The fate of both the New York Yankees and much-maligned third baseman Alex Rodriguez is expected within the next few days according to industry sources. Arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, after hearing evidence and testimony from several key figures involved in the case against A-Rod, will determine whether to the 211-game suspension handed down by MLB Commissioner Bug Selig will stand, or whether that punishment was too harsh and adjust the suspension length accordingly. There has been some controversy as to whether the Yankees even want their third baseman back in the fold at all.
Rodriguez is due to make up to $30 million dollars in base salary and performance-enhanced bonuses when he reaches the 660 career home run milestone–tying all-time great Willie Mays. It is still undetermined whether the Bombers are looking to remain under the $189 million dollar payroll threshold that would reset their luxury tax percentage as early as next season. With several big name free agent deals, along with roster holes remaining, it is doubtful the Yankees will remain under the ceiling this season.
MLB Insider Jon Heyman reported this morning on Twitter that because of the impending Hall of Fame announcements, Horowitz most likely will not announce his decision before Friday, January 10th.
logically, no a-rod decision likely before or during hall of fame days. so next friday probably is the earliest. #arod
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) January 3, 2014
The Yankees would like to know sooner rather than later, because as it stands now, without A-Rod on the roster, they save at least $25 million in salary that won’t count against the team’s luxury tax, and still have holes to fill in both the starting rotation and the bullpen. While it was previously believed that free agent Mark Reynolds would return to the Bronx, he is most likely headed to another team rather than await the A-Rod decision. If the season were to begin today, free agent signing Kelly Johnson would slate in as the starter at third base, while former Baltimore Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts would take over for the departed Robinson Cano.
Rodriguez’s troubles came about when his name appeared on the client list of the now-defunct Biogenesis clinic in Florida. One of the star witnesses against Rodriguez was clinic founder Anthony Bosch. A-Rod would be the best fit at third base for the Yankees, he continues to bring a ton of off the field baggage that could be a distraction to a team that missed the postseason for only the second time since 1994 last season.