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MLBPA director Michael Weiner: Alex Rodriguez suspension is ‘almost ridiculous’

Alex Rodriguez YankeesMajor League Baseball made an unprecedented move on Monday when it suspended New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez for 211 games because of his alleged involvement with Biogenesis. A-Rod has never failed a non-survey drug test, and the penalty for first-time offenders is a 50-game suspension. The belief is that Rodriguez interfered with MLB’s investigation and is being penalized for more than just using performance-enhancing drug.

Naturally, the MLB Players Association is defending A-Rod and his right to appeal. During an interview with “The Dan Patrick Show” on Monday, MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner ripped Bud Selig in arguing in favor of Rodriguez.

“We feel what (Selig) did, frankly, was inappropriate and almost ridiculous,” Weiner said. “Look at the penalties that have been (given) out and cases that have been decided by the commissioner’s officer along with the Players Association. Nothing comes close to 211 games.”

Again, the belief is that no other player’s involvement with Biogenesis ran as deep as A-Rod’s. No other player has — to our knowledge — been accused of destroying evidence. In addition, there has also been speculation that Rodriguez led other players to Tony Bosch’s clinic. Weiner said both sides tried to work out an agreement but were unsuccessful in doing so.

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Why MLB suspended Alex Rodriguez 211 games

Alex Rodriguez YankeesMajor League Baseball acted outside the scope of the league’s drug policy when it suspended Alex Rodriguez 211 games. The league’s drug policy calls for a 50-game suspension for a first violation of the policy; 100-game suspension for the second; and a lifetime ban for a third violation. Rodriguez never failed a drug test, so how did MLB get off suspending the New York Yankees third baseman for the rest of this season and the entire 2014 season? That is what A-Rod is wondering, and why he, with the backing from the players’ union, is appealing the suspension.

In his statement, MLB commissioner Bud Selig explained why Rodriguez was suspended.

The penalty was for “[Rodriguez's] use and possession of numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone over the course of multiple years.”

MLB struck a deal with Biogenesis founder Tony Bosch, who provided evidence to them of A-Rod’s use of PEDs. According to ESPN’s T.J. Quinn, Bosch provided MLB with text messages, emails, phone records, other records to show that A-Rod doped since at least 2009. Bosch told MLB what drugs Rodriguez took, when he took them, how often, and where.

50 or even 100 of the 211 games could have been for single or double violations of the league’s drug policy, depending on how MLB evaluated things. But they suspended Rodriguez for much more than that.

In addition to the penalty for violating the drug policy, MLB is suspending A-Rod for a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the owners and players’ association.

Selig’s statement said Rodriguez’s penalty for violating the labor agreement was “for attempting to cover up his violations of the program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the office of the commissioner’s investigation.”

MLB has evidence that Rodriguez obstructed the case.

It’s unclear if MLB believes punishing A-Rod for his attempted coverup is a violation of the best interest of the game clause in the CBA. Here’s what that specific clause (Article XII B of the Basic Agreement) states:

“Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law.”

It’s unlikely that Rodriguez is objecting to the evidence the league has against him concerning PED use. MLB’s evidence must be accurate, otherwise Ryan Braun, Nelson Cruz, and the dozen other players would not have accepted their punishments without an appeal. Rodriguez and his lawyers will likely attack the extra 100 games or so MLB tacked onto the suspension for a violation of the CBA. That number was arbitrarily determined by Selig and seems like it might not hold up in an arbitration case.

Gio Gonzalez, Danny Valencia cleared in Biogenesis suspensions

Gio Gonzalez NatsWashington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez and Baltimore Orioles infielder Danny Valencia were the only players who were cleared by MLB despite appearing in Biogenesis’ records.

From the start, Gonzalez had a strong explanation for appearing in the records. According to the Miami New Times, Gonzalez’s name appeared in the charts five times. Gonzalez’s father’s name also appears in conjunction with the pitcher’s. Gonzalez’s father, Max, claims he went to Bosch for weight loss and that his son was never involved.

Here’s what the New Times said in their original article:

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Rick Sutcliffe thinks Alex Rodriguez has cheated his whole career

Alex RodriguezWhen Alex Rodriguez was busted in 2009 by Sports Illustrated for using steroids, the New York Yankees third baseman finally admitted to using PEDs. In his admission, Rodriguez made a point to say he only used the illegal substances from 2001-2003 while he was a member of the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez’s involvement with Biogenesis suggests he has used PEDs at least twice in his career. Former Cy Young Award winner Rick Sutcliffe thinks A-Rod has been using PEDs a lot longer than that.

Speaking on ESPN Monday, Sutcliffe said he thinks Rodriguez has been cheating his entire career.

“I don’t ever need to see Alex Rodriguez play again,” Sutcliffe said in response to Rodriguez’s suspension. “I agree with Curt (Schilling). I don’t think there’s anything about [A-Rod's] career that you can believe. I believe he cheated from the very beginning.”

Sutcliffe’s thoughts also echoed a changing sentiment among former and current players regarding PEDs.

“This is one of the first times in my life where I have felt like I am glad I didn’t do anything as far as steroids are concerned,” said Sutcliffe. “We all had that option, it was available, it was around. But we also knew that it was illegal, particularly to begin with by law.

“For the longest part of my life I have wondered: did I do the right thing? There really has not been any harsh punishment. The reward certainly in the past have always outweighed the risk. I wasn’t willing to take that risk.”

Sutcliffe also said he feels like punishments are getting to the point where they’re deterring players from using, which is helping to clean up the game.

