With Alex Rodriguez’s name once again being linked to performance enhancing drugs the New York Yankees might seek to get out from under the albatross that is his contract according to multiple reports across Major League Baseball.
Rodriguez was mentioned in several reports surrounding Biogenesis, a Coral Gables, Fla. Anti-aging clinic that is being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Agency and other authorities for their links to PEDs including human growth hormone and anabolic steroids.
He has since come out and issued a statement denying any wrongdoing. However, given Rodriguez’s past and given the skepticism we now view athletes linked to PEDs, how can we believe him at this point? How many times have we been burned by our favorite athletes who claim they are innocent only to find out they are, in fact, guilty.
To add more drama to the strained relationship between Rodriguez and the Yankees front office, the Yankees issued a statement that seemed to support Major League Baseball instead of their star third baseman. This should come as no surprise given the fact that the Yankees have grown tired of the circus that has followed Rodriguez ever since he came to the Yankees prior to the 2004 season in a trade with the Texas Rangers. From off-field affairs, PEDs, gambling accusations, his post-season antics where he was more concerned with women in the stands than playing, to on-field struggles, Alex Rodriguez’s tenure with the Yankees has gone from Monument Park to monumental mistake.
The Yankees have no one to blame but themselves. They are the ones that re-signed Rodriguez to his current contract which will pay Rodriguez $114 million over the next five years, a number that could go up if he hits certain home run milestones, something that is unlikely at this point. However, the Yankees are investigating any avenue that will allow them to get out from under Rodriguez’s contract, something that would be an immense help as the team struggles to get under the $189 million luxury tax by 2014.
The Yankees would love nothing more than to be able to void Rodriguez’s contract, something the player’s union would likely fight tooth and nail to uphold given the size of the contract.
One angle the Yankees are exploring is voiding the contract because Rodriguez sought treatment outside the organization and without the organization’s knowledge. It is unlikely the team will be able to void the contract due to PED use because there is no specific language in the contract pertaining to that which would explain why the Yankees would go the outside medical route. However, the Yankees are said to be exploring several different options while they wait for the ruling from Major League Baseball. Something tells me if Rodriguez backtracks and admits to using PEDs this time around there will be no teary press conference in Tampa with the organization showing their support.
The Yankees have nobody to blame but themselves for Rodriguez’s contract. After he opted out following the 2007 season the Yankees basically bid against themselves to re-sign Rodriguez to a 10-year, $275 million contract that will take the now 37-year-old to his age 42 season.
The Yankees can dream all they want, but the likelihood that they are able to void Rodriguez’s contract are on par with seeing Claudell Washington and Gary Ward in the outfield this season. Still, can you blame them for trying?