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Alex Rodriguez receives 162-game suspension

Jan 11, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been hit with a 162-game suspension from arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, effectively ruling him out for the entire 2014 season. The suspension also covers the postseason.

Rodriguez originally received a 211-game suspension from MLB in August due to his alleged ties to Biogenesis, an anti-aging clinic in South Florida which supplied performance-enhancing drugs. A number of high-profile players were suspended for their involvement in the scandal, including Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, and Jhonny Peralta, but Rodriguez received the biggest penalty of them all, allegedly for interfering with MLB’s investigation. While the other players connected to Biogenesis immediately accepted their suspensions, Rodriguez appealed and was able to finish out the season. Following a contentious arbitration process, Horowitz did not uphold the original ban, but this should be considered a major victory for MLB and commissioner Bud Selig. It is still the longest suspension under MLB’s Joint Drug Prevention & Treatment Program. Guillermo Mota previously received a 100-game suspension in 2012.

The other big winner today, at least from a financial perspective, is the Yankees, who will no longer have Rodriguez’s salary ($25 million) on the books for the 2014 season. They might be able to keep their payroll under $189 million even if they sign Japanese right-hander Masahiro Tanaka. Rodriguez, 38, will still be owed $61 million from 2015-2017, the final years of his 10-year, $275 million contract with the Yankees.

Below is a statement from Alex Rodriguez, who intends to take his fight against MLB to federal court:

“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable. This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.

I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.

I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal.”

Major League Baseball was succinct in their statement, noting that they still feel 211 games was appropriate but that they respect the reduction:

“For more than five decades, the arbitration process under the Basic Agreement has been a fair and effective mechanism for resolving disputes and protecting player rights. While we believe the original 211-game suspension was appropriate, we respect the decision rendered by the Panel and will focus on our continuing efforts on eliminating performance-enhancing substances from our game.”

The Yankees issued a brief statement as well:

“The New York Yankees respect Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the arbitration process, as well as the decision released today by the arbitration panel.”

162 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. derekjetersmansion - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:49 AM

    So he’d come back for the playoffs?

    • twenty1miles - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

      I think it would be absolutely hilarious to have him come back, lead the Yankees through the postseason and win WS MVP, and have to shake Bud’s hand during post-game celebrations.

      Hilarious, but unlikely.

      • mommatocharlie - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:21 PM

        Of course, it’s unlikely—the decision has him out of baseball for the entire season AND the playoffs.

    • thebadguyswon - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:01 PM

      Playoffs…..ROTFLMAO

      Easy there, Sparky.

    • rje49 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

      “The suspension also covers the postseason”. Right there, up top.

      • derekjetersmansion - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM

        Article has been updated numerous times.

      • zackd2 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:50 PM

        But how? Peralta served 50 games, not 50 games + applicable playoffs game. Suspension is not for “2024 Baseball Season”, it’s a specific number – 162.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        First, he won’t be on the 40-man roster on Aug 31. He won’t be on a disabled list. He also isn’t being suspended purely for PED use a la Peralta or Cruz. Thus, he won’t be eligible for the Yankees’ playoff roster should they make it there.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        …ie,even if the article hadn’t been updated, and the ruling hadn’t specifically said so, he still wouldn’t have been playoff eligible. The Yanks would never have added him to the playoff roster after not having him around all season anyway.

  2. theaxmancometh - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Why A Rod? I believed in you… Douche

  3. twenty1miles - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Pretty surprised about this, would have expected either 50 or 100 games. Even with this announcement, I fear this circus is far from over. A-Rod will likely seek an injunction.

  4. theageofquarrel - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Well,good for him.

  5. spudchukar - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    Is this good news or bad news for Yankee fans?

    • echech88 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

      $25M just freed up for 2014. Can front load a Tanaka deal if they wanted

      • spudchukar - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:09 PM

        I get that, but if they choose to sign Young or Reynolds, then $7-8 million is subtracted from that total. And weren’t Yankee fans convinced that regardless of cost the Pinstripe brass were going to pursue Tanaka anyway?

        In my mind it is more complicated than the $25mil saved.

      • killallpoliticians - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

        front loading the tanaka contract will do nothing relative to the luxury tax, spudchukar and echech88. remember, the tax hit equals the aav of the contract, not the year-to-year amount as specified in said contract. cheers!

    • raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

      Guess it depends on how one looks at it. They won’t have a player around that most of them don’t like. However, there also isn’t a 3B as good as him available, so the team is weaker.

  6. bat42boy - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Right decision. Makes Bonds, McQuire, Clemens, Palmeiro, Sosa and others look like angels. He should never be allowed to play MLB baseball again.

