Former Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Fay Vincent is not privy to the details of the sport’s latest doping case, but he has a feeling Alex Rodriguez could be in for some harsh treatment.
Vincent abhors doping cheats and what they are doing to sports in general and believes his successor, current MLB commissioner Bud Selig, may decide to make an example of the famed New York Yankees slugger, known as A-Rod.
Rodriguez, the league’s active home run leader and highest-paid player, has been implicated in the same performance-enhancing drugs scandal that resulted in former National League MVP Ryan Braun being suspended on Monday for the rest of the season.
Braun did not challenge the case made against him by MLB investigators and accepted a 65-game ban, plus any potential playoff games, in baseball’s version of a plea deal.
“Seems to me A-Rod is trying to make a deal like Braun. I think he’s trying to make a good deal. I don’t think a good deal is doable,” Vincent, 75, told Reuters in a telephone interview on Tuesday. “My guess is he’s going to be out for a very long period of time.”
Braun, who had a 50-game suspension for doping overturned on a technicality after his 2011 MVP season with Milwaukee, is the first of more than a dozen players linked to a Florida anti-aging clinic that distributed performance-enhancing drugs to be punished.
Rodriguez, who admitted before the 2009 season with the Yankees that he had used steroids earlier in his career, may have more evidence stacked against him than the MLB probe unearthed on Braun, according to various media reports.
“Bud may be asking himself: ‘Why do I ever let him back?’” Vincent said. “The interesting thing there is the Yankees won’t really squawk. There’s too much money at stake.”
Rodriguez, who turns 38 this month, is guaranteed about US$100 million on a deal that runs through 2017, with an additional US$30 million in a series of home run milestone bonuses if he reaches them.
“I can see a very, very tough result for A-Rod that may be cushioned a little bit by a deal on the money side, but I don’t see Bud giving A-Rod much of a deal,” Vincent said.
“I think he’s got to send a message that one of these days ‘I’m going to throw someone out for life and we’re not going to have this anymore.’ That would be a very popular move...” he added.