MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Alex Rodriguez still has yet to put on a New York Yankees uniform this season, but the biggest question now is will he ever put on the pinstripes again?
It will all come down to the penalty phase for A-Rod allegedly using, lying about using, and possibly hindering an investigation into performance-enhancing drugs.
According to the CBS Evening News, there's been talk of a lifetime ban for Rodriguez, which at this point the Yankees would likely welcome.
"They have an overwhelming amount of evidence on this guy showing multiple years of usage," an MLB executive told CBS News. "He's met with Major League Baseball. He's seen the evidence. He is staring down a penalty much, much harsher than Braun's. It could be years… or even a lifetime suspension."
A-Rod told WFAN in New York last week that no one from his camp had been instructed to work on a deal on the length of a suspension "at this point." A Tuesday report from USAToday said Rodriguez "has no intention of negotiating a settlement."
Still, in this fight A-Rod may not have many allies left and is likely facing a tough penalty from Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig for his alleged role in the Biogenesis scandal.
Biogenesis was a Coral Gables-based anti-aging clinic run by Anthony Bosch that allegedly provided performance-enhancing drugs to multiple major league players including A-Rod and the recently suspended Ryan Braun.
The scandal was originally broken open by a report in the Miami New Times that detailed players and their interactions with Bosch and his clinic.
Braun accepted his suspension this week and admitted to PED usage after denying it for years. His acceptance of the suspension also gave credibility to Bosch, which makes the case against A-Rod that much tougher for the Yankees star to beat.
Rodriguez is nearing the end of his career anyway, but a suspension of even 150 games could spell an even quicker end for A-Rod. The third baseman turns 38 on Saturday and most players don't make it past the age of 40 in baseball, especially at a position like third base.
As of Wednesday, Rodriguez was still on the disabled list while rehabbing from both hip surgery in the offseason and a strained quadriceps muscle last week. The question is would the Yankees want him, and the media circus that will come with him, back on the team?
The Yankees still owe Rodriguez upwards of $100 million on an albatross of a contract the team signed a few years ago. If Rodriguez received a lifetime ban, the Yankees are off the hook for the contract. If Rodriguez retired due to injury, insurance would cover most of the remaining money on the contract.
But if A-Rod receives less than a lifetime ban and is cleared to play by doctors, the Yankees face the decision of either letting him return to the team or releasing him. But in either a comeback or a release, the Yankees would be required to pay the remaining contract.
However, the Yankees have no role in the investigation or the penalty phase, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. The Bronx Bombers will know the outcome of A-Rod's case when everyone else does.
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