  7. wsperegoiv - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Good

  8. muir6 - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Ha! This is fabulous bye bye A Rod

  9. thebadguyswon - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Get out of jail free card for the Yanks. What a surprise.

    • twenty1miles - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:05 PM

      Not really. They are still very close to going over the cap, even without A-Rod. And old and annoying as A-Rod is, I think its clear he would have been far and away the best 3B the Yankees could have fielded this year. I mean its either him or… Nunez.

      • thebadguyswon - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        Um…they still save the 30M. Basically, they were just given a year off that terrible contract. Yes, that is a “get out of jail free” card.

      • spudchukar - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:40 PM

        This is the conundrum. A Nunez/Johnson combo could be used. But Johnson has only played 16 games at 3B, and that was last year, and Nunez isn’t any whiz defensively either. So if Reynolds or Young aren’t signed then a roster spot is opened but the third base position becomes a liability.

        Since Texeira cannot be counted on to start many more than 120 games, another option at 1B where both Young and Reynolds have both seen some time would probably be prudent. But then there goes the open roster spot.

        So these are the position players: Gardner, Ellsbury, Beltran, Suzuki, Soriano, Ryan, Johnson, Nunez, Jeter, Roberts, Texeira, McCann, and Cervelli. If Young or Reynolds joins the list then the Yanks can only carry 11 pitchers. Assuming they add one more starter to go with Sabathia, Kuroda, Nova, and Phelps/Pineda/?, that leaves room for only 6 relievers.

        In Yankee stadium two lefties, in the pen, are essential. Add Robertson, Kelly, Warren and Claiborne as righties, with Thornton and Huff being the likely lefties, and the roster is complete. And that bull pen has to be a concern. A lot of work to do.

  10. rebeljpl - Jan 11, 2014 at 11:58 AM

    That’s assuming the Spanks make the playoffs… but that’s what it sounds like. I wish he would just go away, and they do too I’ll bet.

  11. apkyletexas - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    I’m wondering if MLB should have cut a deal with him – 50 games or something.

    If he wins in Federal court, it could have huge effects on the joint drug agreement protocols going forward. And you never know what you are going to get in Federal court.

    What if a judge decides to start randomly ripping apart the CBA? We’ve seen crazier things in commercial litigation before. And I’m sure the CBA probably has a number of points where it could be attacked quite effectively.

    • mornelithe - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      And if such a thing were to happen, wouldn’t that nullify the entire CBA, since each item is a piece in a much larger negotiation over player/owner profit split and things like that?

  12. 22bju - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:01 PM

    Why was it reduced? I don’t get it?

    • danrizzle - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      Because arbitrators are in the baby-splitting business.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:11 PM

      The original suspension was for the remainder of the 2013 season at the time and all of 2014, which equated to 211 regular season games. He got to play out the 2013 season under the appeals rules. The arbitrator simply hit him with what was left rather than pushing the punishment into 2015.

      • umrguy42 - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:15 PM

        Exactly – it’s a pretty big “win” for MLB, as they still got him suspended for all of 2014 (and they lucked(?) out in that with the Yanks out of the 2013 playoffs, they didn’t have to deal with him then either).

  13. tfbuckfutter - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:02 PM

    So all that fighting and the result is he got to play 44 games in a lost season and add 7 HRs to his tainted total?

    Too bad the Yankees reap huge immediate rewards from this.Teams should suffer for signing or fostering cheaters. Usually the suspension is the punishment to the team, but when it’s someone they no longer want it just stinks.

    • twenty1miles - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

      “Teams should suffer for signing or fostering cheaters.”

      Not sure if serious or…

      By that logic whichever team signs Nelson Cruz should be penalized? As if its the signing team’s fault he took PEDS last year. As if the Yankees have a crystal ball and could know that A-Rod took roids while in Texas.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:38 PM

        One of the biggest points of a suspension is to punish the team.

        That’s the deterrent. That you have let the team down.

        It leads to teams placing an emphasis on character when making their personnel decisions.

        If a suspension helps the team then the team has no motive to make sure their players are adhering to the rules. They may as well encourage highly paid players to roid up, get what they can out of them, and then save the money when the player is banned.

        And yeah, Nelson Cruz is now a tainted liability because signing him DOES potentially hurt the team if he’s caught again. Because he’s a player the team relies on. The Yankees want out of A-Rod’s contract because of his diminishing skills so they are not punished in ANY way by this. They are benefiting to a ridiculous degree.

