Alex Rodriguez Will Keep His Money, But Lose His Reputation

As New York Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and the rest of the front office attempt to focus on the team's farm system and starting rotation, the looming question about the fate of the team and Alex Rodriguez's tenure in baseball has spurred a media firestorm around the team. The Yankees third baseman has recently been under fire for allegedly receiving and purchasing performance-enhancing drugs from the now-defunct rejuvenation clinic, Biogenesis of America. As a result of this recent involvement, Major League Baseball is continuing to review Rodriguez's case among other MLB stars like Ryan Braun to determine if any punitive sanctions are necessary.

Alex Rodriguez and performance-enhancing drugs is, to say the least, not a completely new concept that has recently entered the realm of public knowledge. In February 2009, Selena Roberts and David Epstein of Sports Illustrated reported that A-Rod had tested positive for two types of anabolic steroids. On February 17, 2009, ESPN reported on the press conference where A-Rod had admitted to taking performance-enhancing drugs from his years on the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003, citing "an enormous amount of pressure." However, Rodriguez was not punished for this admission because the MLB did not have a formal testing or sanction policy for performance-enhancing drugs at the time.

The years 2001 to 2003 were possibly the most productive years of A-Rod's career. He averaged 162 games per season batting .305, slugging .615 while averaging an obscene 52 home runs and 132 runs batted in. During those three years, A-Rod received 3 Silver Slugger Awards, was named to the All-Star game three times, and won the Most Valuable Player award in 2003. Although he had an initial rookie outburst and consistent improvement, it wasn't until those three seasons in Texas where experts began to seriously consider and speculate whether A-Rod's face would ultimately be next to the great Ruth, Aaron, and Mays sculptures in Cooperstown. After those three seasons, the New York Yankees signed him to the biggest sports contract in the history of not only baseball, but also professional sports. A behemoth 10-year $275 million contract ensued after his monster 2003 MVP campaign. Before that, Rodriguez had already held the record for the largest sports contract, signing a 10-year $252 million dollar contract with the Texas Rangers. Out of the top 10 largest sums of money promised in a contract in all of sports, the New York Yankees comprise four of the 10, while A-Rod's Yankee contract stands at number one.

On June 4, 2013, ESPN reported that Alex Rodriguez was one of the names involved in the BioGenesis scandal and may be included as one of the players suspended for involvement. Talks of a potential lifetime ban from the game have been thrown around if attempts to fight his suspension and maintain the original terms of his contract are made. The New York Yankees, although no stranger to the media, have been caught in the unfortunate position of attempting to contend for a playoff spot amidst all the madness.

Many in the Yankee fan base base want front office to void his contract even if the allegations aren't true, simply because even a marginally healthy A-Rod isn't worth $20 million a season. However the facts are that there is no language that would give the team a basis for voiding his contract. If Major League Baseball suspends him for 50 or 100 games in accordance with their drug policy, the Yankees will save that money owed to him during that span; but other than that there is no provision to remove A-Rod from the Yankees except with a trade (and here's a list of things that would happen before that does). Michael McCann, director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute at the University of New Hampshire School of Law, cites a clause in a player's contract that says a club can terminate a contract if a player neglects to conform to "good citizenship and sportsmanship" — but that clause has never been used before to terminate and most likely wouldn't hold up in court. Rodriguez is still owed $61 million on his contract and even though the Yankees would love to get rid of this publicity, if the choice is between simply paying $61 million dollars of cash for literally nothing or keeping A-Rod on the roster for even a few games of production, the choice is regrettably quite easy.

If Major League Baseball hands Alex Rodriguez a lifetime ban, he won't receive the money he is owed during his that lifetime suspension. But what will be permanently affected regardless of how this entire media firestorm goes down is the reputation of A-Rod in baseball history. A-Rod fired his agent Scott Boras in September of 2010 it was because of his insistence to get A-Rod to publicly admit his steroid use so as to repair his image from that point forward. Boras sought to create a public image of A-Rod and steroid use so he would never be drawn back to it. The recent allegations about the Biogenesis scandal, if true, prove that A-Rod never felt comfortable playing without PEDs.

Every single person around A-Rod has nothing but praise for his discipline, work ethic, and determination, yet he will not be remembered for any of that. Recently, ESPN released a top 40 list of active players most likely to enter the baseball Hall of Fame: A-Rod was no. 40. Although there might be a few A-Rod fans still clinging to hope, and even if he doesn't receive a single punitive sanction from the MLB, it's safe to say that a bust of Alex Rodriguez won't be in Cooperstown for a long time.

the Sad Timeline of Alex Rodriguez:

Jul. 8th, 1994 – Makes MLB debut with the Seattle Mariners

Nov. 2003 – A-Rod wins MVP award with 47 Home Runs and 118 RBI

Dec. 16th, 2007 – A-Rod goes on 60minutes and tells Katie Couric that he never took performance-enhancing drugs.

Feb. 10th, 2009 – ESPN reports that A-Rod tests positive for steroids

Feb. 17th, 2009 – A-Rod holds press conference, admitting to steroid use in the years on the Texas Rangers from 2001 to 2003.

Mar. 7th, 2010 – Linked with PED distributor Anthony Galea, who said that he treated A-Rod

Jan. 31st, 2013 – Linked to Biogenesis clinic and its distribution

Jul. 30th, 2013 – CBS News confirmed that MLB has told the players union that it will suspend A-Rod

How much do you trust the information in this article?

John Mathew

Hello, I'm a 2nd year at the University of Virginia studying politics and Economics. I love discussing policy and developmental economics with just about anyone with an opinion on the subject. Apart from academic interests, you can ask me anything about basketball (especially the NY Knicks!), running, and super smash brothers, I love them all. Feel free to contact me with any questions about my work!

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