Major League Baseball reportedly has told the Players Association that it intends to suspend Alex Rodriguez and eight other players this week for acquiring performance-enhancing drugs from the Biogenesis clinic in Miami.
Meanwhile, a report Wednesday night said that Rodriguez's representatives, one of whom previously has stated that the Yankees third baseman would challenge any penalties, are negotiating a settlement.
The New York Daily News was the first to report about Tuesday's meeting between MLB and the union. The Associated Press, citing two sources familiar with the talks, reported that MLB told the union which players it intends to suspend and which ones will receive lengthier penalties, and that attempts to reach agreements with the players to avoid grievance hearings could push back an announcement until Friday.
MLB officials have not commented on or confirmed the reports.
Players linked to the now-shuttered clinic include Rodriguez, a three-time Most Valuable Player who is expected to receive the longest suspension, along with Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera.
Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli and Mariners catcher Jesus Montero also have been linked. According to the reports, because Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera, A's pitcher Bartolo Colon and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal will not be disciplined because they already have served suspensions for their violations related to the clinic and its former boss, Anthony Bosch. All three were suspended for positive PED tests last year.
Rodriguez, the Daily News reported, will face stiffer penalties "for lying to MLB investigators or interfering with baseball's year-long Biogenesis investigation."
Rodriguez's attorney, David Cornwell, has said his client would fight any discipline, but a source familiar with discussions told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" on Wednesday that there are ongoing negotiations over a possible settlement, though that still could result in a lengthy suspension.
ESPN's source said that MLB officials have told Rodriguez's attorneys that they are prepared to ban him for life, though sources added that it wasn't known whether Commissioner Bud Selig was prepared to take such action. If such a suspension were handed down, Rodriguez could take the case to arbitration.
Some other players linked to the clinic might not be disciplined because investigators could not find enough evidence to warrant penalties.
Representatives for the other players implicated will inform MLB officials whether they will challenge their punishments, as well. All are expected to accept 50-game suspensions without appeal, ESPN reported.
Should Rodriguez appeal a suspension, presumably to protect his contract with the Yankees, the Daily News says Selig is prepared to invoke his right to suspend a player to protect the integrity of the game, thereby bypassing the Joint Drug Agreement.
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun, the 2011 National League MVP, reached an agreement last week to accept a season-ending suspension, which will amount to 65 games. Braun tested positive for elevated testosterone in October 2011, but a 50-game suspension was overturned by an arbitrator who ruled Braun's urine sample was handled improperly.