Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for the 2014 season and postseason for his involvement with Biogenesis and alleged PED use. Next up for A-Rod: spring training, of course.
Following the ruling handed down by the arbitrator, Rodriguez announced he will fight the case to the end in federal court and also attend New York Yankees spring training in Tampa, Fla. next month. This has disaster written all over it.
Rodriguez has found a loophole in the system as he is allowed to attend spring training. No matter where A-Rod goes there is usually a panel of photographers and reporters following him. Yet, if he attends the Yankees’ 2014 spring training, it will be a circus like never before even in Yankee-standards.
The Yankees are used to distractions by being the biggest brand in MLB with the highest payroll and some of the best players on the planet, but A-Rod is a different story. They have already been there and done that back in 2009 when Rodriguez first admitted he used PEDs when he was with the Texas Rangers. There will be tough questions for the coaches and players regardless of Rodriguez’s presence, but with him being there it will only make it worse.
The questions will become more personal when his teammates and coaches are asked if they agree with the ruling and how they feel about Rodriguez being gone now that they have an abundance of his money. The media should be focusing on the new crop of players that includes Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran. Instead, the newcomers will be bombarded with questions on a guy who they have never been a teammate of. Things would just be better with him gone.
Spring training will be vitally important for the Yankees as they will have to evaluate everything from the health of players like Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira to sorting out the rotation dilemma and deciding who will make the final roster. The Yankees front office needs to do everything in its power to make sure the only thing being worked on in Tampa next month is baseball. The last thing the Yankees need at spring training is Rodriguez advocating himself and deterring New York from its ultimate goal of winning a championship.