This feels like a game of telephone. Or a half-baked plot being floated. Whatever you want to call it, it seems off for a couple of reasons. The upshot:
- The New York Daily News has a report that A-Rod is rushing to get back to rehab games so that, once he plays in game action, he can claim that he’s physically unable to perform, take an Albert Belle-style medical “retirement” (i.e. go on the DL for the rest of his career) and thereby, they say, avoid discipline in the Biogenesis thing; and
- The New York Post, with a somewhat contradictory spin, says that rather than rush back to rehab games, A-Rod is telling the Yankees that he’s not ready to come back, but the endgame is still the same: go on the 60-day DL for the next few years, getting a defacto retirement, and thereby collect money and avoid Biogenesis discipline.
There is one major thing wrong with this: drug suspensions don’t work that way.
Whether A-Rod is playing or not, he cannot avoid Biogenesis discipline if it comes down by going on the DL. Yes, a player on the disabled list can technically “serve” his suspension in games he would have missed anyway — remember when Freddy Galvis did this? — but he’s still getting his pay docked. Thus the endgame described in both stories — A-Rod somehow evading Biogenesis discipline to “collect his fat salary,” as the Daily News headline puts it — makes zero sense. Whether he’s playing or disabled, he will lose 50 games pay for a 50 game suspension, 100 games pay for a 100 game suspension and his lifetime pay for a lifetime suspension. The disabled list gambit saves him nothing.
So what’s the point of this? Well, this is curious. From the Daily News:
The Yankees, who are currently paying Rodriguez’s $28 million 2013 salary, could conceivably then try to collect insurance on the remainder of the contract, as the Orioles did with Belle.
From the Post:
Should Rodriguez retire because of a medical problem, he would avoid a possible suspension by MLB in the Biogenesis mess. The Yankees would also be able to collect 80 percent of the $114 million from insurance.
Oh, so the Yankees would benefit* from this scenario, even if A-Rod wouldn’t? And what else? This is the same scenario that was floated over and over again back in January by Yankees front office officials, with multiple members of the media playing along, all while A-Rod and those close to him continued to talk up his eagerness to get his rehab going?
This sounds like more wishcasting from the Yankees front office. A day after A-Rod pisses all of them off with his tweets, we once again see the “maybe A-Rod will just go away and never play again so we can collect insurance money” story. In a scenario that does absolutely zero to benefit Alex Rodriguez but would solve the Yankees’ PR and financial problems. Amazing that.
*Worth noting that the people who like the whole “the Yankees can just collect the insurance money!” idea have clearly never dealt with insurance companies before.