From Bob Klapisch today -
Say goodbye to Alex Rodriguez and whatever good memories you have of this disgraced slugger, assuming there are any left to conjure. A-Rod has been linked (again) to performance-enhancing drugs, as recently as last season, putting the finishing touches on his now-utterly trashed legacy — baseball’s all-time fraud.
This is our hunch about Rodriguez’s career: It’s over, and not just because of the severity of his recent hip surgery. Rodriguez knows his reputation has been shredded — no one believes his denials, especially the Bombers. Their lawyers are already crawling all over the language of Rodriguez’s contract, looking for ways to void that absurd $275 million investment, of which he’s still owed $114 million.
That would be reason enough to send A-Rod into hiding, but there’s an even more compelling reason to write him off now. It’s the psychological dependency on PEDs — he’s been hooked all along and was too weak to ever stop. Rodriguez may look like a bruiser, but don’t be fooled. He’s nothing without his syringes and pills and creams. He can’t compete without them.
There’s no way out — the relationship with the Yankees and their fans is too toxic. Rodriguez was reportedly dumb enough to keep breaking the rules, but he’s savvy enough to know he’s used up the last of his equity. Just wait and see, A-Rod will find a doctor to say he’s medically unable to keep playing, like Albert Belle, whose own career ended in 2000 because of hip problems. This convenient detour will allow A-Rod to pocket the rest of his money and give the Yankees 85 percent reimbursement from their insurers.
Dishonest or not, it would be the ultimate face-saver, and don’t think for a minute Yankee elders aren’t praying for this very road map. They’ve cursed themselves a hundred times over for that crazy contract, the one general manager Brian Cashman tried to block. Now, finally, there’s a way out.
Will ownership try to void the deal in the meantime? They’re already dreaming about it. But the process will be long and meticulous; it’s the commissioner’s office, not the Yankees, who’ll be investigating. The feds are involved, too, according to one person familiar with the day’s developments. The Drug Enforcement Agency is sniffing around Biogenesis of America, the Coral Gables, Fla., anti-aging clinic that, according to the Miami New Times, was more like a drug factory for athletes — an East Coast BALCO. A-Rod was listed among its clientele. The government will eventually learn if the published claims are verifiable, whether A-Rod was trafficking in controlled or illegal substances.
That would mean an immediate 50-game suspension per MLB’s drug policy, which could be actionable by the Yankees. So could proof that Rodriguez was being treated by a non-team physician without management’s knowledge or consent. That would be a loophole the Steinbrenner family would gladly blast right open.
Has there ever been a player with a baseball resume like Alex Rodriguez who was run out of the game as an active player by shame? Maybe Joe Jackson…but, he didn’t quit out of shame…the commish banned him.