After reportedly considering a lifetime ban and then cutting off negotiations on a possible plea bargain, Major League Baseball is poised to suspend Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez at least through the end of the 2014 season, according to published reports.
An announcement is expected Monday. Rodriguez will then file an appeal that will allow him to play against the White Sox tonight at U.S. Cellular Field. USA Today, citing "two people with direct knowledge of the situation" as sources, said that a total of 10 players will be disciplined for ties to the now-defunct Biogenesis anti-aging clinic.
The appeal would be heard by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in the next three weeks, but there is no prescribed timetable for Horowitz to hand down his decision.
Rodriguez will be the only one suspended beyond the remainder of this season, according to USA Today. There have been multiple reports that MLB believes he deserves a harsher penalty, and has the evidence to demonstrate that he not only acquired performance-enhancing substances from Biogenesis but pointed other Major Leaguers toward the clinic and then obstructed its investigation into the matter.
Rodriguez is reportedly the only player who has not accepted his suspension. The other players expected to be suspended, each for 50 games, are Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera, Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Mariners catcher Jesus Montero, Mets Minor League outfielder Cesar Puello, Yankees Minor League outfielder Fernando Martinez and free-agent relievers Fautino De Los Santos and Jordan Norberto. Additional reports surfaced on Monday indicating that Phillies lefty Antonio Bastardo, Mets infielder Jordany Valdespin and Astros reliever Sergio Escalona will also be suspended.
"I haven't decided what I'm going to do about anything," Cruz said before Sunday's game against the Athletics.
"It's not just about myself, it's also about the team," Cruz said. "I don't know what will happen, but it's supposed to happen tomorrow."
Star Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun has already agreed to a 65-game suspension that ended his year. MLB had hoped to reach agreements with all involved players to help put Biogenesis behind the sport.
The sources also said MLB officials have informed Rodriguez's attorneys and the Major League Baseball Players Association of the decision to suspend the players and told Rodriguez a settlement is no longer on the table.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters Sunday he tentatively plans to start Rodriguez at third base Monday. Rodriguez was scheduled to take a flight Sunday night to Chicago to meet his teammates after playing in two rehab games over the weekend for the Double-A Trenton Thunder.
"I think all of us are curious what's going to happen, and is Alex going to be a player for us tomorrow, and what's going to happen with the other guys that are involved in this. Because in my mind I have him penciled in here tomorrow," Girardi said. "It hasn't really occupied my mind like maybe some other things have. I think all of us have known that possibly something could be coming for a lot of different players.
"I don't suspect it'll be awkward. Most of the guys know him as a teammate and have laughed a lot with Alex and been around Alex a lot. I think it'll be business as usual. I'm sure there will be more media there obviously tomorrow, but I think that's more for Alex to deal with than the rest of the guys. I don't think it'll be a big deal."
If Rodriguez, 38, does sit out until the end of the 2014 season, he'll still be able to collect his salary for 2015, 2016 and 2017. He created a stir after playing for the Thunder on Friday night by hinting that MLB and the Yankees were trying to find a way from keeping him from being paid the remaining $96 million of his $275 million contract. The last three years of that deal are worth $60 million.
It was after those comments that reports surfaced that his representatives reportedly reached out to MLB to talk about a settlement, but were rebuffed. Michael Weiner, executive director of the Players Association, told USA Today Sports he could not confirm or deny that settlement talks have been halted with Rodriguez.