Alex Rodriguez has had his 211-game suspension reduced to 162-game ban, by the independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, which will mean that he will not be able to play in the entire regular season or in the playoffs. After the 162-game suspension was announced on January 11, Alex Rodriguez announced that he would take the suspension to federal court and has said that he still intends on coming to spring training.
A-Rod is not technically banned from spring training, and he will be able to show up because under the Joint Drug Agreement and the Collective Bargaining Agreement his representatives believe that nothing prevents him from showing up. He will file an injunction, which does not have much of a chance of reversing the suspension, so he would want to be in shape and ready for the season.
The Yankees would have every right to put him on a field with minor leaguers since he would not really deserve to train with major league players who can help the team this season. He is basically all about himself and if he does end up going to spring training it would be because he wants all of the attention that he can get.
Some have said that A-Rod’s suspension should be similar to the 65 games that Ryan Braun received, but the 60 Minutes piece basically proves that he deserves a more lengthy ban. Bosch does not seem like a very credible individual since he and his clinic supplied the drugs to many athletes, but it does seem like the is telling the truth in this interview. A-Rod initially lied about taking steroids while he was with the Texas Rangers, and then when he went on Mike Francesa’s show on WFAN he repeatedly lied about taking any banned substances or obstructing any evidence.
Here is what Anthony Bosch, A-Rod’s supplier of banned substances out of the Miami based Biogenesis Clinic, said on 60 Minutes:
As of now, two players who will likely see most of the time at third base this season will be Kelly Johnson and Eduardo Nunez. This combination could work for the Yankees, and they likely would not be much worse than what A-Rod would have produced. They will definitely not give the Yankees as many distractions as A-Rod would have.
In 44 games last season, A-Rod hit a career low .244, only had 19 RBIs and can’t nearly move like he used to. Even though he had hip surgery that caused him not to play until after the All-Star break, the banned substances that he has been taking clearly didn’t work for him last season.
Nunez played 14 games last season at third base, which equaled 120 innings, and only committed two errors. He previously played 83 innings at third in 2010 and 285.1 innings at the hot corner in 2011. Based on how he played third last season he should be reliable defensively. He is not gold glove caliber, but he will not hurt the team, can make difficult and routine plays and has the ability to help with his bat. He had a .260 average, 28 RBIs and 10 steals in 90 games last season, and in the last 14 days of the season (42 at-bats) he hit .310 with two homers and five RBIs.
Johnson, who played last season with the Tampa Bay Rays, only hit .235 last season but slugged 16 homers in 118 games last season. He hit a career-high 26 homers for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, and Yankees Stadium’s short left field porch should benefit him. Last season, Johnson played 16 games at third, starting 12, while making one error and getting 31 assists. He has proven that he can produce in the AL East since he has played parts of the last three seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays and Rays.
The Yankees have also made the signing of Brian Roberts official. Roberts, the longtime productive yet often injured second baseman of the Baltimore Orioles, will be using the roster spot that that Yankees will not be using on A-Rod. He has averaged just 48 games per season since 2010, but he has been healthy since the end of last season. He has a one-year, $2 million dollar contract, and in the last 14 days of last season (42 at-bats), Roberts hit .310 and hit four homers.
The Yankees will be able to use the $27.5 million that they will not be paying A-Rod this season on signing Masahiro Tanaka (or another starter) and a relief pitcher. It has been reported that Tanaka wants to play for the Dodgers or Yankees, and it seems like the Dodgers are going to give their ace, Clayton Kershaw, a record setting deal in the next couple weeks, according to Buster Olney. This could be beneficial for the Yankees.