It’s an admittedly small chance, according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, but there may be an opening that allows Major League Baseball to hit Alex Rodriguez with another suspension prior to the 2015 season. As Rosenthal wrote on Saturday, additional discipline hinges on possible testimony surfacing that links Rodriguez to assisting in the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.
The chances probably are slim. But if new details emerge that Rodriguez assisted his cousin, Yuri Sucart, in the distribution of performance-enhancing drugs, baseball might have an opening, sources say.
Surcart is one of the defendants in the government’s case against Biogenesis. Nine players, including Rodriguez, were granted immunity by the government in exchange for their testimony.
Baseball already has suspended Rodriguez for 162 games for his use and possession of performance-enhancing drugs. The question now is whether the testimony of one or more of the other players would show that Rodriguez also was involved in distribution.
If the testimony exists, Rosenthal’s sources suggest MLB would have its opening to at least pursue the possibility of another suspension. It’s also noted the MLBPA would undoubtedly argue that Rodriguez has already served the penalty for the entirety of his involvement with Biogenesis.
It’s a fight MLB would struggle to win, but it seems they’re interested in pursuing and exhausting just about every avenue to take another shot at A-Rod.
Here’s more from Rosenthal:
Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement states that a player who participates in the sale or distribution of a PED is subject to an 80-game suspension, but not more than a 100-game suspension for a first offense.
The sport, however, likely would view such a violation by Rodriguez as a second offense, citing the “just cause” provision of the Basic Agreement. Baseball, in its original 211-game suspension of Rodriguez, said that he violated not just the JDA, but also that provision.
The JDA states that a player involved in distributing PEDs a second time is subject to a lifetime ban. It’s unclear whether baseball could pursue such a penalty; Rodriguez’s first offense was not for distribution. And again, the union would argue that Rodriguez did not commit a second offense.
There’s a lot of legal talk and loopholes here that in the end will likely signify nothing. But, it’s A-Rod, so it’s worth keeping an eye on just for the possibility of new details emerging.
In the meantime, Rodriguez continues working out for his comeback to the Yankees in 2015. He’s still owed $61 million over the next three seasons. As slim as the possibility of another suspension is, it would seem even slimmer that he’ll be effective and productive for one full season, let alone three. Still, the Yankees will give him another look, perhaps secretly hoping he’s unable to hold up, allowing them to collect insurance on 80 percent of his remaining deal.
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