NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Alex Rodriguez and the Yankees may know the score in a little more than a week.
According to a report in The Record, the Major League Baseball arbitrator reviewing A-Rod’s 211-game suspension for his alleged role in the Biogenesis scandal could issue his ruling early next month, possibly right after New Year’s.
Frederic Horowitz can uphold, overturn or reduce the suspension. Rodriguez was effectively given the 50-game ban for first-time PED offenders and an additional 161 games for allegedly interfering with the investigation, The Record reported.
This saga has dragged on for months, with Rodriguez at one point walking out of his hearing and declaring himself done with the whole process of trying to clear his name. A-Rod has since filed a lawsuit against MLB and is reportedly in the middle of negotiating a deal for a tell-all book.
The Yankees have waited patiently for the scenario to play itself out. If most or all of Rodriguez’s suspension is upheld and he serves a minimum of 162 games, the Bombers will be relieved of his $27.5 million salary and a possible $6 million in bonuses for 2014, a number that directly impacts their desire to get below the $189 million luxury tax threshold for next season. According to an Associated Press report, the Yankees have already spent just a shade more than $177 million for next season, but have yet to address three more areas of need — starting pitcher, third base (should A-Rod be suspended) and the bullpen.
At this point it is believed the Yankees are weighing their options for another starting pitcher since right-hander Masahiro Tanaka apparently won’t be posted by his Japanese club, the Rakuten Golden Eagles, this season. The Bombers are also reportedly interested in closer Grant Balfour, whose two-year deal with Baltimore hit a snag late last week, and possibly infielder Stephen Drew, who if signed would easily slot in to replace Rodriguez.
But to do all of these things and get in under $189 million the Yankees will likely need a favorable decision on Rodriguez.
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