Alex Rodriguez, the beleaguered New York Yankees third basemen who spent much of the 2012 season on the sidelines with a hip injury and who reportedly may miss the entire 2013 campaign, has been named on yet another list of sports figures who allegedly visited a clinic that purportedly provided performance enhancing drugs.
The latest accusations stem from a feature piece in The Miami New Times, which claims that documents obtained by the source name Rodriguez 16 times, identifying him as a patient of the Biogenesis of America wellness clinic. That anti-aging facility, which closed in December, allegedly sold performance enhancing drugs to prominent sports stars, including A-Rod, Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera.
The story is just the latest in a twisting road of accounts that tie A-Rod to PED use. In 2009, Sports Illustrated reported that Rodriguez was one of 109 MLB players whose name appeared on a government list of confirmed PED users. A-Rod admitted to using steroids between 2001 and 2003 in an interview with Katie Couric, but the player denied ever using PEDs after that and today sought legal support to fight these most recent allegations.
The consequences could be severe – sources told ESPNNewYork.com that the Yankees may try to get out from under the rest of Rodriguez’s massive contract – they owe him $114 million over the next five years – if Major League Baseball moves to discipline him. That just might happen – USA Today reports that a suspension is possible pending an MLB investigation.
A-Rod has never been suspended, so a first-time offense would result in 50 games.
The damage to Rodriguez’s reputation could be even more significant. Once considered an obvious candidate for any “Best Player of All Time” discussions, A-Rod’s legacy has arguably been tarnished since signing with the Yankees.
He’s been knocked for his attitude, his off-the-field antics – including allegations that he participated in illegal underground poker games rife with open drug abuse - and, of course, his lack of recent on-field production.
These latest accusation strengthen his ties to performance-enhancing drugs, further calling into question a career of remarkable accomplishments. The fact that the Yankees already seem to be preparing for life post-Rodriguez – they also signed former Red Sox and White Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis this offseason, purportedly as a temporary replacement but possibly for much more – pours salt into the wound.
If the Yankees are ultimately allowed to cut Rodriguez, he could stand to lose much more than $114 million. At his age and considering his level of recent production, injury history, and the possibility of missed playing time, the likelihood that another MLB club signs A-Rod on any more than a speculative deal is not high.
His best option may be to receive the Manny Ramirez treatment – another former all-timer whose declining skills and radioactive baggage prevented him from receiving any more than a minor league deal with the Oakland Athletics last year around this time.
On top of that, the most recent Baseball Hall of Fame voting – where icons like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were denied entry – shows that baseball’s writers are prepared to speak with their votes when it comes to suspected PED users.
Ultimately, these latest allegations further cloud A-Rod’s present and future prospects in baseball, adding him to a list of all-time greats who ultimately fell short of their lofty billing.
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