NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — On Saturday morning, WFAN host Mike Francesa broke into Evan Roberts’ show to discuss the latest twist in the Alex Rodriguez saga.
Francesa had much to say in the minutes before the Yankees third baseman’s 211-game suspension was knocked down to 162 games plus a postseason ban by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.
“A-Rod is gonna to get 162 games at noon,” Francesa said. “I think that would mean they would go right to court. I don’t think he will accept it by any stretch of the imagination. I haven’t spoken to anybody yet. I just heard this was coming down.”
Francesa expects A-Rod and his legal team to continue fighting the suspension to the bitter end.
“You knew he wasn’t going to buck Selig,” Francesa said. “I figured it would be 100 or 162 — one or the other. It’s 162, and you’ll just have to wait. I’m sure they’ll put out a statement very soon, stating that they’re going to court — is what I would expect.”
Roberts asked Francesa if A-Rod would be able to show up to spring training.
“No,” Francesa said. “I think as far as baseball is concerned — he’s suspended. The only way he gets back on the field is — he goes with the premise that it was a set-up from the beginning, Selig had this orchestrated, it wasn’t a fair hearing, the guy works for Selig… it was a sham from the beginning, that’s why we walked out. Then he asks for the courts to hear his evidence and hear his case.”
According to Francesa, A-Rod must prove damages in court to play in 2014.
“To keep the status quo, which would mean him playing — he would have to get an injunction in court. A lot of people feel he won’t get one,” Francesa said. “You can get lawyers to now debate this — whether he’ll get one or not. The only way he gets back on the field now is if he goes to court and gets an injunction that allows him to play.”
Francesa said he believes the process could be dragged out in the courts.
“This could take two years to hear the case in court,” Francesa said. “Who knows? You know how courts move. They take months and months before they do anything.”
A-Rod has vowed to challenge the decision.
“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,” Rodriguez said. “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.”
The Major League Baseball Players Association also disagreed with the ruling.
“We recognize that a final and binding decision has been reached, however, and we respect the collectively-bargained arbitration process which led to the decision,” the players’ union said in a statement. “In accordance with the confidentiality provisions of the JDA, the Association will make no further comment regarding the decision.”
Meanwhile, the Yankees responded to the ruling via an official statement:
“The New York Yankees respect Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the arbitration process, as well as the decision released today by the arbitration panel.”
Rodriguez, 38, has has four years remaining on his contract.
The Yankees stand to benefit greatly from the ruling, which could possibly allow them to get under the $189 million salary tax threshold for 2014. If the Yankees do so, they will slice their luxury tax percentage from 50 to 17 percent.
Barring a reversal in federal court, the Yankees would save a large chunk of change. Rodriguez was scheduled to earn $25 million in base salary plus potentially $6 million bonuses based on him passing home run landmarks.
However, according to Horowitz’s ruling, A-Rod is still entitled to roughly 11.5 percent of his $25 million 2014 salary. According to the AP, a person familiar with the decision said A-Rod is still due $2,868,852.46.
“I will continue to work hard to get back on the field and help the Yankees achieve the ultimate goal of winning another championship,” A-Rod said. “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.”
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