        @diditforthelulz1

        You know, insults lose their impact when you use the same on twice in successive posts. It just makes it seem sad…as though you had spent years cultivating one insult, and are forced to only use that one as it is the only one in your arsenal.

        Well, jokes on you sir. I have my GED framed on the wall. Bring it!

    • fanofevilempire - Jul 30, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      Best of luck to Alex and his lawyers, kick their ass!
      Eat shite and die Selig!

  3. bancacentral - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:22 PM

    This demonstrates that A-rod should not be the only one leaving baseball. Selig should join him as well.

  4. papazoid - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:27 PM

    Aroid is garbage

  5. rightherenow123 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Only thing that comes to mind is, they tried to bully him…he said no…they do not ave the goods….and try, try again.

    Next the will be going after him via Roman Empire or Ancient Egyptian Law.

    When you start going down such a road you are getting into state and Federal Law, this would open up the current CBA and set an ugly precedent.

    Arod and his legal team must be loving this.

    • cackalackyank - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:35 PM

      What it could open up is a discussion of the infamous MLB anti trust exemption…..

      • rightherenow123 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:51 PM

        Believe me, they do not want that….again, this wreaks of desperation and arods camp may have gotten what they wanted.

      • cackalackyank - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:18 PM

        I concur if the MLB hierarchy is sane they don’t want it. But they had better have a plan in case someone calls their bluff.

      • fanofevilempire - Jul 30, 2013 at 10:52 AM

        I thought about that, I hope MLB pushes until that is what happens.

    • ssazz - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:56 PM

      Ryan Braun and his legal team seemed to think MLB had the goods.

      Bud knows they’ve got far more on A-Rod. (hence the reason Alex had to take a night off and skip a rehab game a week ago after getting an eyeful of just what MLB has on him)

      But if he is actually “loving this” it would just then simply confirm what a complete jackass he really is.

      • brahmabull71 - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:33 PM

        We have no idea what MLB has. But whatever they have, MLB seems to be looking for another road to go down to nail Arod. Make me wonder, if what they have is SO strong, why change the direction or rules?

        But all in all, only a few know what MLB has and it’s not us. Time will tell.

      • ssazz - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:02 AM

        Doesn’t make me wonder at all. They have him on the roids, 100%, might as well get him on obstructing their investigation as well if that’s what he and his guys were really up to. A-Rod’s pathetic PR gambits over the last 72 hours speak volumes about where he sees this heading.

        Hard to believe MLB would consider opening this pandora’s box if they don’t have plenty on him beyond just his continued juicing.

    • diditforthelulz1 - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:34 PM

      I’m a Rangers fan and I hate A-rod but being educated I hope him and his legal team call their bluff. This entire thing has been absolutely retarded and propelled my mental midgetry of the likes of banpeds on this board (hint banpeds they’re already banned retard).

      • gbsimons - Jul 30, 2013 at 7:07 AM

        You’re “educated” yet you still use the word retard? Try again.

      • abaird2012 - Jul 30, 2013 at 11:11 AM

        Educated, huh? “Him and his legal team” …

      • kathybaseball - Jul 30, 2013 at 2:19 PM

        You’re educated, but use phrases like “him and his legal team” (instead of he and his legal team), the word retard/retarded, butcher proper punctuation like nobody’s business, and use big words in contexts that make no sense.

        Then there’s the following genius attempt at trying to rip on someone: oh sorry you framed your highest achievement in life…you (YOUR) high school diploma too. I’m sorry you’ll never amount to anything greater than janitorial achievements and the such. Enjoy you (YOUR) manual labor job sir.

        Those in glass houses, blah blah blah. You have no board cred here. Don’t try and sneak being smart past smarter people!

  6. cackalackyank - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:33 PM

    Hang on to your jock straps and garters folks, it gets bumpy from here.

  7. flamethrower101 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    At the beginning of this whole mess, I foolishly believed that once the suspensions were announced, that would be the end of it. Boy was I dead wrong. Looks like this thing could boil over for years, and not just for this sport, but for others as well.

    • rightherenow123 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:46 PM

      The irony is, and I believe Weiner said it. There have been suspensions before…but no one knew about them. Per the CBA suspensions are not to be announces until after the appeal. Now, conveniently MLB can say they were already outed in the New Times.

      Also, where are all of these leaks coming from?

      • flamethrower101 - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:05 PM

        Here’s another question: Why the heck was Braun’s potential suspension the only one leaked when it was back in 2011? Seems a little suspicious considering there were literally zero previous such leaks. It’s just ugly now, but I would use it to argue that the rule where 1st time offenders have confidentiality rights should go out the window.

