A-Rod's Lawyers Reportedly Negotiating 150-Game Suspension After Meeting With MLB
Lawyers for Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez are "now aware of the extent" of MLB's case against him regarding ties to the Florida-based Biogenesis clinic and are "engaging in internal discussions about brokering a plea deal with MLB to reduce" Rodriguez' pending suspension, according to sources cited by Madden & Thompson of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Sources said that a 150-game suspension "might be the best that could be expected for Rodriguez." The sources noted that Rodriguez was "chastised by the Yankees Saturday for failing to report to the team’s complex for Friday night’s game following a four-and-a-half hour meeting with MLB officials who outlined their case against him." Another source said that Rodriguez’ meeting with MLB "ended at about 4 p.m., and a clearly shaken Rodriguez then met" with MLBPA reps for an hour and a half to "discuss what had been outlined by MLB officials" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/14). ESPN's Darren Rovell reported there is "chatter that MLB could attempt to ban" Rodriguez and Brewers LF Ryan Braun "from the game forever if each instance counts as a violation" (TWITTER.com, 7/12).
PLAYING HARDBALL: In N.Y., Steve Eder in a front-page piece reported former Secret Service agent Mark Sullivan is the "latest weapon" MLB is "deploying to pursue players suspected of doping." In a move that is in "striking contrast to how the league once dealt with with performance-enhancing drugs," MLB officials are "using unusually tough means to expose some of the sport's biggest stars." The league in the last six months has "pursued its own stars through a costly doping investigation highly unusual for a professional sports league." MLB Exec VP/Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred: "This investigation is broader, longer, and more expensive than all of the other investigations we’ve done, put together." Eder noted the hiring of Sullivan’s services, which began in April, is "among the most notable examples of the league’s new tactics." He will advise MLB on "how best to conduct the investigation, use his own connections to advance it and help identify potential frailties in their case" (N.Y. TIMES, 7/13). In Toronto, Bob Elliott wrote it is obvious that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "is making a giant stride towards improving the system." Selig is "trying to clean up the game" and he is trying to "make the system work -- which is what the majority of players want" (TORONTO SUN, 7/14).
MAKING A STATEMENT: In Boston, Nick Cafardo wrote while MLB would "hate the negative publicity, it is eager to make a huge statement to those who continue to try to cheat." A source said that MLB "feels good about the fact that perhaps this could be the last major scandal now that drug testing is far more comprehensive" (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/14). In Miami, Greg Cote wrote MLB during the All-Star festivities "tries to celebrate its best while holding its breath over its worst: a reminder the Steroids Era is not yet past" (MIAMIHERALD.com, 7/14). In Milwaukee, Laaser & Fauber wrote under the header, "Baseball's Drug Testing: Thorough Or Easily Thwarted?" If 20 MLBers were "cheating, how did they not get caught under the toughest drug-testing program in professional sports?" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/14). Meanwhile, Laaser in a separate piece wrote under the header, "Baseball's Drug Testing Regimen Surpasses Other Major Sports" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 7/14).