SBD/January 30, 2013/Franchises

Yankees Might Attempt To Void A-Rod's Contract Following Latest PED Link

Rodriguez has five years and $114M remaining on his Yankees contract
The Yankees plan on "exploring multiple avenues in an attempt to void" 3B Alex Rodriguez' contract if MLB disciplines him over a report yesterday that linked Rodriguez to performance-enhancing drugs, according to Matthews & Marchand of ESPN N.Y. A source said, "(The Yankees) can't do anything until the MLB investigation is concluded and they take action, if any." Sources said that Rodriguez "might be in little danger of having his contract voided, even if the charges turn out to be true." There is no "precedent to successfully void a contract in baseball over PEDs." The Yankees have five years and $114M left on the contract. A source said the Yankees "are looking at about 20 different things." This includes whether Rodriguez "breached the contract by taking medical treatment from an outside doctor without the team's authorization, and the possibility that he might have broken the law by purchasing controlled substances from a Miami 'wellness clinic' run by nutritionist Anthony Bosch." Sources said that even if it is "proved that Rodriguez received PEDs and HGH from Bosch, the Yankees would not be able to impose a punishment greater than the mandatory 50-game suspension stipulated for a first-time offender by baseball's collectively bargained Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program." A source said that the fact that the Yankees "continued to honor Rodriguez's 10-year, $275 million contract extension after his public admissions of PED use in 2009 might further weaken their case to void the contract" (ESPNNY.com, 1/29). A source said that MLB "plans to summon Rodriguez to its New York offices after it receives paperwork from Drug Enforcement Agency officials." USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale cited a source as saying that the Yankees "unsuccessfully tried to void" former 1B Jason Giambi's contract in '04 "after he admitted steroid use to a San Francisco grand jury in the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative case" (USA TODAY, 1/30). The N.Y. Daily News' John Harper said, “The penalties are in place for these guys if they do performance-enhancing drugs, and the Yankees know the risk. That’s the way Major League Baseball looks at it now” (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet N.Y., 1/29).

CALLING THEIR SHOT? In N.Y., Thompson, O'Keeffe, Madden & McCarron cite a source as saying that the Yankees "might have had a better chance of getting out of Rodriguez’s contract in 2009 when he was outed as a steroid cheat and then admitted using PEDs." Unless there is "specific language in Rodriguez’s contract giving the Yankees void power if he comes up dirty for PEDs, they would likely have a tough time finding a way to get out from under the pact" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/30). In N.Y., Joel Sherman writes this is a "Hail Mary the Yankees will be happy to attempt." The Yankees "want to save as much money as possible, especially because they have eyes on getting under the $189 million luxury tax threshold next year." And the $27.5M they are "charged annually for A-Rod weighs down those efforts." A lawsuit to void the contract would be a "very difficult case to win." But maybe the "mere threat of more info arising from a court case would move Rodriguez to agree to a buyout" (N.Y. POST, 1/30).
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