Alex Rodriguez is currently negotiating the length of his suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs and Major League Baseball is trying to end his career according to Bill Madden of the New York Daily News.
According to Madden, MLB wants Rodriguez to accept a suspension for the rest of this season and the entire 2014 season. A suspension of that length would likely end A-Rod’s career but still allow him to collect the $61 million the Yankees owe him for the 2015-17 seasons.
If Rodriguez refuses the deal, baseball will try to suspend Rodriguez for life and he would not be able to collect any of the $95 million he is still owed.
But if MLB does try to suspend A-Rod for life, there is a good chance it will completely blow up in its face.
First of all, a lifetime ban requires three violations and Rodriguez has no previous suspensions. And no matter how much evidence MLB has there is a big risk that an arbitrator will reduce or overturn the suspension without any previous violations.
That would be another crushing defeat in the fight on steroids considering how much effort baseball has put into punishing Rodriguez.
But more importantly, a lifetime ban takes the risk of making A-Rod a sympathetic figure in the eyes of baseball fans.
If Rodriguez can convince the fans that he just wants to play baseball and is being punished unjustly, it could end up being yet another public relations nightmare for Bud Selig, whose reign has included many.
There is pressure to save the Yankees some money and to punish A-Rod. But there has to be a limit in how far MLB is willing to go and a lifetime ban, if more than just a threat, is too far.
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