AW

A-Rod’s Contract Should Serve as a Wake-Up Call to All MLB Owners

In Sports on January 30, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez has likely donned pinstripes for the last time because of his latest PED (performance enhancing drug) scandal, his over-inflated contract and his diminishing returns on the field.  The New York Yankees still owe Rodriguez $114 million over the next five years, but they are going to try and leverage Rodriguez’s PED usage to void the contract.  Unfortunately for the Yankees, all MLB contracts are fully guaranteed, and the player’s union is unlikely allow any contract to be voided without a fight.  Rodriguez’s contract should serve as a wake-up call to all MLB owners.

If Major League Baseball truly wants to fix what ails the game today, the owners must work with the player’s union to legislate performance enhancing drugs out of the game by making contracts voidable to those players who are found guilty of using PEDs.   At the very least, the penalties for getting caught using PEDs need to be made so strict that they serve as a true deterrent.

The PED problem in baseball has blighted a whole generation of players.  It is the sole reason that players with undisputable hall of fame careers are being kept from joining the ranks of other players who have already been enshrined in the hallowed halls in Cooperstown.

While PEDs are a serious problem, they are not the only problem that Major League Baseball is facing with regard to its guaranteed contracts.

In recent years, large market teams have thrown obscene amounts of money in long-term deals to free agents who are guaranteed to provide diminishing returns by the time the contract ends.  These over-inflated salaries will account for a large percentage of team payrolls years after the players’ most productive seasons.  Because the contracts are guaranteed, these players become virtually untradeable.

The Yankees simply have not gotten the production out of Rodriguez to justify his contract, and now they are going to try and use a PED scandal to save them from themselves.

Rodriguez will turn 38 in the middle of this season, so his age would already dictate a likely decline in production.  Coming off of his second major hip surgery, there was no guarantee that he was going to play this season anyway, even if he isn’t suspended for a good portion of the year.  His abysmal playoff performance last season had him riding the pine while the Yankees were fighting to keep their World Series dream alive.   That should speak volumes about what the Yankees think of him as a player.

If the Yankees fail to get Rodriguez’s contract voided if he is found guilty of this PED accusation, they are unlikely to find many options to get rid of him without paying a large sum of money.  Even if they were willing to absorb a good percentage of the money left in his contract, the Yankees are unlikely to find another team that would want to take on an injury-prone, former superstar with greatly diminished skills who is embroiled in a PED scandal.

The time has come for Major League Baseball to stop doling guaranteed contracts for players who are caught cheating, and over-inflated, long-term contracts for players who are beyond their prime.  Alex Rodriguez fits into both categories, and his situation should serve as a wake-up call to all MLB owners who need someone to save them from themselves.

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