Major league baseball announced multiple suspensions in connection with performance-enhancing drug use and the Biogenesis clinic on Monday, but the most notable among them was the 211-game punishment, through the end of the 2014 season, levied on New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez.
Rodriguez had been playing minor league games as he completed his recovery from offseason hip surgery, and finally made his 2013 big league debut Monday night against the Chicago White Sox. His suspension was slated to start Thursday, but Rodriguez will certainly appeal and be allowed to continue to play while that process plays out. If his case does not go before an arbitrator until November, as has been suggested, Rodriguez could play the rest of this season as long as he is healthy.
Rodriguez will of course also continue to be paid while the appeal process moves along, and the Yankees remain on the hook for the remaining four years and $86 million on his contract after this year. The Yankees deserve criticism for signing Rodriguez to such a bloated and ill-conceived contract, but they surely expected him to remain a highly productive (and presumably clean) player well into the deal.
Rodriguez had an opportunity to deny the allegations set forth in his punishment prior to Monday night’s game, but he instead cited that he is a “human being” and said the last seven months, since allegations of his attachment to Biogenesis surfaced, have been a “nightmare.”
Rodriguez continues to play the victim in this situation, and act as if he is above it all. He previously acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs during his time with the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003, but it’s worth wondering if he has ever been totally clean since landing in the big leagues in 1994.
It’s worth noting that Rodriguez has never tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs since baseball’s drug policy was turned up a notch and starting leveling significant penalties on players, and that will surely be the basis of any defense he has during the appeal process.
I appreciate Rodriguez’s desire and right to defend himself, and saying anything incriminating on Monday night would not have done his appeal process any good. But he has already made more than $353 million in salary during his career (per Baseball Reference.com), as a potentially tainted player for the majority of that time, and should not be allowed to play and get paid while his appeal moves forward.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.