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Sunday, January 12, 2014

COVERING AROD, THE SUSPENSION & WHAT COMES NEXT

"Alex Rodriguez suspension announced. 162 games. Thought you should know."


That was the text I got at 12:45pm on Saturday while working with my Girl Scout troop. Soon after, Casey posted "AROD KO'ED! SELIG'S PLOT QUESTIONED. YANKS NOW SPEND." explaining the suspension.

So what now? There are a few things to consider. Of course the first thing everyone thinks of is the money that the Yankees will have to spend. Hopefully on Masahiro Tanaka. At least that is what most fans are hoping. There is no doubt that the Yankees have a good amount of money to play around with, and that's great news for some of us, but the Yankees face a sort of dilemma. WHO'S ON THIRD?


Yes, it's all very Abbott and Costello. THIS piece on MLB.com pretty much sums up my concerns perfectly.

"Now, without Rodriguez, the Yankees have an infield with several question marks."


Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter missed nearly the entire season in 2013 with injuries. The Yankees lost Robinson Cano to the Mariners. They have signed Kelly Johnson, and have Brendan Ryan. But what seems to be the likely outcome is a third base manned by Eduardo Nunez. I like Nunez, but man that's a scary thought. For all of ARod's faults, he is still an excellent third baseman. Of course, now they have money to spend, but the most likely outcome is for them to turn in house to fill the position, and spend on some arms. Have I mentioned Tanaka yet?


Of course there is also that bit of filing for an injunction if the suspension was not to ARod's liking. What exactly does that mean? A lot! First, there is no real certainty that a federal court will take on the case. The hope was to file the injunction, and have ARod be able to attend spring training, as well as play through the 2014 season, as the case is tried in court. But the likelihood of that happening seems slim.


It is more likely that the case will be thrown out, and the suspension will be upheld. If the courts do decide to take the case, it opens ARod up to a federal investigation, and possible felony charges. It brings into question all of his previous testimony, as well as previous test results. If for any reason they feel his story is inconsistent, he may face serious criminal charges.

Oh, and the money bit! Don't for a second think that ARod is out of all the money that he is owed this season. If he decides not to file the injunction, he is not eligible to play this season, however there is a misconception to the way the payroll is run in baseball. Fellow BYB writer, Jeana Belleza, explained it best.

"MLB runs on a 183 day payroll calendar. They include off days. So they will have to pay him for those 21 days. We will still end up paying him about $3 million, give or take. If he comes back, the Yankees are still on the hook for 3 years. A little more than $60 million will be left." 


The hardest part is still far from behind us. If our third basemen makes a mistake, we will hear all about how the Yankees are suffering without ARod's defensive talents. If he files for injunction, and the federal court takes the case, we will have yet another long case to follow. Of course there is also all the question marks over the ethics of the MLB, Rob Manfred, and Bud Selig.

Look, I have been covering this case since October. I was bummed I couldn't be the one to report the announcement of the suspension. But you know what? Now I get to give my opinion. I have said since the very beginning that if ARod was guilty that he should be punished fairly. I put serious emphasis on that point. I have never thought that 211-games was fair. ARod has never tested positive for PED's. He is technically a first time offender. So why was he slapped with 211-games, and Ryan Braun only received 65-games? 



I know the break down of the suspension. They were hitting him with both a first time, and second time suspension, plus 61 games for impeding the investigation. It was later realized that the MLB, and Manfred were also guilty of impeding the investigation. Hypocrisy? Of course! They can pay for stolen documents, and sweep it under the rug without being held accountable for their actions. Silly us to believe that Selig, who turned a blind eye to the PED's issue for years because he believed it benefited baseball, would ever be fair.

Selig is no hero. He is looking to retire as the Commissioner that Cleaned Up Baseball. He expects us all to forget that he is also the one that allowed the problem to get to the level that is it now. He targeted ARod to make an example of him. Now we should herald him a saint! I'm not sipping your Kool-Aid, Selig!


Go sell your turkey elsewhere! I'm not saying ARod is innocent. The truth is that no one knows what happened. There are no positive test results as proof. Really, there is no solid evidence at all. We are all just making an assumption. Why? Because we need a bad guy. Selig gave him to you.


I mean, who better than the one player everyone loves to hate. Even before he was a Yankee, ARod's life was thrown under the microscope. This could have never been done to a ball player that was under the radar. Even within our own team. Do you think that someone like Brett Gardner could have been handed a 211-game suspension without it causing serious uproar?


The odds were stacked against ARod from the very beginning. Innocent or guilty, he was going to be punished unfairly. It was always going to happen, regardless of the arbitration hearings. Manfred signed off on so many questionable transactions that it made my head spin. And the MLB, and Selig just sat back quietly and let it happen. Selig is cowardly. A source close to the situation (HERE) even said "It's a giant, giant victory for baseball. To get a full season from a superstar player? Are you kidding me? Baseball only went for 211 because they knew there would probably be a reduction." So, MLB knew that 211-games was unfair? Not surprised in the least bit.

At the end of the day, ARod was punished unfairly, despite what fans want to believe. I know some will call for my head on a pike for saying that, but it is the truth. If you take a moment to read the Joint Drug Agreement, you will see it printed in plain black and white. Section 7, sub-section A (HERE) clearly state the perimeters for suspension, based on first, second, and third time violation. He is a first time offender. So yes, regardless of those doing a celebratory dance over the suspension, he got a crap deal. And Selig? Well, when exactly does he retire now? I'm highly disappointed in the MLB. I'm disappointed in how the entire situation was handled, by both sides of the coin. I'm just over all disappointed, and very tired. I believe in fairness all around. This decision is far from it, and that sucks.



--Erica Morales BYB Senior Writer
Twitter: @e_morales1804



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