Reader Pete sent me an email with this question:
Now that he has been suspended for an entire season, could he theoretically go play elsewhere? I'm talking maybe Latin America or Japan for a season? Or would his current contract with the Yankees prevent him from playing anywhere else? He could make the argument that he needs to keep in shape and play some kind of organized ball.
It's been a question I've had for a while, just haven't gotten an answer yet.
Not being a lawyer and having not seen the contract, I'm not sure either. Based on recent history (thinking about Aaron Boone here), I bet that if Alex Rodriguez played with another team he'd risk voiding his contract. And I'd be surprised if he headed out of the country.
That said, if he requested permission from the Yankees to play elsewhere (and he has an offer on the table from the Long Island Ducks), they'd have a real quandary on their hands. They could say no, and then he reports to the minor league facility in Tampa every day to work out and spout off to the media.
Or they could say yes. They let him go play for the Newark Bears or the Long Island Ducks, and he looks terrible against MLB cast-offs and semi-professionals. Does that push them closer to letting him go? Or, he looks like a world beater, and now the pressure is on them to "want" him back.
Jhonny Peralta worked out with the Tigers' instructional league team towards the end of his suspension last year, but do the Yankees really want A-Rod around their minor leaguers for a year? Last I heard, A-Rod is allowed to report to Spring Training. What he'll do there is a mystery–would the Yankees put him in an exhibition game? Would he be limited to split squad games?
Maybe A-Rod, Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco and Roger Clemens can form a steroid All-Star team and barnstorm the country playing against all takers. I would probably pay twenty bucks to see that game.