  8. mrpinkca - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:38 PM

    Every year, tons of players get DUI’s at spring training and Bud doesn’t do anything about it. Instead he runs around South Florida “health clubs” looking for Ahab in a boondoggle that is certain to end in a Lawsuit. This whole thing is an embarrassment to MLB, and if Bud things it’s positive for his legacy he’s seriously misguided.

    • cackalackyank - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:43 PM

      It definitely ends in a lawsuit. But will it lead to MLB losing its anti trust exemption…much more interesting question.

      • blabidibla - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:50 PM

        it won’t. why would congress want to take the players side and be seen as soft on PEDs?

      • cackalackyank - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:23 PM

        Think like a pol, you could spin it the way you say it…. Or it just takes an opportunist to try and spin it another way. If it could distract from the historically low approval Congress currently has…don’t rule it out.

      • blabidibla - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:34 PM

        What other way would a congressman spin it? Chicks dig the long ball?

        Congress has long played this as a morality issue, spearheading the efforts to toughen testing, crack down on cheats, etc… They are not reversing course for ARod.

      • DJ MC - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:08 PM

        Who said anything about Congress? If Major League Baseball unilaterally disregards a collectively-bargained contract, the Player’s Association will take them to court. That could very easily lead to the Supreme Court, and once it is there, if the question of MLB’s sole possession of such an exemption in the sports world is on the table, it could go either way.

      • cackalackyank - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:11 PM

        Create a big enough spectacle and some pol is going to try and spin it. If for no other reason than to distract from the zero that congress is getting done.

    • rightherenow123 - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:50 PM

      That’s why this wreaks of desperation if true. How about bar fights, getting arrested…I know he has cleaned himself up, but Josh Hamilton. Steve Howe was never banned.

      To the recruiting part, wouldn’t they need to prove arod pressured or profited from some of these players?

      Lastly, apparently going this route would open up the books, papers and reports and give Arods team access to all the documents that were bought by MLB.

      Where is Craig??? Wouldn’t MLB have to show some kind of loss/impact/harm. If anything Arod has made baseball fortune.

      • ssazz - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:01 PM

        No matter how much money Alex may have made for MLB, he doesn’t then have the right to impede or obstruct an investigation. That’s the charge. We’ll see what his defense is to those charges and take it from there.

    • ctony1216 - Jul 30, 2013 at 6:40 AM

      Interesting point. And theoretically, MLB could sue the bar for “interfering with a player’s contract” — the part that deals with behavior detrimental to the game, according to Judge Dresnick, the Florida judge who ruled that MLB could sue Biogenisis for interfering with players’ contracts for selling them PEDs.

  9. bigharold - Jul 29, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    MLB is over playing their hand. This is going to end up in Federal Court and I think MLB is going to lose. They are going to to attempt to set a dangerous president which the union will have to fight.

    Stupid! All they needed to do was suspend him and paint him in the corner. Instead they are going to turn him into a victim and as they have in the past get their collective asses handed to them.

  10. randygnyc - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:00 PM

    This most certainly fall under that CBA clause. AROD tried tampering with witnesses and the evidence. This could be a suspension with its teeth not in PEDs, but its cover up.

    The Yankees must be salivating at the possibilities.

    • bigharold - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:24 PM

      George Steinbrenner must have done something wonderful in a past life.

      First he buys low on the Yankees and turns them into a billion dollar enterprise.

      Then he has the good grace to pass less then 6 months before the estate tax is reinstated.

      Now, Selig is about to do their bidding to get them out from under the contract that lunkhead Hank Steinbrenner gave A-Rod.

      George must have been a Saint in an earlier life.

  11. cfos00 - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    MLB could absolutely win this, and they set themselves up to do it. They already have the argument agreed upon by the union for them. By agreeing to the drug testing, one could very, very easily make the case that the Union has already have agreed that PEDs are detrimental to the game. That would solve the first part of the obligation that they need to prove in terms of violation of the “best interest of the game” clause. The second part Alex took care of all by himself if they have receipts and documentation to back up him buying the stuff. The steroids or HGH bought, assuming that they were illegal drugs or shipped without a prescription, were then shipped across state lines. That would break federal law. If anything, this is EASIER to do than suspending for PEDs under the drug policy. And it would have zero to do with any anti-trust violations, and would be completely covered within that clause of the CBA. Really interesting approach.

    • ssazz - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:33 PM

      But that’s not exactly the argument MLB is going to take according to this preliminary reporting. It’s that Alex, or his representatives, tried to buy or aquirre incriminating documents, and in other ways (i.e. lying and/or refusing to answer questions) sought to interfere with MLB’s investigation.

      The mountain of evidence they apparently have in regard to his continued and ongoing PED protocols over the last few years is just the context for why they’ll say Alex went to such lengths. The drug violations will merely be folded in after the fact.

      Bottom line this news seems to be out tonight to give Alex one last chance to think about where this will all go in regard to tarnishing his name even more if he wants to fight. And to show how serious they are about him not coming back this season, if ever.

