Report: Rodriguez Could Be Facing Up To Lifetime Ban For Role In Biogenesis Case
MLB is considering a "much harsher" penalty for Yankees 3B Alex Rodriguez for his connection to the Biogenesis clinic than the 65-game suspension given to Brewers LF Ryan Braun, including a ban of "years ... or even a lifetime suspension," according to CBS News' Jim Axelrod. An MLB exec indicated that the league has an "overwhelming amount of evidence" on Rodriguez showing "multiple years of usage." The exec added that it is "not a matter of if Rodriguez will be suspended for using performance enhancing drugs, but when." ESPN's T.J. Quinn said, "People have a strong understanding that there is a lot of evidence out there, that it comes directly from Tony Bosch and it was compelling enough to get one of the biggest names in the game to just concede that baseball had the goods on him. So if that's the case, they know something is coming with A-Rod. It is just a matter of time." Axelrod noted the exec indicated that MLB "has a lot more on Rodriguez than just drug use." The exec said that MLB is looking into whether Rodriguez "lied, whether he obstructed the investigation and whether he got other players involved.'" An announcement about Rodriguez "is expected sometime in the next two weeks" ("CBS Evening News," CBS, 7/23).
MLB'S MOST WANTED? USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale cites sources as saying that Rodriguez has "no intention of negotiating a settlement" with MLB and "plans to appeal any potential suspension." Another source said that MLB is "prepared to suspend Rodriguez for 100 games ... for his role with the Biogenesis clinic, alleged lies about performance-enhancing drug use and possible interference in the investigation." The original sources said that Rodriguez "does not view Braun's situation as a comparison for his case" (USA TODAY, 7/24). In N.Y., Ken Davidoff writes, "Given that he’ll have far more money at stake than did Braun, finding a disciplinary sweet spot for A-Rod might not be as easy as it was for Braun" (N.Y. POST, 7/24). Also in N.Y., Bill Madden writes Rodriguez is the "Whitey Bulger of baseball, the most wanted criminal in the game's history." Rodriguez has "not only been one of the biggest cheats of all, but he is also believed to have sought to impede MLB’s investigation by helping to secure lawyers for some of the witnesses in the case" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/24).
DOMINO EFFECT: ESPN DALLAS' Todd Wills noted Rangers manager Ron Washington yesterday praised RF Nelson Cruz for the "way he has handled playing baseball every day while the Biogenesis cloud hangs over him." Washington said, "I don't know what (Cruz is) going through because I've never been in that situation, but I think he's handled it admirably. He's been a pro, and he has been able to separate what he has done on his job, which is come to the ballpark and play baseball, and what he's done out of here. He's done a good job of separating." Washington added that he, the coaches and the players "will support Cruz" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 7/23). Meanwhile, in San Diego, Bill Center notes there are indications that the Padres "no longer believe" SS Everth Cabrera will "escape sanctions," while that status of C Yasmani Grandal is "much less clear." Grandal already has "served a 50-game suspension for testing positive last September for testosterone." Center: "Would more sanctions from the Biogenesis probe be double jeopardy?" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/24).
TIMING IS EVERYTHING: In Baltimore, Peter Schmuck wrote all the discipline from the Biogenesis case "should have been announced at the same time, regardless of whether some players make deals and some don't, because the integrity of the schedule and the pennant races demand that." If MLB officials want to "restrict the impact of the scandal to the remainder of the season, that's fine, but they need to get to it." If not, they "run the risk of having people start wondering if it was a coincidence that the team once owned by Bud Selig got such a convenient deal" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 7/23).