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Alex Rodriguez could accept a suspension instead of heading to federal court

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

MLB's arbitrator Fredric Horowitz could release his decision on Alex Rodriguez's suspension appeal as early as tomorrow, and the thought has long been that anything more than zero games would cause Team A-Rod to head to federal court. Now, that may not be so.

According to Wallace Matthews of ESPN New York, the decision to escalate the matter to the next level will come down to money. If Rodriguez feels like serving the suspension and getting back on the field as soon as the middle or latter part of 2014 would save him more than the estimated minimum of $10 million taking the case to federal court would cost, it is possible that A-Rod would choose to serve the suspension instead. That is, if the suspension is 100 games or less. Matthews' source says anything more than 100 games would involve A-Rod and his team of lawyers seeking a temporary restraining order against Horowitz's ruling.

If Rodriguez decides to take 100 games, assuming that is in the range of what Horowitz decides, he'd lose $15,425,000 in salary from the Yankees. Considering that the estimate of federal court costs with no promise of a positive outcome is expected to be north of $10 million, in addition to the added time it would take to sort out before any suspension could be served, it's possible that sitting out more than half the season is the better deal for Rodriguez.

This is quite a change from the declarations made earlier in the process, when it seemed that Rodriguez was unwilling to serve even one inning of a suspension he didn't feel like he'd earned. It remains possible that Horowitz values his job enough to keep him from going against MLB'd decision of 211 games, lest he end up like the last arbitrator who stood in MLB's way. Should that be the decision, this process will continue for quite sometime. If you're hoping for quick resolution, it looks like something in the 100-game range is where you should place your hopes. It saves the Yankees some money, at least. Though, considering that the Yankees apparently feel like Eduardo Nunez is their backup plan for A-Rod's absence, no one could blame you for hoping for zero games to avoid that being the case.