    • bigharold - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:34 PM

      “MLB could absolutely win this, and they set themselves up to do it. They already have the argument agreed upon by the union for them. By agreeing to the drug testing,…”

      Yeah, the JDA, with an agreed upon set of sanctions which MLB is set to throw out the window for what is essentially a first offense. Add to that the idiotic remarks teams exploring other ways to claw back salary from players. MLB is going to squander their current momentum towards PEDs detection and prosecution by turning it into a persecution.

      MLB now has to prove that A-Rod is far and way more of a PED offender then Bons, Clemens, et al. Good luck with that.

      • cfos00 - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:00 AM

        They don’t have to use the drugs sanctions punishments at all with this argument. Once they agreement was there to test them and agree for punitive measures, it could be argued that they’re agreeing that they’re bad for the game itself. It’b be pretty hard to explain another reason for any form of testing otherwise. The punishments themselves wouldn’t matter if they go this route because they aren’t using them, hence the make-it-up-as-we-go suspensions that they’re doling out. They’re using the “best interest of the game clause”. I completely agree that the complete lack of uniformity in suspensions seems wrong, as does the idea of taking back salaries. It’s like they just took a look at whoever managed to make MLB the most angry, and decided to go this route instead. That can’t make the Union happy at all. In regards to taking money back, if they don’t have some sort of language that would allow for them to get the future of their contracts voided (which seems like something that the Union would never go for), I can’t imagine that ever working. It’s a guaranteed contract. Good luck with that.

      • bigharold - Jul 30, 2013 at 1:10 AM

        “.. “best interest of the game clause””

        The problem with going that route is that MLB has to prove that A-Rod’s PED use somehow made a mockery of baseball and undermined it fundamentally. The only other time this was used on a layer was the Black Sox and Pete Rose. Is MLB saying that one PED violator has shaken the foundation of baseball? They pretty much have to show A-Rod’s behavior is the is so far beyond what others have done that that he deserves the “death penalty” for a first offense. I don’t care what kind of asshole you think A-Rod is, was he worse than Canseco? Bonds? Clemens? And, if he is MLB has to show it, not opinion demonstrate it. This isn’t an opinion poll for fans, .. this will be settled by at least a Federal arbitrator if not in Federal court. You just can’t hang him for his first offense when you already have a mechanism in place to deal with his transgression. Otherwise it set a precedent whereby MLB can do it again if they feel so aggrieved and that threat will and should worry the players. And, in the long run I think MLB loses in court. A-Rod’s net worth is probably eight figures, .. he has the resources and a decent shot at winning.

        Does MLB want to drag this nonsense on another season? What happens if they lose? Is MLB going to then try to suspend him fort 50 games? They could have to pay him for games he didn’t play because MLB dodged the JDA sanctions. This could do more damage to MLB than A-Rod’s done to himself. This is over reach and it risk going to far and losing the faction within the union that seems to want to put an end to PEDs. The smartest thing they could do is give him his 50 game suspension and and paint him into a corner. Instead, they are putting him in a position where he doesn’t really have a better option. And, he might well have enough legal fire power to win. A-Rod was stupid to use PEDs and MLB isn’t looking any smarter right now.

      • bh192012 - Jul 30, 2013 at 1:44 PM

        I don’t think they’re mainly busting ARod for a first time PED use offense. My guess is, they likely have evidence that ARod recommended and distributed to a bunch of players that looked up to him. Then ARod directed those players to Biogenesis (specifically Bosch) for their long term supply. In addition to various attempts to obstruct the investigation. Also, imagine if you’re the Phillies and ARod tainted several players on the 2009 WS Championship Yankee team? I could see the best interest of baseball comming into play here.

  12. Walk - Jul 29, 2013 at 11:37 PM

    ” engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law”

    I do not recall arod being charged by any state or federal agency. They might get him on engaging in activity if he fails a drug screen or they serve a warrant and find a prohibited item in his possession. Taking the witnesses that mlb has now and the notes to a jury is 50-50 and is not likely to end up in the best interest of baseball. I am all for it as we will get to see behind the curtain of the business. Mlb will also need to explain their selective prosecution. If you let players like Gio Gonzalez go or Bartolo Colon as he already was disciplined mlb needs to be ready to answer that question.

    • spursareold - Jul 30, 2013 at 9:48 AM

      Drugw without prescriptions shipped across state lines is a Fed offense.

  13. sarcasticks - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:14 AM

    The reason mlb would do this is because it would then only be appealable to Bud Selig.

