When the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year contract worth at least $275 million, they did it with great interest in being the team he played for when he made headlines for passing various milestones.
It's safe to say that the milestones they were looking for aren't the ones they've wound up getting. Two hip surgeries, assorted other broken bones, high-profile romances and an admission of steroid use definitely make headlines, but the Yankees were probably looking for something more along the lines of 700 home runs.
And now, even more fun as A-Rod has found himself at the middle of a Miami New Times expose of Anthony Bosch. Bosch is the owner of a Coral Gables anti-aging clinic who has been accused of selling performance-enhancing drugs to a variety of different baseball players.
Rodriguez's current PR firm issued a terse denial of the claims from the article, sticking to the "only in Texas" timeline that's been long established for Rodriguez's illegal drug use, and A-Rod's retained a lawyer in Miami. Major League Baseball is investigating and Rodriguez would be in line for a suspension if they can verify that he did buy PEDs from the clinic.
According to Joel Sherman the Post, that might be the least of A-Rod's worries. Sherman reports that the Yankees are expected to look for a way to void Rodriguez's contract, which pays him $114 million through 2017 and has given the Yankees a lot more embarrassment than offensive explosion.
The problem is that the CBA expressly forbids terminating a contract as a result of a drug-related suspension, so the Yankees couldn't use any unwillingness to follow the rules of baseball as a pretext from finally divorcing a player that they probably would have dumped as early as 2010 if they had the chance. Sherman suggests the Yankees could try to prove A-Rod defrauded them, but that's a tough hill to climb when they (and everyone else in baseball) were so content to ignore illegal drug use when it benefited them.
Unless they're willing to pay off Rodriguez's contract while he is off the roster, it's likely going to be up to A-Rod to retire to get the Yankees, who deny their looking for an escape clause, out from under this deal. They'll have about as much luck making that happen as baseball's had getting people to realize that this isn't just a problem in their sport.
This is banner headline news on the same day that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was accused of using banned substances to help him get back on the field after an injury this season. This happened during Super Bowl week to a celebrated player shortly after baseball became the first sport to announce testing for HGH, yet it is still the baseball story that dominates discussion while no one cares about similar things happening in football.
No matter how hard they try, baseball is obviously never going to be able to escape the stain provided by their initial reluctance to deal with the drug issue. Rodriguez has provided as much stain as any other player, which makes it easy to understand why the Yankees would want to wash their hands of him altogether.