Alex Rodriguez and the New York Yankees have been waiting for much of the winter on an official ruling from independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. The ruling will be relatively simple, but will have a significant impact on both the player and the team while directly impacting the team’s plans for the 2014 season.
Horowitz essentially will make one of three decisions: he can uphold the 211 game suspension handed down by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, he can decide that the suspension is too long and suggest an alternative length, or he can wipe the suspension off the books altogether.
There’s little about the case that hasn’t been made public in recent months. Rodriguez was discovered to have ties to the Miami-based BioGenesis clinic that has been under investigation for their delivery of performance enhancing drugs. Naturally Rodriguez denied the allegations, but Major League Baseball felt strongly enough otherwise that they handed down the historic suspension. The two sides had their opportunity to argue their case in court following the end of the regular season but even those proceedings ended with drama, particularly once Rodriguez stormed out on the hearing’s final day once Horowitz declared that Selig would not be forced to testify.
The Yankees are perhaps the party most interested in what Horowitz’ ruling will be. With Rodriguez suspended they’ll have to address who their starting third baseman will be, but will see roughly $25 Million in potential payroll cleared from the books for the coming season. With Rodriguez allowed to play, the team’s payroll will likely reach it’s limitation and they could be hindered from making any deals to further improve the roster. That’s not even considering the future bonuses that are worked into Rodriguez’ contract should be reach a number of upcoming career home run milestones.
Plus, the general belief is that at this point the Yankees just simply don’t want him back.
Mike Puma of the New York Post suggested early Thursday that Horowitz will likely take a “few more days” to make a decision on Rodriguez’ suspension, suggesting that we may not have an answer until early next week. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman added midday Friday that with the Hall of Fame announcement scheduled for next Wednesday, Horowitz may wait until week’s end to make his ruling official.