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Breaking down A-Rod situation

Answering questions about possible suspension of star

Caption
(AP)
Major League Baseball is expected to levy a penalty against Yankees star Alex Rodriguez for his relationship with the Biogenesis Clinic that distributed performance-enhancing drugs. If he fights the suspension, a lifetime ban could be the final result.

In question-and-answer form, a look at the issues and implications of Major League Baseball's possible suspension of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez:

Q: What penalties face Alex Rodriguez and why?

A: Rodriguez is among at least a dozen players MLB has been investigating since the Miami New Times published documents in January alleging links between major leaguers and Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs.

A-Rod faces up to a lifetime ban. He is accused of recruting other athletes to the clinic, obstructing MLB's investigation, and not being truthful with MLB about his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea.

Q: What will he be suspended for and why?

A: If he does not agree to a deal with MLB, he may be suspended first for violations of baseball's collective bargaining agreement,

MLB may use a provision in the Basic Agreement that states : "Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law."

Rodriguez could later be suspended for violating the Joint Drug Agreement.

Q: Why are suspensions for players linked to the Biogenesis investigation likely this week?

A: The penalty for a first positive test for steroids under the Joint Drug Agreement is a 50-game suspension, and that appears to be the likely discipline for several players MLB has targeted.

This is the last week a player could accept a 50-game suspension and serve it in time to return either for the postseason, if his team advances, or the start of the 2014 season.

Q: How likely is a lifetime ban for Rodriguez?

A: If Rodriguez agrees to accept a suspension and doesn't ask the players' association to file a grievance challenging the penalty, the suspension likely would be for a year or 2.

If MLB announces a penalty unilaterally, it could be a lifetime ban, but an arbitrator could reduce it after a hearing.

When Commissioner Fay Vincent suspended Yankees pitcher Steve Howe for life in 1992, after his seventh suspension for drugs or alcohol, arbitrator George Nicolau reduced the penalty to 119 days.

Q: How did this happen to Rodriguez?

A: MLB has been investigating the three-time AL MVP over various periods since February 2009, when he acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03.

Rodriguez has denied using them since. He met with baseball investigators in March 2009, then met with them again in March 2010 and told them he didn't receive PEDs from Dr. Anthony Galea. Galea pleaded guilty in 2011 to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.

Q: How much will this cost him?

A: Hard to put an exact figure on it until the length of the suspension is determined.

Rodriguez is baseball's highest-paid player this year at $28 million. If he's suspended Wednesday for the rest of the season, he would lose $8,508,366 under the formula in baseball's Joint Drug Agreement: 56 games (the total remaining for the Yankees) divided by 183 (the number of days this season) times his salary.

He is owed an additional $86 million by the Yankees over the next 4 years: $25 million in 2014, $21 million in 2015 and $20 million in each of the final two seasons.

Q: How will the drug investigation and any suspension impact Rodriguez's chances of getting elected to the Hall of Fame?

A: Once viewed as a sure Hall of Famer, Rodriguez would appear to have little support among the voting writers in the foreseeable future.

Q: What would be the impact of a suspension be on the New York Yankees?

A: In addition to not having to pay Rodriguez, the Yankees would have a much easier time to get under next year's $189 million threshold for baseball's luxury tax, which has room for about $177 million in salaries before benefits are added.

Rodriguez's contract has a $27.5 million impact on the Yankees' payroll for luxury tax purposes. Others whose salaries are coming off the payroll next year include Curtis Granderson ($15 million), Andy Pettitte ($12 million), Mariano Rivera ($10 million), and Phil Hughes ($7.15 million).

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