Despite the ruling that Alex Rodriguez will have to serve a 162-game suspension in 2014, the Yankees' third baseman insists that he will be in Tampa for spring training next month. The Yankees would almost certainly like to find a way to keep Rodriguez away from their camp to limit the distraction to other players that his presence will undoubtedly come with. The media will have a field day with questions about A-Rod's suspension and his attendance will be at the forefront of the discussion instead of the actual progress of the team.
The Players Union can force the Yankees to allow Rodriguez to attend, according to Ken Rosenthal, because Rodriguez still has three years remaining on his deal. The argument that Rodriguez needs to continue to work out and tune up his baseball skills from the union could make it impossible for the Yankees to keep him away from Steinbrenner Field after February 20th. However, with the MLBPA releasing a statement this morning basically saying that Rodriguez is on his own in any appeal to federal court, they could very well just bow out of the fight.
Fortunately for the Yankees, MLB is almost certainly going to be on their side of the issue. The situation with Rodriguez is unprecedented, which means that there could be some rule invented or loophole found that keeps Rodriguez away while he serves out his suspension. During his injury rehab last offseason the Yankees found a way to have him out of the spotlight of spring training and it seems reasonable to assume they'd want to do that again, especially now that he is actually suspended for the entire season.
MLB and Yankees are going to confab in the next few days to try to figure out what to do about the ARod-Spring Training issue.— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) January 11, 2014
They kept him away from spring training this year when he was merely injured, have to think they can find a way to do it again if they want.— Daniel Barbarisi (@DanBarbarisi) January 11, 2014
AROD: Under joint drug agreement, eligible to attend spring training and even play in games.— steven marcus (@newsdaymarcus) January 11, 2014
Can you picture Rodriguez participating in spring training games at this point? Do you think Rodriguez should be allowed to attend spring training if he wants, or are the Yankees right to want to keep him away?