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Down the Drain…

More bad news for Alex Rodriguez. This is not a surprise to anyone is it?

Categories:  1: Featured  Baseball Musings  Yankees

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1 Dimelo   ~  Jan 29, 2013 9:43 am

However, that's great news for the Yankees. Will this be the smoking gun the Yanks need to rip-up this awful contract? Time. Will. Tell.

2 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 29, 2013 9:49 am

1) Interesting. It would be the Get of Jail Free card the Yanks are dying for with that contract.

3 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 29, 2013 9:59 am
4 Dimelo   ~  Jan 29, 2013 10:06 am

[3] Interesting. And makes a lot sense.

5 Jon DeRosa   ~  Jan 29, 2013 10:26 am

Well, it's a mild surprise, isn't it? That his recent performance has been so anemic and his body so broken?

This changes everything for me but not for the "scary, scary drugs" stuff. It means to me that the guy is totally cooked and will be useless for the rest of his career.

6 bp1   ~  Jan 29, 2013 10:41 am

This morning is the first I heard of it and I gotta say - I feel no sense of surprise at all. Once a cheat, and all that. If you give in to temptation once, when you're young, healthy, and king of the world, how could a person resist when the body starts to fail and the hopes of rejuvenation are just a needle prick away? Did anyone really believe his "only three years in Texas" story?

Not surprised. Disappointed.

7 Dimelo   ~  Jan 29, 2013 10:41 am

[5] Exactly.

I was surprised, and sad, that Big Papi was not on this list.

8 The Hawk   ~  Jan 29, 2013 10:44 am

I just really, really, really hope the Yankees can jettison this dude once and for all. It seems unlikely this will be proven false ... He just needs to go away now. Talk about an albatross.

9 rbj   ~  Jan 29, 2013 10:50 am

Very interesting. But voiding a contract that still has $100 million on it? There's a lot of incentive to get into a real nasty lawsuit. And I'm sorry, but anyone who watched the 1976 Olympics East German women's swim team and didn't think there are PEDs in sports is incredibly naive, and wouldn't be in a position to own a sports franchise.

Bob Gibson used muscle relaxants in the 1968 World Series, Mark McGwire used andro in 1998. There have been red flags all over the place for my whole life. I just don't want anyone to claim innocence in this.

10 BobbyB   ~  Jan 29, 2013 11:27 am

Maybe the commissioner steps in and suspends him indefinitely for conduct detrimental.

11 Dimelo   ~  Jan 29, 2013 11:36 am

[9] And there's Mickey Mantle, too.


Dr.Feelgood alright! PEDs have been around longer than a lot of people think. Steroids era my effing ass!!

12 Alex Belth   ~  Jan 29, 2013 11:42 am

I assume Rodriguez was on PEDs his entire time in New York. Or at least most of it.

13 RagingTartabull   ~  Jan 29, 2013 11:47 am

I'm only interested in this insofar as, can they somehow use it to get out from under the contract?

I'm not an A-Rod hater by any stretch...but I can't deal with five more years of this if the guy isn't going to at least give me 25 and 100 every year to make it worth my while.

14 seamus   ~  Jan 29, 2013 12:00 pm

amphetamines are steroid era are completely different animals. Too much false equivalency here.

15 The Hawk   ~  Jan 29, 2013 12:46 pm

[14] I tend to agree ... Just look at the numbers. Inflated, just like the users' heads.

16 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jan 29, 2013 12:47 pm

[14] Yes, amphetamines can kill you quick while steroids take a longer time.

17 Shaun P.   ~  Jan 29, 2013 12:51 pm

Maybe I'm just a hopeless skeptic when it comes to PEDs, but all we know about right now is a notebook. I have a notebook; I could write a bunch of stuff in it; doesn't make it true, doesn't make it false. Show me evidence of money changing hands and shipments received and I'll take the allegations more seriously.

In the meantime, I already avoid all the usual suspects who will take the faux-shock and faux-outrage up to 11, and then double it because its A-Rod, and I find I am happier when I do so. I plan to keep on doing so.

JC Bradbury at Sabernomics went through the actual medical and physcial therapy literature on hGH and its affects on the human body years ago now, and concluded that there is no evidence that hGH actually enhances a baseball player's performance. (That it helps healing may well be a different story.) I think Bradbury made a very reasoned and reasonable argument that I find compelling. YMMV, but I know of no one else who took this approach and was this thorough or logical about it. I suggest going here http://www.sabernomics.com/sabernomics/index.php?s=human+growth+hormone, scrolling to the bottom, and reading it all the way through.

To me, A-Rod's contract is essentially meaningless, when you take into account all the money the Yankees get before a single ticket or piece of merchandise is sold and the present-day value of the money in relation to when he signed the deal (thanks for that lesson once upon a time, william!).

My concerns with A-Rod are (1) when is he going to be recovered from his hip surgery and (2) how will he perform for the Yanks when he can play. I'm quite tired of the rest.

18 knuckles   ~  Jan 29, 2013 12:54 pm

If the Yankees ever managed to (or even publicly pursued) voiding this contract on the basis of PED's, they would be absolute poison to pretty much any free agent from here on out. With the possible exception of the odd 32-year-old seeking that one last fat deal.

