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Should the Yankees try to void A-Rod's contract?

January 30, 2013
  • New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez is one of several players linked to performance-enhancing drugs in a report by the Miami New Times on Tuesday.
New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez is one of several players linked to performance-enhancing… (Carlos Osorio / Associated…)

New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez has already admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs from 2001 to 2003. But now A-Rod is said to be one of several people who received PEDs from a now-closed Florida clinic as recently as last year, according to a report Tuesday by the Miami New Times.

A spokesman for Rodriguez has denied the report.

Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss whether the Yankees should try to find a way to void the slugger's hefty contract and if such an attempt would be successful. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment of your own.

Phil Rogers, Chicago Tribune

Gosh, we can’t take Alex Rodriguez at his word? That’s shocking. Absolutely shocking.

No wonder the Yankees’ ownership has its lawyers working overtime to find a way to void the remaining five years -- at  $114 million -- left on his contract. But it’s not going to happen, and it shouldn’t happen.

While Rodriguez clearly plays around with performance-enhancing drugs, he hasn’t tested positive since the supposedly anonymous round of testing in 2003. His mention in the Miami New Times report is a big story mostly because he’s become an albatross for the franchise.

The team’s desire to walk away from the deal shows why the players' union will never agree to allow contracts to be voided for PED issues. Teams would benefit from some negative outcomes for players and that could skew the whole process.

It’s silly that this is even an issue being discussed. The Yankees will have to pay the idiot tax on A-Rod. No getting around it. 

[Updated at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013:

Paul Doyle, Hartford Courant

The Yankees apparently view the latest Alex Rodriguez/PED story as an opportunity to erase a colossal mistake. Extending A-Rod's contract for 10 years in 2007 made no sense at the time and looks horrible in retrospect, so why wouldn't the Yankees attempt to void the last $114 million owed to the shell of the former A-Rod?

Nice try, but it's not happening. And really, it shouldn't. The Yankees were unwise to commit $275 million to a 32-year-old player and now they're stuck. Misguided owners make spending mistakes every winter and they're forced to live with their errors. That's the game.

There's also no way the players' union will allow a team to void the rest of this contract, especially since A-Rod hasn't failed a drug test. Maybe the Yankee will eat millions and negotiate some sort of buyout, but they'll be paying for their fiscal sins.

Juan C. Rodriguez, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Should they try? Absolutely. Would they be successful? Probably not.

Alex Rodriguez has been an on-field and off-field migraine for the New York Yankees. What remains on his contract -- five years and $114 million -- is a crippling figure for most franchises. The Yankees have the wherewithal to absorb it, but that shouldn’t stop them from exploring avenues to unburden themselves.

If they were to somehow remove the Rodriguez albatross it won’t be because he purchased banned substances. The Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program precludes teams from taking punitive action beyond penalties the commissioner’s office imposes.

The Yankees’ best hope is that Rodriguez’s hip injury proves debilitating enough to keep him off the field and insurance covers the rest of his deal.]

[Updated at 10:46 a.m.

Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times

The Yankees will explore every legal avenue to void the remaining five years and $114 million on Alex Rodriguez's contract, but unless there is specific language pertaining to the use of performance-enhancing drugs -- and that's assuming the allegations in the Miami New Times article are true -- they won't be successful.

The Angels made a similar -- and unsuccessful -- attempt before the 2007 season when outfielder Gary Matthews Jr., who had just signed a five-year, $50-million deal, was reported to have received shipments of synthetic growth hormone while he was playing for Texas in 2004.

The Yankees' best hope for recouping some of Rodriguez's salary will be to collect insurance if the third baseman, who recently underwent his second hip surgery in four years, misses the entire 2013 season. They could recoup a large percentage of the $114 million if doctors declare Rodriguez's injuries career-ending.

There is precedent for such a move -- Baltimore collected insurance on Albert Belle when the outfielder was unable to play because of a degenerative hip condition after 2001. But the insurance company could protest, claiming Rodriguez's PED use compromised his health, and the Yankees would have another legal battle on their hands.

The biggest question facing the Yankees is this: When do the off-field distractions caused by A-Rod and his PED use outweigh his potential to help them win? At that point, they will have little choice but to release A-Rod and swallow a huge chunk of salary.]

ALSO:

How an MLB suspension of Alex Rodriguez could be hollow

Ray Lewis denies using banned substance to hasten recovery

Alex Rodriguez, other players linked to performance-enhancing drugs

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