Via Bob Nightengale this evening –
Commissioner Bud Selig is prepared to levy a lifetime suspension on New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, while suspending about eight others before the weekend, two people with knowledge of the negotiations told USA TODAY Sports.
The people were unauthorized to speak publicly because no announcement is expected until Thursday or Friday.
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“I hope he does it,” former Commissioner Fay Vincent told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s right for baseball. The harder he comes down, the better it is for baseball.”
Rodriguez, according to his attorney, David Cornwell, will appeal any suspension, regardless of the severity. The other players are expected to receive 50-game bans, and most are considering accepting the discipline without appealing, according to one of the people.
In banning Rodriguez for life Selig could invoke Article XII (B) of the CBA, which states:
“Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball, including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law.”
MLB will contend that, in addition to lying about performance-enhancing drug use, Rodriguez lied to MLB officials while attempting to sabotage their investigation, according to one of the people.
When asked if MLB is planning to impose a lifetime ban on Rodriguez, union executive director Michael Weiner said in an email: “I can neither confirm nor deny.”
An appeal would be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz and would likely not occur until September. Should MLB suspend Rodriguez under the CBA, he would be ineligible to play until Horowitz’s decision.
The most recent example of Article XII (B) being used came when Selig suspended Atlanta Braves closer John Rocker in 2000 for 28 days and fined him $20,000 for inflammatory comments made to Sports Illustrated. The sentence was reduced to 14 days by arbitrator Shyam Das.
“I think that given the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” Vincent said, “he has room to use the best-interest clause in the CBA if there are criminal acts. And I think the courts are very protective of commissioners using the best-interest clause.”
Mike Francesa is on vacation this week, right? Who is A-Rod going to call now?
Seriously, raise your hand if you once said that baseball would never try (and succeed?) in banning A-Rod for life…he says, with his hands held firmly at his side.
Clearly, baseball wants A-Rod out…and, for good. Move over Pete Rose, you’ve got company coming. And, way to go Alex. Not even Barry Bonds managed to get himself banned. You’re one up on him now.