Could the lastest chapter in the Yankees/A-Rod saga be the last?
So, you've probably heard: an explosive report published this morning has linked several prominent baseball players to an alleged doping clinic in South Florida called Biogenesis, which is now under investigation by MLB and the DEA.
At the forefront of the six players listed in the lengthy article is a familiar name in the world of baseball PED reporting:
To say the report is damning and potentially damaging to the remainder of A-Rod's career would be putting it nicely. Here's a small taste of what the report has to say about him and his connections to the clinic, found in the clinic director Anthony Bosch's personal notebook:
There, at number seven on the list, is Alex Rodriguez. He paid $3,500, Bosch notes.
Below that, he writes, "1.5/1.5 HGH (sports perf.) creams test., glut., MIC, supplement, sports perf. Diet." HGH, of course, is banned in baseball, as are testosterone creams...
The mentions of Rodriguez begin in 2009 and continue all the way through last season. Take a page in another notebook, which is labeled "2012" and looks to have been written last spring.
Under the heading "A-Rod/Cacique," Bosch writes, "He is paid through April 30th. He will owe May 1 $4,000... I need to see him between April 13-19, deliver troches, pink cream, and... May meds."
If the records are to believed, A-Rod began business with Bosch at approximately the same time he made these statements in a nationally-televised press conference:
"Going back to 2001, my cousin started telling me about a substance that you could purchased over the counter in the DR...
My cousin and I, one more ignorant than the other, decided it was a good idea to start taking it.
We did everything we could to keep it between us, and my cousin did not provide any other players with it.
I stopped taking it in '03 and haven't taken it since."
A-Rod could try to stand on the argument that "it" was referring to a specific drug he was taking then and not PEDs in general, but that seems like a pretty pointless thing to argue at this point.
The 37-year-old third baseman is currently sidelined through at least July while he recovers from major hip surgery, but this latest news could very well sideline him much longer.
Despite his past transgressions, A-Rod has never been suspended for steroid use. That could change pretty quickly. While most drug suspensions are handed out as the result of a failed drug test, that is not the only means for the Commissioner's office to hand out PED punishment. Section C of baseball's drug policy allows for disciplinary action to be taken on any player when the Commissioner determines there is "just cause" to do so.
Now, what "just cause" means can probably be argued until the cows come home, and I'm sure A-Rod (and possibly others) will lawyer up and do just that. But this would not be the first time that Bud Selig has suspended a player without a failed drug test.
Jordan Schafer was suspended 50 games for HGH use in 2008 on anecdotal evidence alone, and Selig pulled out the "just cause" clause earlier this month when Jonathan Singleton was handed a 50-game suspension for marijuana use -- a drug that is specifically listed as a non-suspension substance.
After all is said and done, the biggest loser in all this may still end up being the New York Yankees, who still owe A-Rod $114 million over the next five seasons. The Bronx Bombers have an insurance policy that could recoup them at least 75 percent of the remaining money on his contract, but it's unclear whether that policy will kick in for anything other than a serious injury.
The Yankees could try to void Rodriguez's contract in light of the steroids allegations, but only if the club wrote PED-specific language into his record deal. It is unknown at this point whether A-Rod's contract includes any such language.