The clock is ticking on the Yankees' offseason as spring training is just a little over a month away. That means a decision on the Alex Rodriguez appeal case has to be close to a verdict, right? Independent arbitrator Frederic Horowitz has been deliberating for almost a month now and, while there is no timetable set on a decision, one is expected to come very soon, now that the Hall of Fame announcements are over.
So soon, in fact, that ESPN is reporting "people familiar with the case told The Associated Press on Friday that arbitrator Fredric Horowitz could issue his decision this weekend." Any announcement now would be all too typical A-Rod, as the news would definitely grandstand the NFL playoffs on Saturday and Sunday.
Even if the verdict is announced, it won't likely mean the end of this long and winding saga. It is believed that A-Rod's lawyers are ready to file an injunction with a judge to stop any suspension from becoming official. This would allow Rodriguez to take part in spring training and begin the 2014 regular season with the Yankees until a final decision can be made in Federal court. Any suspension over 100 games is likely to be challenged by Team A-Rod, but something closer to 50 games might make the 38-year-old slugger think hard before getting into a costly legal battle, instead of just accepting a minimal suspension.
At this point a decision, any decision, really, needs to be made. The Yankees need to know how much money they will have to work with for the remainder of the offseason. They need to find another third baseman, suspension or no suspension, and they're currently bidding on Japanese superstar Masahiro Tanaka, who will cost a ton. If New York is still cost conscious, a hefty suspension would free them from a cumbersome contract, however, at this point, and given the options available, the Yankees might be better off with Rodriguez at third and in the lineup. They could still use his bat after all this.