        Teams should still be responsible for the salary of their suspended players, and it should count against their payroll, and be donated to baseball related charities.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        And if you believe A-Rod started taking roids in Texas and then stopped I have a bridge to sell you.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

        Put another way, the Yankees reaped the rewards of his PED abuse for 10 years. And now that the abuse is catching up to him through his breaking down body and his suspension for getting caught they are continuing to reap the rewards of his abuse by not having to pay his salary.

        It’s all a steaming pile of crap.

      • twenty1miles - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        I disagree, I think the deterrent should not be team-based but player-based. You might counter by saying “Well, that’s the system right now and look what happened this past summer with Biogenesis”. And you’d be right. Which is why the player-based penalties need to be stronger.

        I’m not a fan of making the team suffer, because there is a difference between taking into account character in personnel decisions and having a crystal ball. Teams should not have to be policing the conduct of their players; they are big boys after all. And who is to say teams have the resources to even do so? The Dodgers weren’t able to prevent Puig from speeding down that highway. And after it happened you didn’t they see them hire a drive for Puig, he opted to hire one himself.

        I agree that Cruz is a “tainted liability”, but why does that mean we have to punish, say, the Orioles for signing him? And I still disagree on that last bit, the Yanks would much prefer Arod at 3B than Nunez, at least for this year.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        The team is in position to be the most hands-on with control of the players.

        It’s the team’s responsibility to instill the culture that cheating is not acceptable. They have control of the clubhouse. They have control of the personalities they bring in. They assume the risk.

        Much like your company is liable if you get drunk and drive a backhoe into a building while on the job (or whatever is comparable to whatever job you do). Should the company have KNOWN you’d do that? Maybe, maybe not. Should the company be picking up on signs that you MIGHT be capable of doing that? Yup.

        That aside though, the punishment SHOULD be team based because even if management can’t be expected to be aware of everything their employees are doing, teammates should also be holding one another accountable.

        In baseball, that is not the case. Pretty sure in the NFL suspended players have their salary donated to charity. That is a better system because it punishes EVERYONE. And if the TEAM is actually punished than the TEAM has an incentive to make sure they have control of the clubhouse and players. In most cases that is true because losing a player hurts the team….but not when it’s a high salaried player the team no longer wants.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:34 PM

        And it’s not “punishing the Orioles” if they sign Cruz….it’s punishing them if they sign a known cheater who cheats again. That drives his value down because the team is actually taking a bigger risk to sign him because if he is caught than they are still on the hook for his salary.

        And as for the Nunez/Arod comparison, sure they’d rather have A-Rod….but they’d also probably rather have Nunez/Tanaka/whoever else they can sign with the freed up money than A-Rod at $27.5m.

      • twenty1miles - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM

        I think we will have to agree to disagree on this one, haha.

        Sure, a team SHOULD encourage their players to be clean and SHOULD be cognizant of warning signs. But in baseball looking for warning signs isn’t so easy. A-Rod had always been historically good, there was no crazy, mysterious power spike one year or something like that. So what other warning signs should the Rangers or Yankees have heeded? And how are teammates going to hold each other accountable, if they have no idea a player is juicing?

        I don’t believe teams should completely throw out character and makeup when investigating a player. They’re important qualities. But there is only so much a team could be expected to control. If they are supposed to control of the clubhouse like you say, how can they control what happens outside of it? I think that losing a suspended player’s services, along with the negative PR, are incentives for teams to encourage playing clean. Keyword encourage, not force.

        Teams have only so much of an ability to regulate their members. They should extensively promote community service, playing clean, etc., but they shouldn’t (and couldn’t) be held liable to watch their players every move.

      • twenty1miles - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

        And I don’t see why we’d have to punish the Orioles if Cruz cheats again. The Orioles sign him under the assumption that he will follow the JDA. As did the Rangers. When he didn’t, the Rangers were punished because they had to trade for Alex Rios during the summer. The Orioles would also have to find another outfielder if he cheated again.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:05 PM

        “Teams should still be responsible for the salary of their suspended players, and it should count against their payroll, and be donated to baseball related charities.”

        I completely agree with this. The Yankees should not get relief for the luxury tax either.

  14. rebeljpl - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    so wait, its a 162 game suspension but that includes playoffs? why didn’t they just say the 2014 season/postseason? 162 would just be the regular season… I hate ARoid but he’ll prob win in an appeal. Sounds a little loose and disjointed to me.

    • rje49 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:16 PM

      Arbiter Horowitz is a smart man. He knows the Yankees won’t make the playoffs.

  15. rbj1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:03 PM

    So it’s ok for Bud Selig & Co. to intimidate witnesses on the one hand and then bribe them on the other.