Caveat Emptor unfortunately, and hopefully we've seen the last of the too-long contracts/extensions for too-old players.

19 Start Spreading the News   ~  Jan 29, 2013 1:01 pm

[15] Are those numbers you are looking at adjusted for smaller ballparks and bouncier ball?

Not wanting to rehash the whole PEDs really performing enhancing or not, I would say that the research done by Nate Silver and other have found very little effect of PEDs on "the numbers." They found more influence by shrinking homer friendly parks.

But PEDs do help you recover from a workout or injuries faster to help you play the game better. Just like amphetamines back in the day helped those guys get up for a game.

20 The Mick536   ~  Jan 29, 2013 1:05 pm

[9] One of my favorite and sad Yankee stories. Always wanted to know how he found the Doc, who he went there with and whether the upper leg injury which kept him out of the WS in 1961 was a result of a Dr. Feelgood shot.

I feel constrained to avoid a "say it ain't so, Joe," moment. Not happy. Like to know more about this. A Rod don't understand the history. Not an embarassment for a Yankee to hang up his spikes at the peak of a career. Joe D played for only 14 years. The Mick stayed too long, becoming one. I don't think he comes back anyway. His new hip isn't as strong as the naturally shaped one, no matter what they say.

[13] Don't want to see his AB look, either.

21 The Hawk   ~  Jan 29, 2013 1:18 pm

[19] I'm not familiar with Nate Silver's research but it's a little hard to crunch numbers when there aren't any. Unfortunately the use of PEDs is shrouded in mystery and will largely remain so.

And of course the ballparks are smaller, etc. I don't know if anyone has ever or will ever be able to do a study bringing all these different factors together in the right admixture (ahem) but you can look at individual players' performance, their bodies, and hell, just ASK them. "Why did you take PEDs? Because it did NOTHING for you?" Of course not; they're called Performance Enhancing Drugs for a reason. This isn't witchcraft of magic, for chrissakes.

And even if it is a case of baseball superstition in a quasi-scientific veneer, THE PLAYERS are still intending to illegally get a leg up. Their intention is still to cheat.

23 Simone   ~  Jan 29, 2013 2:12 pm

I am not surprised and as far as I am concerned the Yankees deserve to be stuck with that contract.

[6] ITA. I can believe that people who cheat can decide to stop, but if the reason that they stop is because they got caught, then they likely will cheat again.

24 rbj   ~  Jan 29, 2013 2:27 pm

Random thought: This would be A-Rod's first gotcha under the new testing regime, so it would be a 50 game penalty. Yankees probably can't break the main contract (don't know all the actual language in the contract.)

But, his home run chase incentives were based upon a "clean" player assaulting the tainted Barry Bonds record. If he's dirty, then that chase no longer has any meaning. So can that be voided?

25 Shaun P.   ~  Jan 29, 2013 2:52 pm

[21] Intent is one thing, and I can't argue that point. And baseball has been full of cheaters for centuries now, all the way back to John McGraw holding the belt of opposing baserunners when he coached third base for the old Orioles of the 1890s, and of course including Gerald Perry and Whitey Ford who were both infamous for what they did to make the baseball move.

On the factual side, however, Jay Jaffe wrote a fantastic piece for BP's "Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbers", which came out in late 2011 I think? Jay's piece did, indeed, take into account all the various factors that led to the offensive explosion of the late 90s-early 00s, and found that if it was anything, it certainly wasn't the drugs. Like with Bradbury's work above, I found it to be a quite compelling argument, but you may disagree.

"but you can look at individual players' performance, their bodies, and hell, just ASK them" Yes, but the first two tell us nothing - strange performance spikes are common in baseball history*, and of course your body changes (and parts get bigger) as you age from your 20s to your 30s - and all the last one does is tell us who used. It does not tell us how or if the use affected the players' performance. Like you said, that's unknowable.

The phrase PED was, I think, born out of the need to have a shorthand name that wasn't the complex chemical names for some of the compounds. That doesn't mean those chemicals are necessarily performance-enhancing; labels and shorthand are not always right. If we really want to push on the term, it falls apart; what kind of performance do PEDs enhance? How does that performance help or not help a baseball player? Again, we don't know.

*FYI - before Barry Bonds, the career leader in number of home runs hit during age-35 to age-38 seasons was . . . Hank Aaron.

26 BobbyB   ~  Jan 29, 2013 3:32 pm

PED's do actually work from what I've read. There was an interesting article (which I have to dig up) where the writer found a doctor prescribing steroids, HGH etc. The guy was a cyclist and his personal account in this cycling magazine said that he got a lot quicker, a lot stronger and interesting, his eyesight got a lot better. Of course he also had roid rage and a couple of other side effects and stopped using after a few months. For what it's worth, I think they have an effect but I'm on record as saying the whole PED "scandal" is ridiculous. I lived in the Bay area until 1990. EVERYONE knew that Maguire and Canseco were using steroids. that includes the guys in the clubhouse, the manager, the sports writers and the League officials. For some reason everyone forgets this. Hell, I even suspect the cleanest guy in baseball, Cal Ripkin, because his best friend for life, Brady Anderson, was a user. If Cal didn't do any, he knew what was going on. I mean if a casual fan like me knew, everyone knew it.