  14. rathipon - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    Why wasn’t Melky Cabrera given a lifetime ban when he attempted to obstruct MLB’s investigation? Seems kind of arbitrary that they would come after A-Rod this hard given that precedent (or lack thereof). Ultimately, I think it all comes down to money. Selig represents the interests of the owners. One of the more influential ownership groups has a bad contract with a deeply unpopular player. Smell an opportunity? Even the Player’s Union is scared to defend him. It’s a no brainer to try to screw A-Rod out of a hundred million dollars if you can get away with it.

    • ssazz - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:52 AM

      The lifetime ban for A-Rod would be the opening shot and MLB would simply want to negotiate a settlement from there with that extreme as it’s harshest bargaining chip is my take.

      Melky’s ridiculous move was a form of obstruction as well, a comical one for sure, but still an attempted excuse to cover up why he failed a test. True. But it is different than trying to obtain or destroy incriminating documents from a lab MLB was investigating in regard to multiple players. That creates a wider umbrella than just what one player did to protect themselves, and could rise to a larger “best interests” argument. Plus A-Rod has admitted to prior PED use, even if that didn’t constitute a policy violation, since there were no rules against it.

      I agree you can still argue an arbitrary nature to this. At least until we see MLB’s full case against Alex. That will clarify things, obviously.

      But if A-Rod IS screwed out of 100 million dollars, well a lot of the blame falls on him for his obstinate and intransigent actions. He’s a grown man, and has made his own decisions since 2010.

  15. cubanxsenators - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:31 AM

    “Unlike anything we were expecting”?

    Wendy Thurm wrote about “just cause” extensively almost 3 weeks ago.

    • rathipon - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:45 AM

      Not exactly. The Just Cause paragraph was 7G of the Joint Drug Agreement. This one is in the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

    • rathipon - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      Actually, I take that back, you’re right. She discussed both Just Cause provisions.

  16. coloradogolfcoupons - Jul 30, 2013 at 12:52 AM

    It’s all just hot air until we find out what the evidence is against the A-Fraud. Canceled checks, phone records, texts, emails, prescription records, eyewitnesses…it will all be out in the open soon and the arguments will have a basis for merit. Right now, I expect the leaks were exposed by both sides to judge public reaction. Each team, MLB’s and Afraud’s, are gauging the wind to see which way and how hard it is blowing, running bluffs, double bluffs, and threatening the other side to see who gets the biggest share of the 100 Million Dollar Pie that is the remainder of his contract. I think everybody knows he is done forever as a ballplayer, and the greed over the money is all this is about in reality

  17. nananatman - Jul 30, 2013 at 1:04 AM

    Get rid of this guy, when did he ever play fair? Hoping for the lifetime ban.

  18. norvturnersneck - Jul 30, 2013 at 2:01 AM

    Buh bye

  19. theskinsman - Jul 30, 2013 at 4:16 AM

    I hope Arod gets to play out his contract,and sincerely hope the yanks are on the hook for every penny they owe him. Signed a Red Sox fan.

  20. sdelmonte - Jul 30, 2013 at 4:56 AM

    Can’t see any good coming from this. This could undermine every bit of labor peace that’s been created the past decade. This certainly goes out of its way to make this an endless fiasco even if the suspension holds.

    And I don’t hesitate to note that Roger Godell’s efforts to hand down unprecedented discipline last year were shot down. Different case, different sport, but still something to think about in terms of commissioners trying to use their powers too broadly.

    Here’s hoping all these leaks are just meant to cow A-Rod and not a sign of a foolish, vindictive policy.

  21. jayscarpa - Jul 30, 2013 at 7:33 AM

    People have been saying this all along. It’s not new.

  22. conwell2549 - Jul 30, 2013 at 7:51 AM

    In 2007 .314 with 54 home runs and 156 RBI. PED’s all the way! The 50+ HR club used to be exclusive and rare. In the 1940’s it was done three times, 1950’s it was done twice, 1960’s 3 times, 1970’s once, 1980’s nobody did it. From 1990 -2010 it was done 25 times including four 60+HR seasons and two 70+HR seasons. What a joke. It’s clear that A-Rod built himself up with PED’s and now he’s falling apart.

  23. psousa1 - Jul 30, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    I have a feeling two weeks from now we will still be reading the “MLB is ready to make a ruling on the Biogenesis suspensions…………………”

    Come on. The writers who are spewing this drivel don’t know themselves. They know they can quote unnamed sources all they want because they will not be called on to reveal their source.

    Right before Braun was suspended it was “Sources say the suspensions will not be enforced until next season……………….”

    Yawn. Same thing everyday on this blog.

  24. bravefan4life - Jul 30, 2013 at 9:50 AM

    Another example of a wasteful Union. Fighting “tooth and nail” for one of your members that is clearly guilty is what gives all unions a BAD name.

  25. mrpictureman - Jul 30, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Hey just cause ARod had Arizona Watermelon and Skittles does not mean he was going to mix it with Robitussin. It’s baseballs fault leave the man alone!

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