Rodriguez wanted people to believe that he only cheated from 2001-2003. Now he has been caught up with Biogenesis, so that’s at least two periods during his career when he used. Also recall that Jose Canseco said he thought Rodriguez was juicing since high school.

A-Rod is losing all benefit of the doubt in the matter. Fewer and fewer people are believing his accomplishments were done cleanly. I don’t trust any of Rodriguez’s accomplishments achieved since at least 2000.

Alex Rodriguez reportedly negotiating settlement for suspension

Alex Rodriguez YankeesMajor League Baseball has been playing hardball with Alex Rodriguez since they began investigating his alleged involvement with Biogenesis, and it is slowly starting to look like the league will get its way. Rodriguez’s lawyers have been adamant throughout the entire process that A-Rod will appeal any suspension he is given, but could they be softening their stance?

On Wednesday night, ESPNNewYork.com’s reported that a source told “Outside the Lines” that Rodriguez’s representatives are negotiating a settlement with league officials — something most of the other players involved with Biogenesis are doing or have done.

The report comes on the heels of speculation that Major League Baseball will look to ban A-Rod for life if he does not agree to serve a lengthy suspension. The league clearly wants to do everything in its power to prevent Rodriguez from appealing. If he does, he would be able to play for the New York Yankees this season.

MLB reportedly presented its evidence to Rodriguez earlier this week. All indications have been that the information the league has compiled against him is more compelling that the dirt they had on Braun, including proof that A-Rod intentionally interfered with the investigation and tried to destroy documents. For that reason, Bud Selig and company are looking to come down on him much harder than the 50-game suspensions other “first-time offenders” are expected to receive.

Earlier this week, we shared a report with you about MLB seeking to suspend A-Rod for the remainder of the 2013 season and all of 2014. It sounds like Rodriguez’s attorneys are now leaning toward accepting that punishment rather than having to deal with fighting a lifetime ban from baseball.

A-Rod may never be an effective player again if he is out until 2015, but he can still collect some of the salary New York owes him. That may be all that matters at this point, as his reputation is already destroyed.

MLB will reportedly ban Alex Rodriguez for life if he does not agree to deal

Alex Rodriguez YankeesAs we await Major League Baseball’s inevitable announcement regarding Biogenesis suspensions, the phrase “lifetime ban” continues to fly around in connection with New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. The issue appears to be A-Rod’s unwillingness to agree to a suspension deal similar to the one Ryan Braun accepted last week.

According to Hardball Talk, Major League Baseball will suspend Rodriguez for life if the two sides cannot reach a settlement. A-Rod would in all likelihood appeal a lifetime ban from baseball and it is possible he could win –sort of. The 38-year-old admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs while playing for the Texas Rangers roughly a decade ago, but there were no set penalties at the time for violations. Because of that, he is technically considered a first-time offender.

Hardball Talk reported that the league believes if it suspends A-Rod for life, he will end up having to serve at least a 150-game ban even if the penalty is reduced following an appeal. In fact, Bud Selig and company feel that they evidence they have compiled against Rodriguez is compelling enough that they are not willing to agree to a 100-game suspension, believing that would be too light.

[Related: Bud Selig reportedly ready to 'throw the book' at A-Rod]

In addition to having his name associated with several drugs from Tony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic, MLB has been investigating whether or not A-Rod led others to the clinic and attempted to destroy evidence. That would, in theory, justify a heftier suspension. Rodriguez and his attorneys have disputed those claims, but Hardball Talk’s source says the slugger is “in for a world of hurt” either way.

To make a long story short, MLB is trying to strong-arm Rodriguez into accepting a lengthy suspension that could in effect end his career, and serving it immediately. Since it appears he is unwilling to do that, the league is seeking the most severe form of punishment in hopes that even an appeal would result in something extremely harsh.

Alex Rodriguez reportedly will not accept 50-game suspension like other players

Joel-Sherman-Wants-Us-to-Leave-Alex-Rodriguez-AloneMore than a dozen players are still expected to be suspended for their involvement with Tony Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic, including Alex Rodriguez. Most of the players will like be handed 50-game suspensions as first-time offenders. However, A-Rod may be prepared to fight ’till the finish.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports, several players are expected to accept their punishment within the next 72 hours. Despite the fact that it is believed MLB investigators have far more evidence against Rodriguez than they had against Braun and other players, A-Rod is expected to appeal the decision so he can play for the New York Yankees this season.

Earlier on Tuesday, a report surfaced indicating MLB commissioner Bud Selig could try to ban A-Rod from baseball for life by invoking a clause in the collective bargaining agreement which would allow him to personally hear any appeal that Rodriguez might file. Passan referred to that threat as a “game of chicken,” with MLB hoping A-Rod decides to accept his punishment like other players plan to.

While first-time PED offenders are supposed to receive a 50-game suspension, the league is able to pursue longer suspensions for players like Rodriguez who allegedly interfered with their investigation and may have even lied. According to Passan, Selig’s supposed idea of trying to block A-Rod from an appeal has irritated the MLB Players Association. The MLBPA has cooperated with the league’s pursuit of suspensions, and Selig could start a major feud by pulling the “integrity of the game” card.

Why would Rodriguez want to file an appeal that he is almost certain to lose? One theory is that he could be looking to return to the Yankees, then claim he is unable to continue his career because of lingering injuries. That would give him a shot at collecting the roughly $100 he has remaining on his contract before a suspension ever becomes official. At this point, the only outcome that would be surprising is if A-Rod’s name was mysteriously dropped from the discussion.