A report now suggests that New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez could have accepted a suspension for far less than 211 games, but decided instead to fight a ban.
Rodriguez had settlement discussions with Major League Baseball over his role in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal. Those discussions included proposals for significantly lower penalties, according to a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
Back in April, baseball even floated the possibility of a 50-game suspension, but Rodriguez was not willing to work out such a deal and even hired new representation because he wanted to fight the charges more aggressively. MLB disputes ever offering A-Rod a 50-game suspension, while insisting that Rodriguez was the one who sought that kind of deal.
Rodriguez’s original attorney was Jay Reisinger, who has strong ties to the commissioner’s office and players’ union and also represented eight of the 12 players who accepted suspensions August 5 for their roles in the Biogenesis scandal. Rodriguez added David Cornwell to his legal team, which led to Reisinger departing.
With Cornwell leading the charge, Rodriguez’s defense became combative and Cornwell began claiming that baseball’s conduct during its investigation was “despicable, unethical and potentially illegal.”
A-Rod then added attorney Joseph Tacopina to his team and on Friday he accused both the Yankees and MLB of mistreating Rodriguez. Apparently all of this ugliness could have been avoided by cutting a deal with baseball earlier in the year.
But since Rodriguez was offered that lighter suspension earlier in the year, MLB cut a deal with Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch to cooperate with the league’s investigation. And that has only stiffened baseball’s resolve to punish the 38-year-old third baseman.
It seems that by turning down a lighter suspension, Rodriguez has dug himself into a serious, 211-game hole. He will have an appeal at some point this offseason, and who knows what will happen then.