    • mornelithe - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:10 PM

      It’s not, absolutely. But, our inability to exact what’s right for the MLB execs, doesn’t mean A-Rod shouldn’t be punished.

      • rbj1 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:18 PM

        So make it 50. I have no problem with that.

      • mornelithe - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        I’m sure 50 of those games were for the drug abuse infractions themselves. I’m sure the other 112 were for the witness intimidation, lying to investigators, attempting to purchase evidence with the intent to withhold or destroy and so on…

  16. mauldawg - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    He needs to be banned for life. Hope he never comes back to play. He and his lawyers will cry and site some sort of foul play by MLB. Ex-players like him have continued to hurt baseball. He can sit in the criminal section with Bonds,Rose and all the others that but themselves first. MLB has no room for the likes of him and his fellow cheaters.

    • cohnjusack - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:21 PM

      I say he gets stoned to death in the town square at sunrise!

      • paperlions - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

        Can’t we make it noon? I mean, who is up at sunrise anyway? Plus, you need time to warm up. I am much better at stoning in the early afternoon than at sunrise.

      • spudchukar - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

        Not me. I am a pretty effective stoner, at any time of day.

      • mommatocharlie - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM

        I’d rather see it at home plate or the pitcher’s mound at 1:00.

      • spudchukar - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:29 PM

        PL, is it legal for the Yankees to offer a settlement on the remaining portion of A-Rod’s contract?
        Not that I would suggest that Rodriguez would accept it. Also would a buyout go against the luxury tax?, and can it be deferred or amended?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 11, 2014 at 1:41 PM

        Agree with paper. This is a stoning, not an early bird special.

      • paperlions - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:08 PM

        Spud:

        Legal? No idea. I would guess if two parties reach an agreement to mutually terminate a contract, then it is legal….but I would be shocked if the MLBPA would sit by and let such a precedent be set without a fight.

  17. seahawks80 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    As a Yankee fan, it is good news, I hope this disgrace retires.

  18. jxegh - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:04 PM

    Just take the punishment!!! You’re going to ruin it for everyone if you fight it!

  19. doctornature - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    Wish this was the end of it, but an appeal is undoubtedly in the works right now.

    Hope the appeal costs Aroid another 10 MM and the verdict is upheld. It will help clean up the sport. If it is overturned, a new Biogenesis will spring open and this whole sordid mess will repeat itself over and over.

  20. pisano - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    I knew he would get suspended, but I figured 100 games.” If you do the crime, you do the time”

  21. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:11 PM

    What a joke. MLB is a complete farce now. I guess we can just make up the rules as we go along, and punish those we don’t like differently from those we like. This ruling is absolutely pathetic.

    • doctornature - Jan 11, 2014 at 3:53 PM

      I agree the ruling is pathetic.

      It should have been324 games, and then:

      BANNED FOR LIFE

      Lets not let pathetic, egomaniacal PUMPED UP LOSERS ruin the best sport in the world.

      There is no room for liars, cheaters, frauds, and ADMITTED STEROID USERS.

      Change the CBA Drug policy!

      1st offense, a 2 YEAR BAN

      2nd offense BANNED FOR LIFE.

      This will drastically reduce the use of Steroids. All blood samples collected should be stored for 5 years and re-tested when new techniques to detect steroids are discovered

      Like millions of others, I AM SIMPLY TIRED OF READING THIS CRAP. SO LETS END IT.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Jan 11, 2014 at 4:05 PM

        Maybe we should all get together and cane him too! Because he took a substance in an attempt to make himself perform better. I really don’t get all the vitriol over this guy. People act like he’s friggen Hitler. And seriously, stop acting like Major League Baseball so so pure and innocent of an institution that this one player is ruining the game.

  22. barrywhererufrom - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:12 PM

    This Yankees fan is smiling ear to ear..you did it and hopefully the penalty sticks. We all know arod is taking this to federal court. This man will not let this go and we get he has everything to lose. One day this steroid saga will be over. Sadly it is on the frontburner with the HOF voting and Alex.

  23. pastabelly - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    He won’t retire. The Yankees owe him over $60 Million for 2015, 2016, and 2017 and he will stick around to collect every dime of it.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 11, 2014 at 2:25 PM

      Can’t wait to see his email exchanges with Levine now.

  24. face21000x - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Next step…rip his name of the baseball stadium at u of miami

  25. jerseygirl57 - Jan 11, 2014 at 12:15 PM

    It’s really a shame this was a written statement. If they had let him read it at a press conference, it would be almost Oscar worthy material!

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