A-Rod must do right thing and cut a deal with MLB
Alex Rodriguez could fight MLB over its Biogenesis punishment. Or he could do the right thing and cut his losses. Jon Heyman says it*s the only way A-Rod could save a little dignity.
If most of the mountain of evidence Major League Baseball has allegedly assembled is more legit than his MVPs, Alex Rodriguez needs to do the wise thing and cut a deal with MLB. If he's guilty of these PED offenses, it's time to stop the scheming, get his act together and cut his losses.
A compromise agreement with MLB would not only be in the best interest of baseball, it's probably in the best interest of A-Rod, who has a chance to retain a modicum of his dignity and close to 90 percent of his record $275 million contract if he signs up to sit out through 2014, for instance.
Rodriguez has a chance to work with MLB, and to do the right thing. Which means there's probably no chance at all of that happening.
MLB seeks first to strike deals with the nine players it plans to penalize for steroid links to the Miami "wellness clinic," and the great likelihood is that a vast majority of players will the take 50-game or 65-game bans offered (one or two might have received the extra 15 a la Ryan Braun), rather than fight the 100-game bans MLB will seek if they decide to contest the case. But with A-Rod, the penalties are stiffer, and it's impossible to know which way it'll go.
There seems to be a suggestion he can cut a deal that will still leave him with $60 million to do presumably nothing from 2015-2017 (hard to imagine a comeback at age 39 after being out two whole seasons on two surgically repaired hips). He also carries the potential to play this into a lifetime ban.
It's fair to say that commissioner Bud Selig is "preparing" to impose a lifetime ban in case A-Rod doesn't play nice, but MLB's goal, as it is with the rest of the Biogenesis Nine, is to cut deals and put the ugliness behind them ASAP.
Rodriguez may have it in his head that the arbitrator Fredric Horowitz would never go for a lifetime ban, but why roll the dice? Remember that famed baseball gambler Pete Rose, who misplayed his date with then-commissioner Bart Giamatti into a lifetime ban of his own.
A-Rod and MLB started in a complete staredown, but there's believed to be some small signaling for compromise currently taking place. MLB will probably receive handshakes from a majority of the Biogenesis Nine in the next day or two, though there's no hard deadline and things are said to be "in flux."
They appear a long way from an A-Rod deal, but give him time to think it over. It's a big decision, and that's not something he specializes in.
He isn't dumb, but like a lot of us he has trouble with life decisions, which is what has him in this mess in the first place. It's certainly no guarantee he will do the right thing (assuming the proof is valid), and may in fact depend on which of his coterie of mouthpieces has his ear last.
A-Rod may not have a lot of sense, but he has gobs of cash and a full roster of presumably very good lawyers who can attack baseball's star witness, Tony Bosch, an admitted steroid dealer who originally lied about it and is being paid to cooperate. Of course, things could get tricky if there's paperwork (emails, texts, receipts), as it's believed, to support the scoundrel Bosch.
Even Ryan Braun, who fought and beat the worst PED test result in the history of baseball -- his testosterone level was so high it became part of his defense -- had the good sense to cut a deal this time, and at least on the surface there didn't appear to be a fraction of the evidence MLB has against A-Rod. Rodriguez is being accused of impeding the investigation by trying to buy documents in order to keep them away from MLB investigators.
A-Rod's people are naturally saying they plan to appeal now, but let's just hope this is part of their posturing phase. It's hard to know, but A-Rod keeps discarding and hiring lawyers, with a new New York-based firm being added to his mix of David Cornwell and Jay Z's folks. It could be evidence he's wavering about what to do.
Everyone now says A-Rod is such a fighter he'll never compromise. But he doesn't always do the wrong thing. When Selena Roberts found out that he failed baseball's 2003 survey test, A-Rod did right, copping to it an interview with Peter Gammons, then again at a press conference at spring training in Tampa, the famous one where he fingered his cousin Yuri (pronounced Judy) as his mule.
It's what came after that's the problem.
After telling us he was going to do everything in his power to right those mistakes in what he called those "loosey goosey" days in Texas, there is now allegedly evidence that suggests he partook in steroids every year since 2009.
After saying he was going to dedicate himself to win our faith back, he allegedly ramped up his use in decidedly non-loosey-goosey days.
After saying he was going to right his wrong, and paying a visit to the folks at the Taylor Hooton Foundation, who are dedicated to eradicating steroid use in young boys to serve the memory of Taylor Hooton, a Texas teenager who committed suicide after trying steroids, the alleged evidence suggests A-Rod kept right on breaking baseball's new cardinal rule.
People who have known Rodriguez since the beginning of his career see it as Greek tragedy -- the young man who was given everything yet tried to take much more. It wasn't enough to have model looks, a winning smile and the greatest ability in the history of baseball. He had to have an edge on top of all that.
And where has it gotten him? Instead of having the career he should have had -- a 500-homer hitter with Gold Glove capability -- he's turned it all into a mess. And contrary to what he's convinced himself of, it's his fault.
Baseball isn't out to get him for any other reason than the suspicion he trampled all over the rules. If MLB is doing what it can to keep him off the field, it's A-Rod's fault, not baseball's. If the Yankees don't love him, well, it might have something to do with the fact the most talented and best-paid player in the game isn't authentic.
The dog-and-pony show A-Rod directed by getting an actual doctor to go on WFAN and say he was giving a second opinion that conflicted with the Yankee medical opinion on a patient he had never seen was laughable.
Because A-Rod told him he felt fine on the phone, he was.
Some of his lawyers were supposedly livid over the side-game shenanigans that served as little more than mere distraction. A-Rod is acting desperate to get back on a major-league ball field as if that will make all this go away.
Don't blame Dr. Michael Gross, who as luck would have it, runs his own "wellness clinic," though his career may take a sudden downturn. Like many before him, he was simply caught in the vortex of A-Rod.
A-Rod looks great in a mirror. Or from afar. But nothing lasts.
Remember when a fresh-faced Derek Jeter was his ball-playing soul mate from 3,000 miles away? That was many BFF's ago.
He's been close to a lot of people. Though not for long.
He traded a nice wife (with whom he had two beautiful girls) to date a rotation of starlets, whom he eventually left to take up with a retired professional wrestler (not that there's anything wrong with that job).
I can't begin to name all the publicists he's run through. (Imagine how bad the publicity would be if he was going it alone!)
He's changed agents, firing the fellow who got him a record $527 million in contracts for a guy who's more famous for a compromising Internet photo. And if that wasn't enough, he immediately started recruiting for the guy (Dan Lozano) in the photo.
After baseball, A-Rod's specialty is conspiracy theories. He seems to think everyone is scheming because he's a pretty fair schemer. He's always looking for the angle rather than playing it straight up. This week he told Sports Illustrated's S.L. Price he wants to be a role model for his kids.
How about this? Rather than scheming to somehow try to go unpunished, how about looking for a fair deal from Major League Baseball in order to spare the game he says he loves?