It looks like Alex Rodriguez will be warming the bench this coming April. Major League Baseball arbitrator Fredric Horowitz’s January 11th decision suspends A-Rod for the 2014 season. However, it seems like Rodriguez is not going down without a fight. He filed a lawsuit against the MLB on Monday.
Rodriguez was initially hit with an unprecedented 211-game suspension for his alleged involvement in the MLB biogenesis performance enhancing drug scandal and violation of the Joint Drug Agreement (“JDA”). The notorious third baseman appealed the suspension and was allowed to continue playing during the 2013 season. After weeks of arbitration hearings, including one in which A-Rod stormed out of, the final decision was handed down Saturday. The suspension was reduced 162 regular and any 2014 playoff games, but the penalty still represents the longest suspension in baseball history.
On Monday, January 13th, Rodriguez took a final swing and filed a lawsuit against the MLB Office of the Commissioner and the MLB Players Association. The lawsuit made the ruling by the arbitration panel public. Horowitz justified the panel’s decision stating that the “MLB has demonstrated with clear and convincing evidence there is just cause to suspend Rodriguez for the 2014 season and 2014 postseason” for having violated the JDA and the Basic Agreement, between the Major League Clubs and the Players Association.
This lawsuit may be Rodriguez’s last effort to do some damage control. If the suspension is upheld, the all-star stands to lose his $25 million 2014 salary and it could cast an even darker shadow over the 38-year-old’s rocky career.
In the lawsuit, A-Rod claims that the Players Association breached their duty of fair representation to Rodriguez by failing to respond to MLB’s alleged breach of the confidentiality provisions of the JDA. The lawsuit also claims Horowitz’s rulings on testimonial evidence prejudiced Rodriguez and “manifestly disregarded the law”. Specifically, the lawsuit cites (a) Horowitz’s denial of Rodriguez’s request to have a different arbitrator, (b) allowing Anthony Bosch to claim Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in refusing to answer questions during cross-examination, and (c) not ordering Bud Selig to testify.
Even though Rodriguez is looking for the courts to intervene, A-Rod won’t be swinging the bat in an MLB game in 2014, unless the judge overturns Horowitz’s decision. Judges rarely overturn arbitrator’s labor rulings in situations like this.
Do you think the arbitrator’s decision is fair?
Contributing editor: Jessica Cox