In question-and-answer form, a look at the issues and implications of Major League Baseball's possible suspension of New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez:
Q: What penalties face Alex Rodriguez and why?
A: Rodriguez is among at least a dozen players MLB had been investigating since the Miami New Times published documents in January alleging links between major leagues and Biogenesis of America, a closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Gables accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. A-Rod faces up to a lifetime ban, with the Yankees expecting him to be accused of recruiting other athletes for the clinic, attempting to obstruct MLB's investigation, and not being truthful with MLB in the past when he discussed his relationship with Dr. Anthony Galea, who pleaded guilty two years ago to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada.
Q: What will he be suspended for and why?
A: If he does not agree to a deal with MLB, he may be suspended first for violations of baseball's collective bargaining agreement, which would prevent him from playing while the union files a grievance and an arbitrator determines whether the penalty meets a "just cause" standard. MLB may use a provision in the Basic Agreement that states : "Players may be disciplined for just cause for conduct that is materially detrimental or materially prejudicial to the best interests of baseball including, but not limited to, engaging in conduct in violation of federal, state or local law." Rodriguez could later be suspended for violating the Joint Drug Agreement. He has never been suspended under the JDA, and a suspension for a first offender is served only after an arbitrator upholds the penalty.
Q: How likely is a lifetime ban for Rodriguez?
A: If Rodriguez agrees to accept a suspension and doesn't ask the players' association to file a grievance challenging the penalty, the suspension likely would be for a year or two. If MLB announces a penalty unilaterally, if could be a lifetime ban, but an arbitrator could reduce it after a hearing.
Q: How did this happen to Rodriguez?
A: MLB has been investigating the three-time AL MVP over various periods since February 2009, when he acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs while with Texas from 2001-03. Rodriguez has denied using them since. He met with baseball investigators in March 2009, then met with them again in March 2010 and told them he didn't receive PEDs from Dr. Anthony Galea, who treated Rodriguez without the Yankees' consent following hip surgery in 2009. Galea pleaded guilty in 2011 to a federal charge of bringing unapproved drugs into the United States from Canada. As part of the Biogenesis probe, Rodriguez met again with baseball investigators on July 12 this year.
Q: How much will this cost him?
A: Hard to put an exact figure on it until the length of the suspension is determined. Rodriguez is baseball's highest-paid player this year at $28 million. If he's suspended Wednesday for the rest of the season, he would lose $8,508,366 under the formula in baseball's Joint Drug Agreement: 56 games (the total remaining for the Yankees) divided by 183 (the number of days this season) times his salary. He is owed an additional $86 million by the Yankees over the next four years: $25 million in 2014, $21 million in 2015 and $20 million in each of the final two seasons. Not at risk is a $3 million payment from the Yankees on Jan. 15, the final installment of his signing bonus, and $36 million-plus interest owed by Texas from 2016-25, funds that were deferred in his contract with the Rangers and converted to an assignment bonus at the time of his trade to the Yankees in 2004.