Alex Rodriguez will not be playing baseball anytime this year. MLB arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz has ruled that the New York Yankees star be suspended for the entire 2014 professional baseball season. According to Yahoo! Sports and several other media outlets, an independent arbitration ruling was declared this morning.
The ruling is due to Rodriguez's violation of MLB rules and regulations prohibiting the use and acquisition of performance-enhancing drugs. The suspension entails that Rodriguez will miss a total of 162 games plus any postseason games, which equates to a salary loss of approximately $25 million.
There is still the possibility that Rodriguez could appeal the decision through a federal injunction. If an injunction is granted, Rodriguez could still play while the case is evaluated.
As one of the most lauded players in major league baseball, Rodriguez has impeccable overall career statistics. Over his 20-year professional baseball tenure, the 3-time MLB MVP is No. 5 on the 'All-Time Home Runs' list, succeeding baseball legends like Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Willie Mays.
Rodriguez is also considered the highest paid professional baseball player in MLB history two largest contracts in major-league history. Both contracts come to a sum of approximately $527M.
MLB officials have stated that the investigation on Rodriguez revealed his "use of banned PEDs was longer and more pervasive than any other player."
For these particular reasons, Rodriguez's penalty is far greater than that which would be imposed on most first-time offenders of the MLB Joint Drug Program.
Rodriguez's representative Ron Berkowitz released a lengthy official statement, confirming the league's decision this morning.
"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."
Rodriguez will be eligible to return to the league for the 2015 season. During the suspension, he is also not allowed to play overseas in Japan or Korea, as he is locked into an exclusive contract with the New York Yankees through the 2017 season.