Alex Rodriguez was one of several major-leaguers linked to a Miami PED distributor in a report today by the Miami New Times. At least so far, he’s the only player whose team is attempting to void his contract as a result.
The Yankees are exploring multiple avenues to void their contract with Alex Rodriguez, several baseball sources told ESPNNewYork.com’s Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand.
The three-time American League MVP is owed $114MM over the next five seasons. An industry source says the Yankees “are looking at about 20 different things,” including whether A-Rod breached the contract by taking medical treatment from an outside doctor without the team’s authorization, and the possibility that he may have broken the law by purchasing controlled substances from the clinic.
If the Yankees do take action to 86 the remainder of the third baseman’s deal, they can’t do anything until the MLB investigation is concluded, according to a source. For his part, Rodriguez has issued a statement denying the allegations.
If his contract is voided, could Rodriguez find his way to Chavez Ravine?
First, that’s a big “if.”
According to Forbes.com,
It can easily be argued that the illegal usage of performance enhancing drugs may be construed as a failure to “keep himself in first-class physical condition” as well as a blatant violation to “conform to high standards of personal conduct”. Presuming that the Yankees can prove that Rodriguez misrepresented himself for not only failing to admit his usage of PEDs with the Rangers, but than subsequently lying that he never used them again with their organization, they may be able to at the very least shift the remainder of Rodriguez’s salary to a non-guaranteed deal.
Of course, from a legal prospective, unless the MLB and Yankees can come up with hard evidence of his usage of the drugs, the MLBPA will offer significant protection to Rodriguez. Because all grievances that stem from drug-related cases must be handled under the collective bargaining agreement, unlike in a regular breach of contract suit, the employer can not simply single out individualized clauses in the employee agreement as a bonafide legal argument to get out of the contract.
There are almost too many variables at play here – whether it can be proved that Rodriguez used performance-enhancing drugs, whether PED use violates a breach of his contract, whether the Dodgers (or any team) would still want a 37-year-old on the downside of his career after those first two conditions are met, and whether the Dodgers feel like Rodriguez would make a good fit in their lineup and clubhouse full of stars.
Oh, and it could be truthful when Rodriguez’s spokesman says, “the news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch are not true. Alex Rodriguez was not Mr. Bosch’s patient, he was never treated by him and he was never advised by him. The purported documents referenced in the story – at least as they relate to Alex Rodriguez – are not legitimate.” Let’s not forget that.
With all that in mind … the Dodgers have the money to win a bidding war if Rodriguez should suddenly become a free agent. They also have a small question mark at third base, at least in the eyes of manager Don Mattingly. And they would have the option of moving Rodriguez to shortstop and Hanley Ramirez to third base – maybe not a good option in terms of defense, but it would exist.
That’s the extent of the legitimacy of this rumor. For now it’s a case of wait-and-see, and it’s far too early to say that Rodriguez is going anywhere.