How the Yankees and A-Rod can both lose

The financial hits the team and the embattled slugger would take under one scenario are the stuff of every Bronx Bomber hater's dreams.

By Jason Notte Aug 1, 2013 2:45PM
File photo of Alex Rodriguez on October 14, 2012 (© Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)It's been a tough couple of weeks for Major League Baseball's haters.

New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez may receive the longest suspension in league history -- and possibly a lifetime ban from the game -- for his use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) and association with Miami-based clinic Biogenesis. Since reports of that possibility first surfaced, baseball's gallery of gripers has been forced to decide which hated entity should suffer more: A-Rod or the Yankees.

If Rodriguez is suspended for all of next year, former Yankee manager and current Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter says the team will be able to sneak under the luxury tax in 2014 and use its savings to go after free agents -- such as Orioles catcher Matt Wieters. If the league goes light on Rodriguez, the Yankees will still be on the hook for roughly $100 million.

The haters' best-of-both-worlds scenario, and the one that CNNMoney deems most likely, is that Rodriguez will be suspended for the rest of this season and all of 2014. That will cost him $34 million in salary, or little less than quadruple the $8 million slugger Manny Ramirez forfeited when he was suspended for PED use in 2009 while playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The beautiful part of it for those who despise both A-Rod and the Evil Empire is that the Yankees will still have to pay Rodriguez $61 million from 2015 through 2017. To put that into perspective, the Yankees will spend three years paying that amount to a 40- to 42-year-old who's already breaking down at age 38.

Meanwhile, the Texas Rangers signed 25-year-old ace-pitcher-in-the-making Yu Darvish to a six-year deal worth the same amount in 2012. When that deal ends, Darvish will be a full seven years younger than A-Rod is now.

Oh, and the Yankees will have to pay Rodriguez even if he's too worn down to ever pick up a glove again. Unlike football, where contracts aren't guaranteed and Michael Vick's dogfighting conviction cost him $70 million in salary, teams actually have to stick to their contracts with players long beyond their usefulness.

Three years after a hip injury ended Baltimore slugger Albert Belle's career, the Orioles were still paying out the $12 million they owed him and decimating their lineup to do so.

Yankees fans have a rooting interest here, but Yankee and A-Rod detractors may see one of their grandest wishes fulfilled by a shorter suspension.

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