Skip to content

Winners and losers of the Alex Rodriguez arbitration decision

Jan 11, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT

This wasn’t just about A-Rod and Bud Selig going to head to head. There are a lot of winners and losers here. Some are people. Some are documents. Some are ideas and ideals. Let’s look at the immediate fallout:

Winner: Major League Baseball: The league wanted A-Rod gone through 2014 and, in all likelihood, believe that means he will be gone for good. That’s what the 211-game suspension was all about in the first place and, with the exception of those 40-some games A-Rod played last year, they’re getting what they wanted. Barring an absolute miracle, A-Rod will not see a baseball diamond until 2015.

Loser: A-Rod: Obviously. The suspension he’ll now serve is far closer to the original 211-games he was given than whatever number he either wanted or would have accepted in some sort of deal. There have been various reports regarding whether there was ever really a chance of a deal being struck, but it’s safe to say he wouldn’t have agreed to 162. He loses the 2014 season, $27.5 million and, unless he stays in great shape and convinces someone to take a chance on him in 2015, he may have played his last game as a major league baseball player.

Winner: Bud Selig: The Commissioner has tried, for many years, to declare either an end to The Steroids Era in baseball (that was the idea behind the Mitchell Report and the adoption of drug testing) or at least to put someone’s face on baseball’s performance enhancing drug problems other than his own. With nearly a year of negative headlines about A-Rod and the other Biogenesis-implicated players and now with this suspension, Alex Rodriguez will be that face. Bud Selig can and likely will declare victory here. And, deserved or not, history will agree with him.

Loser: Baseball’s Drug Testing program: At least as it was originally intended to be and as most drug testing advocates believe a good drug testing and punishment system should function. Zero tolerance. Automatic penalties. No room for human judgment or mercy or consideration. An athlete tests positive? He’s gone. For a set time that everyone knows about beforehand.  With the A-Rod decision bringing us a suspension that was clearly engineered to meet human desires (i.e. to have A-Rod gone through the end of 2014), and was clearly based on Major League Baseball’s subjective judgment of how bad A-Rod behaved as opposed to whether this was a first, second or third offense, we are in a new world. Now that baseball has seen that it can get away with suspending players longer than 50 games a long as they claim that the player was somehow uncooperative or evasive, why wouldn’t they try to do it more often?

Winner: The New York Yankees. They may not crow about it because it would look unseemly, but you can bet your life that they are jumping for joy at the Yankees offices today. That’s $27.5 million off the books for this season and, possibly, a shot at getting their payroll under $189 million, which will help them out in the luxury tax department. Even if that doesn’t happen — signing Masahiro Tanaka, for example, could kill those hopes — it’s a lot of money saved. Also: the uncertainty surrounding whether or not A-Rod can play or not is over. This is the first season in at least two, but maybe more, that the headlines shouldn’t be dominated by Alex Rodriguez.

Loser: The MLBPA: In some ways this was out of its control, as Alex Rodriguez swept aside their defense in favor of his own legal team, but this is a defeat for the union all the same. No matter how much Bud Selig denies it, there was an effort to make an example of A-Rod here, and unions exist in part to prevent that sort of thing from happening to its members. The union was basically powerless in that regard. It’s hard to see, if MLB wants to go after someone like this again, how the union can stop them.

Winner: Alex Rodriguez’s attorneys: Sure, they lost the arbitration, but they made a lot of money in the process. And got a lot of publicity. And, if A-Rod truly intends to appeal to federal court — which I believe would be foolish — they will make even more money.  Why would he do that? Because, I’m guessing, they’ve convinced a man with more money than savvy that he has a better chance than he does. Lawyers want to win, but they also want to get paid, and A-Rod money will be covering boat payments and mortgages on vacation homes for his legal team for many, many years.

Latest Posts
  1. Tanner Scheppers moving into the rotation hasn’t worked for the Rangers

    Apr 18, 2014, 11:19 AM EDT

    Tanner Scheppers Rangers Getty Images

    Tanner Scheppers and his 9.82 ERA may not be long for the Rangers’ rotation.

  2. Brian Matusz makes a special connection with a fan who shares his peanut allergy

    Apr 18, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    St. Louis Cardinals v Baltimore Orioles Getty Images

    Over two million Americans have peanut allergies. This story is about two of them.

