Alex Rodriguez blew it.
Rodriguez’s initial 211-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug allegations was reduced to 162 games over the weekend. It hardly was the reduction Rodriguez was hoping for, as he’ll be forced to sit out the entire 2014 season and lose more than $25 million in salary from the New York Yankees. Making matters worse for A-Rod is that he might have had an opportunity to accept a much shorter suspension back in April or May.
According to Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports’ HardballTalk blog, there was a window of time when Rodriguez could have made a deal for a substantially shorter suspension — possibly as few as 50 games — than he ultimately received.
Calcaterra’s report piggybacks on a report by ESPN’s Buster Olney that said that if Rodriguez had agreed to something last spring — before Major League Baseball investigators had all of the Biogenesis details from chief witness Anthony Bosch — A-Rod might have been able to barter for a suspension for something close to 50 games. A 50-game suspension, of course, is the punishment that a first-time offender gets for a positive PED test.
Calcaterra notes that there wasn’t a formal offer to Rodriguez for a more lenient penalty, but informal discussions began taking place regarding such an arrangement. Rodriguez rejected the idea, though, and MLB eventually got Bosch to cooperate with its investigation.
A 50-game suspension might not have looked all that appealing to Rodriguez at the time of the reported conversations, but things certainly have changed. Rather than having this whole suspension thing behind him, Rodriguez is left to wonder whether he has played his final game.