|A-Rod has lost the battle, but will continue to fight the war.|
After speculation that Alex Rodriguez might be willing to accept a 100 game suspension and avoid court, arbiter Fred Horowitz decided that A-Rod should serve a 162 game suspension. In essence, it means Major League Baseball scored a major victory since the number of games the suspension was reduced by was the 49 games A-Rod would have sat out in the 2013 season.
A-Rod made the following statement on his Facebook page:
“The number of games sadly comes as no surprise, as the deck has been stacked against me from day one. This is one man’s decision, that was not put before a fair and impartial jury, does not involve me having failed a single drug test, is at odds with the facts and is inconsistent with the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement and the Basic Agreement, and relies on testimony and documents that would never have been allowed in any court in the United States because they are false and wholly unreliable. This injustice is MLB’s first step toward abolishing guaranteed contracts in the 2016 bargaining round, instituting lifetime bans for single violations of drug policy, and further insulating its corrupt investigative program from any variety defense by accused players, or any variety of objective review.
I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court. I am confident that when a Federal Judge reviews the entirety of the record, the hearsay testimony of a criminal whose own records demonstrate that he dealt drugs to minors, and the lack of credible evidence put forth by MLB, that the judge will find that the panel blatantly disregarded the law and facts, and will overturn the suspension. No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.
I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship. I want to sincerely thank my family, all of my friends, and of course the fans and many of my fellow MLB players for the incredible support I received throughout this entire ordeal."
Despite the announcement, A-Rod is not going down without a fight as he mentioned in his statement. He's basically decided the cost of lawyers, filing motions, etc. is worth it, despite the fact it could cost him more than the $25MM he is set to earn in 2014. The NY Post's Joel Sherman also tweeted that the suspension would included any 2014 post-season as well.
The Yankees now have the possibility of staying under the $189MM luxury tax threshold even if they sign Masahiro Tanaka. It will all depend, of course, whether A-Rod is able to skirt the suspension for now.