27 thelarmis   ~  Jan 29, 2013 5:40 pm

i hope Cano's clean and we can find that out for certain before handing him a monster deal next year...

28 randym77   ~  Jan 29, 2013 6:18 pm

[26] I think I know the article you're talking about. The link was posted here years ago. It's been taken down since then, but can still be read via the Wayback Machine.

One thing I found interesting was what he said about HGH improving his vision so much he no longer needed glasses. Seems like that would be a big advantage to a hitter, even if it didn't make him any stronger or faster.

29 mhoward120   ~  Jan 29, 2013 6:33 pm

What with all this talk of cutting A-Rod loose and voiding his contract coupled with the Yankees' goal of reducing payroll, how does all of this help anyone save for the team owners who, rather than investing money in the team to build a winning product (a la the late lamented Boss), will just pocket all this saved money.
As fans, unless we insist on shelling out big bucks for inflated ticket prices, why should we care about who gets paid what, just so long as we have a quality team to root for. I'd much rather have an annual World Series champion/contender every year than have to endure a mediocre team, even if the payroll is north of $250M.

30 Greg G   ~  Jan 29, 2013 6:56 pm

I would say that I am the opposite of an ARod apologist. I wanted him gone when he opted out and never changed my position despite his 2009 heroics.

That said, I don't think the Yanks can void his deal. Also, if he were knocking in 50 HR's a year, nobody would talk of voiding his deal, if they found out he was juicing.

HGH hasn't been tested in the past and that was what Andy took too. Football players will be tested for it next year.

I have said it before 1/2 joking, but I think the sports world will never be able to keep up with Science in cheating. The tests might get better, and years from now catch more peopel the way they caught Lance, but maybe we should just allow them to be drug crazed behemoths.

Fans want to see a ball crushed 800 feet, so why not let Science help out? It is their bodies, and if they want to get rich and live for now, and get huge and not care about the side-effects, let them.

Some of the Science from this could actually benefit society. A doctor working to help Bartolo Colon, could help Joe Shmoe too.

31 randym77   ~  Jan 29, 2013 7:46 pm

Fans want to see a ball crushed 800 feet, so why not let Science help out? It is their bodies, and if they want to get rich and live for now, and get huge and not care about the side-effects, let them.

I think that would hurt baseball in the long run. It puts pressure on all the other players to juice, too, even if maybe they'd rather not. And if baseball players start dying young, like pro wrestlers, or get cancer like Lance Armstrong...parents are going to start thinking twice about letting their kids play baseball.

32 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jan 29, 2013 7:48 pm

Boring..who really cares? Guys get arthroscopic surgery ot become bionic men, really no difference to PHD's (which may not even improve performance, still no definitive proof.)

Maybe just getting older but I just want to enjoy a sunny Saturday afternoon game, wicked sliders, diving ShortStops (pasta!) and Vin Scully soliloquies. The rest is just background noise.

33 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 29, 2013 8:02 pm

[24] No it's not; the rules concern tests and lab results, not circumstantial evidence as is the case here (unless A-Rod was found in possession of banned PEDs, which it seems he isn't). Like Shaun said, they have a notebook, I have a notebook; we can write names in it all day, but it doesn't mean any of it is true or false. Without that, they can't ban him for any days until they get a positive test.

That said, A-Rod has to know by now that when he comes back he's gonna be overwhelmed with booing for the rest of his career because people at this point suspect that he's been using PEDs for far longer than he already admitted, and the circumstantial evidence is often too good for the public. If he's willing to deal with that, I'll give him more credit than I give him now.

34 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 29, 2013 8:06 pm

[32] Werd on the getting older... >;)

35 randym77   ~  Jan 29, 2013 8:50 pm

I wonder if this is the end for A-Rod. Can he really come back from another hip surgery, without PEDs, at age 38?

36 Chris   ~  Jan 29, 2013 9:13 pm


PEDs helped me and the guys I played with. We were young and stupid and we weren't even close to MLB, but I got stronger really fast, hit the ball harder, and felt worlds better playing several games close together. I can't imagine it's any different for anyone else.

37 Evil Empire   ~  Jan 29, 2013 9:34 pm

I said this on another thread. But I hope he goes from ARoid to AVoid. I'm so fucking tired of his act and his shitty hitting in the last 3 post-seasons. It was a stupid idea to bring him back after he opted out.

38 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 29, 2013 10:04 pm
39 randym77   ~  Jan 29, 2013 10:04 pm

One thing I found amusing: Melky Cabrera is still a bonehead. The "doctor" was really pissed off that Melky got caught. And didn't pay.

40 Chyll Will   ~  Jan 29, 2013 11:10 pm

[39] Reminds me of the Richard Pryor skit about Leon Spinks getting busted with $1.50 worth of cocaine...

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