No matter how laissez-faire your attitude towards performance-enhancing drugs might be, Major League Baseball has the right to protect their laws and constitution, such as it is.
It doesn’t matter that their investigation took on a goon squad quality, going through unsavory channels to get the dirt it needed on Alex Rodriguez. Right now, it appears Alex Rodriguez repeatedly and purposely acted in a way that made him a target. After an initial 211-game suspension, his penalty after appeal and arbitration is now a nice, round, 162 – the entire 2014 season.
Alex Rodriguez is one of the three best baseball players mine eyes ever saw but this suspension, provided his legal appeals fall short (which they will), will forever change our perception of his career. A-Rod is fighting for his legacy and the not so minor detail of nearly $27 million – and he’s doing it alone. His union criticized but respects the decision so Alex Rodriguez is now on an island.
MLBPA releases statement criticizing the ruling, but respecting the decision. Translation: You're on your own with the injunction, Alex.
— Ken Davidoff (@KenDavidoff) January 11, 2014
The Yankees, of course, both suffer and benefit from this decision. They are off the luxury tax-hook for most of A-Rod’s 2014 salary but they’re also out their starting third baseman. But the Yankees gain extra wiggle room with which they can improve their club further – be it at third base or their rotation by way of Mashahiro Tanaka.
For luxury tax purposes, #Yankees will be charged $3,155,737.70 because it is 162 games, not full year (183 days)
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) January 11, 2014
No matter how Rodriguez’s legal injunction turns out, this situation has already altered the 2014 baseball season, not to mention reverberations throughout the duration of the Joint Drug Agreement. Bud Selig now has his trophy and A-Rod’s baseball career becomes an exercise in holding water in his hands. Either a great victory for the game or one of its darkest days, it all depends on your perspective.