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Arbitrator Suspends Alex Rodriguez For 162 Games, A's Affected?

"Yeah, won't need this for a while."
"Yeah, won't need this for a while."
Alex Trautwig

MLB didn't get the 211 game suspension they were going for, and Alex Rodriguez didn't get the suspension thrown out as he had hoped. The arbitrator's ruling means A-Rod got to finish out the 2013 season, MLB gets rid of him for the entirety of 2014, and the Yankees get out of paying the $25M Rodriguez would have been owed this season.

Rodriguez has vowed to continue appealing, though it's unclear to whom he can take his continued inability to take any responsibility for his actions case. The Supreme Court is unlikely to be interested, God is pretty busy smiting and just generally being omnipotent, and even the player's union is saying, "Well we don't agree with it but that's the ruling..."

Let me give a quick editorial on the whole saga, and then discuss how the A's may be affected by this ruling.

The fact that I find Alex Rodriguez unlikable, which I do mostly because he portrays himself as an entitled -- though perhaps it's more that he's both emotionally troubled and wholly delusional -- victim, is pretty much irrelevant. Heck, if I knew the guy personally I might not find him unlikable at all; I might feel really sorry for him because while he is insanely wealthy he is also, as far as I can see, not very happy in general.

But more to the point, the issue of PEDs and suspensions is not a personal one. It's a matter of policy, procedure, and consequence. And here's where I have an issue. I'm not entirely familiar with the drug policy that MLB and the player's union have agreed to follow. All I know is what is shared publicly, which is usually "first offense, 50 games, second offense 100 games, third offense, lifetime ban". Occasionally you hear references to other clauses, such as a player being culpable if linked to a clinic or assisting other players in procuring PEDs, but the rules and possible consequences around this have never been made clear to me.

It may be that there is a specific clause in the drug policy stating that if a player does what Rodriguez has been accused, and apparently found guilty, of doing -- introducing others to a clinic linked to PEDs -- that he can be suspended for 211 games. Or 162 games. Or...I don't know.

If the ruling follows the terms of the policy -- what a player can be punished for doing, and what punishment can be levied -- then I have absolutely no beef with the outcome. On the other hand, if the policy talks only about suspensions in 50 and 100 game increments, or if it is vague in regards to what constitutes wrong-doing even if you don't personally test positive for PEDs, then I do have a problem with it.

Even jerks, even troubled and spoiled and delusional rich guys, even guys who have clearly done something wrong, deserve a fair trial and a fair sentence. If Alex Rodriguez got those things, then go MLB. If he didn't, then go A-Rod.

And either way, go A's. Oakland may well be impacted by this decision because the Yankees may well have been awaiting this ruling before aiming to put together the tattered remains of their infield. With the Rodriguez suspension, their infield looks kind of like this:

3B: um...Eduardo Nuñez?

SS: Derek Jeter, who was playing a terrible SS before he broke his ankle and then couldn't really recover, and Brendan Ryan

2B: The dynamic duo of Brian Roberts (for as long as he can stay on the field) and Kelly Johnson

1B: Mark Teixeira

That sounds like a team that could really use someone like Alberto Callaspo. Personally, as you know unless your second home is a cave, I would love to see the A's sign Jeff Baker to complete their 25-man roster and deal Callaspo to help bolster the minor league system. An intriguing minor league player I have mentioned as an "A's type of target" is the Yankees' Daniel Camarena, now 21 having completed rookie and A-ball seasons with some intriguing peripherals (check out the BB-rates). However, my track record in guessing trade targets is running somewhere between 0.34% and 0.18%, so let's just leave it at, "The A's and Yankees might be able to connect on a deal that would send Callaspo to the Yankees for minor league talent."

The Yankees weren't going to address 3B directly until the Rodriguez suspension was resolved. Now, expect them to look at "Nuñez-Jeter-Roberts-Teixeira with a Ryan-Johnson chaser" and think "Maybe we need to fortify that..." If the A's did deal Callaspo to New York, what might that trade look like, do you think? And would you like to see the A's pull the trigger? Because it's hard to imagine that a conversation between Billy Beane and Brian Cashman, involving Callsapo, won't at least take place.