  3. Joe Nathan is feeling better after a “dead arm” period

    Apr 18, 2014, 10:47 AM EDT

    Joe Nathan Tigers AP

    After a pair of ugly early season outings Tigers closer Joe Nathan talked last week about going through a “dead arm” phase, but now the 39-year-old is feeling much stronger.

  4. Mark Teixeira expected to rejoin the Yankees on Sunday

    Apr 18, 2014, 10:15 AM EDT

    Mark Teixeira AP

    On the disabled list with a strained hamstring, Mark Teixeira got three at-bats in a minor-league rehab game Thursday and is expected to rejoin the Yankees’ lineup Sunday.

  5. Chris Sale has no use for statistics and that’s totally fine

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:47 AM EDT

    Chris Sale Getty Images

    He may not care, but I’m going to write a research report about how you normalize ISPFMLBLSSR for different eras.

  6. The Secret Service was prepared to kill Mr. Met

    Apr 18, 2014, 8:33 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-04-18 at 8.31.33 AM

    If this is true, you’d have to think the Philly Phanatic would have a no-fly zone imposed over him.

  7. And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

    Apr 18, 2014, 6:47 AM EDT

    Adam Wainwright AP

    Adam Wainwright turned in the latest of several dominant pitching performances around Major League Baseball this week.

  8. Toronto’s bullpen melts down in epic fashion against the Twins

    Apr 17, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Sergio Santos AP AP

    The Twins scored six runs on one hit, eight walks (!) and three wild pitches in the bottom of the eighth inning tonight.

  9. Jonathan Papelbon is tired of talking about his velocity

    Apr 17, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT

    Jonathan Papelbon AP AP

    Jonathan Papelbon had a little more giddy-up on his fastball today, but don’t ask him about it.

  10. Jeremy Jeffress elects free agency

    Apr 17, 2014, 9:31 PM EDT

    Jeremy Jeffress Getty Getty Images

    Jeremy Jeffress turned down a minor league assignment with the Blue Jays and will seek an opportunity elsewhere.

  11. Report: Joel Hanrahan looked “great” during his throwing session today

    Apr 17, 2014, 8:21 PM EDT

    Joel Hanrahan AP

    Lots of teams watched Joel Hanrahan throw today.

  12. VIDEO: The Yankees turned a triple play against the Rays

    Apr 17, 2014, 8:16 PM EDT

    triple play yankees

    Yangervis Solarte, Brian Roberts, and Scott Sizemore turned a triple play and got CC Sabathia out of a potential jam.

  13. Mike Napoli returns to Red Sox starting lineup

    Apr 17, 2014, 7:45 PM EDT

    Mike Napoli AP AP

    Mike Napoli suffered a dislocated finger on Tuesday, but only had to miss one game.

  14. Shane Victorino to begin minor league rehab assignment Saturday

    Apr 17, 2014, 7:02 PM EDT

    Shane Victorino Getty Getty Images

    Shane Victorino has been sidelined since the end of spring training with a hamstring strain.

  15. Mariners prospect Ji-Man Choi suspended 50 games for performance-enhancing drug

    Apr 17, 2014, 5:17 PM EDT

    ji-man choi

    Ji-Man Choi, a Triple-A first baseman in the Mariners’ farm system, has been suspended 50 games after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug methandienone.

  16. Yasiel Puig does all of the Yasiel Puig things in the same inning

    Apr 17, 2014, 5:08 PM EDT

    Yasiel Puig AP

    You take the good, you take the bad, you take ‘em both and there you have Yasiel Puig … Yasiel Puig . . .

  17. Robinson Cano, Shin-Soo Choo each hit their first homers of the season

    Apr 17, 2014, 4:24 PM EDT

    Robinson Cano AP

    Slow starts for the well-paid are beginning to be reversed.

Featured video

This was 'the perfect baseball game'
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. S. Kazmir (4987)
  2. K. Uehara (4305)
  3. T. Wood (3659)
  4. G. Springer (3449)
  5. J. Kubel (3299)
  1. M. Machado (3150)
  2. T. Walker (3001)
  3. H. Rondon (2990)
  4. D. Pedroia (2947)
  5. J. Reyes (2882)