It actually represented a reduction in his suspension. Last August, MLB suspended A-Rod for 211 games for obtaining PEDs from Biogenesis in Florida and hindering MLB’s investigation into Biogenesis. A-Rod appealed the decision and played in 44 games hitting .244 with 7 HR and 19 RBI. He now has 654 career homeruns, only six behind Willie Mays.
For his part, A-Rod intends to appeal the decision in federal court. I cannot see a federal court overturning the arbitrator’s decision. The courts don’t generally overturn the rulings of arbitrators nor are they generally inclined to get involved in MLB’s business.
The Yankees were well prepared for this development. Free agent signee Kelly Johnson and veteran backup infielder Eduardo Nunez will likely split time at third base. If the Yankees are really in a pinch then they could pursue someone like Michael Young.
This decision is not surprising when you consider that A-Rod walked out of his grievance hearing last November. A-Rod left the hearing when the arbitrator refused his demand that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig testify at the hearing.
A-Rod turns 39 in July. He has probably played his last MLB game.
UPDATE: Tonight, 60 Minutes interviewed Biogenesis founder Victor Bosch. He claimed to have injected A-Rod with PEDs on occasion and also claimed that he had his life threatened by associates of Rodriguez.
But the piece really cast doubts on MLB’s investigation against A-Rod. MLB COO Rob Manfred admitted to paying an associate of Bosch $125,000 for documents purportedly belonging to Biogenesis. Gee, well he has every incentive to lie. Yes, Bosch corraborated the documentation, but only after dropping its lawsuit and paying his legal and security fees. Of course, Bosch corraborated the documents.
Look, A-Rod might not have clean hands and will probably never play again, but he could have a case in federal court. However, I think it is unlikely a federal court will overturn the arbitrator’s decision.
UPDATE II: A-Rod is going to federal court. But he is suing both MLB and the MLBPA. I understand A-Rod’s beef with MLB, but not the Players’ Association. A-Rod claims the Players’ Association abandoned him. It’s pretty bad form for A-Rod to attack a man who cannot defend himself. Last summer, Michael Weiner died of complications of brain cancer. His successor, Tony Clark, was not amused. It should be noted that Clark was a teammate of A-Rod during his first season with the Yankees in 2004.