It appeared that Alex Rodriguez was ready to make his 2013 MLB season debut on Monday. Now, a setback in his rehab and performance-enhancing drug allegations could keep the New York Yankees third baseman out for the rest of the year, and beyond.
Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun has been suspended for 65 games because of his ties to the Biogenesis lab, which allegedly gave PEDs to numerous professional baseball players. A statement by MLB says Braun will miss the rest of the season due to "violations of the Basic Agreement and its Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program." After Braun was hit with the punishment, speculation began to circulate that A-Rod could be hit with an even bigger suspension.
Rodriguez has been tied to the lab and MLB is expected to hand him a severe punishment. Like Braun, he's been caught using PEDs in the past. A source tells Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports that Rodriguez may get more than the 65 games that Braun received. According to the New York Daily News, MLB could announce suspensions for other players connected to Anthony Bosch and the lab, soon after the trade deadline.
Even though questions remain about how effective Rodriguez will be coming off hip surgery, the team could benefit greatly from the return of the 14-time All-Star. The Yankees have struggled on offense, ranking 25th in the majors in batting average and 28th in slugging percentage. Since the Yankees need so much help and might not get A-Rod back in 2013, they’re looking to make a trade by July 31.
As first reported by George King of the New York Post, New York is in discussions with the Chicago Cubs about acquiring Alfonso Soriano. The 37-year-old is owed $18 million next season and the rest of his $18 million salary for this year. He has 17 home runs and 51 RBI, which would put him at second on the Yankees in both categories. With Vernon Wells failing to duplicate his April success and Curtis Granderson still injured, Soriano would become the team’s top outfielder.
According to King, the Cubs would pay most of Soriano’s remaining salary. The Yankees are trying their best to keep their 2014 payroll under $189 million, and might not pull the trigger on a deal if they were forced to overpay Soriano.
The Yankees could deal with Rodriguez’s injury and impending suspension by acquiring the player that they initially traded to land Rodriguez. In 2004, New York sent Soriano to the Texas Rangers for Rodriguez in a blockbuster deal.
Trading for Soriano may not help replace Rodriguez’s production for just this year, but next season as well. With a possible long suspension, there are rumors that A-Rod will look to retire, blaming his inability to play on his injured hip. If Rodriguez could pull this off, which the New York Daily News reported about in late June, he would be paid the remainder of his contract by the insurance firm Team Scotti.
For now, Rodriguez will stay on the disabled list because of a Grade 1 quad strain. The same injury put Derek Jeter back on the DL after his one-day return.