To The Courts!-UPDATED 4:09PM

Stop the speculation, we have an official announcement. MLB has announced the remaining Biogenisis suspensions and they are exactly what we thought they would be. Twelve players, including Jesus Montero and Francisco Cervelli, are suspended for 50 games starting immediately.

Strangely, Alex Rodriguez has been suspended for 211 games, starting Thursday. (Huh?) In the MLB Statement they claim that Alex used testosterone and HGH over multiple years and obstructed the investigation.

So, Alex can play tonight and the next couple of nights as his suspension doesn’t start until Thursday. And, he can play after that, assuming he appeals his suspension. And, if the Yankees made the 2014 playoffs, Alex could play in them as his suspension is for the 2014 Championship Season and not the 2014 playoffs.

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A few things on this. Let’s get the smaller fish out of the way. Cervelli said he didn’t do anything back in February, but then why did he agree to a suspension? That Montero trade doesn’t look like such a bust now, does it?

As for Alex, now we have total war. If you read the MLB statement, it is not a nice one. They are out to punish him. For his part, Alex has hired the same lawyer who got Ryan Braun off the hook the first time.  There is always the chance that Alex doesn’t appeal, but at this point I think he absolutely will. For one thing, being suspended in 2013 costs him more per game than it will in 2014 and 2015. And, he actually has a clear path into the lineup right now, something he probably wouldn’t have if he took the suspension and tried to return to the club in 2015.

So now we wait for the almost certain appeal and then the process to work itself out. How long will that take? I have seen estimates as low as two weeks to as high as two months. I am sure baseball will try and rush it along, but Alex’s lawyers will certainly have all the time that they need to present their case. And before you assume A-Rod is a goner. Just remember that Clemens got out of perjury charges, Braun escaped the first test, there is nothing cut and dry with this and it wouldn’t shock me to see Alex get a heavily reduced suspension. And for at least the next three games, I expect we will see him playing third base.

Finally, everyone suspended today should take a look at this statement. That’s the way you apologize and admit guilt.

UPDATE 4:09-  You have to love these statements too.

What Do I Root For?

As a Yankee fan I am not sure what to root for in the next 24 hours.

As a selfish fan, it is easy. You want A-Rod to return to the lineup right now. Yes, he is 38 and has two bad hips, but it is very hard to imagine a scenario where he is worse than the guys the Yankees have run out there so far in 2013. The harsh truth is, the 2013 Yankees need Alex. But the 2014 Yankees might not, especially if they could be rid of his salary. So, A-Rod returning for 2013 and then being suspended for 2014 would be the best thing for the “root for the laundry” crowd.

But, I can’t do that. I can’t sit there and enjoy watching Alex play right now. I don’t know exactly what he did, but I am pretty sure it wasn’t good. He asked us in 2009 to judge him by what happened from that day forward. It certainly seems like he has failed miserably by that standard.

Things is life are hardly ever black or white and I think PED use falls under that category. If you grew up dirt poor and suddenly found a way to make enough money for you, your children and your children’s children to never have to worry about finances again, would you take it even if it was breaking the rules? I don’t know my own answer to that and that is why I can understand why some of these players did what they did.

But Alex was clearly not in that category when all of this happened. He had already made loads of money, so why did he cheat? Columnists have plenty of opinions from insecurities to just being a bad guy, but we will never know unless Alex tells us.

And that is ultimately what I would like to see come out of this. When all of the legal wrangling is finished I hope there is a moment where Alex tells us what really happened. He has said he will and I hope he does, but I think it is unlikely.

The sad truth of this whole mess is that there are no winners here. MLB can crow all it wants about cleaning up the game, but the majority of Biogenisis clients DIDN’T fail a PED test. As with most things in life, a seemingly trivial dispute led to this whole situation. Without that, none of this becomes public and all of these guys are still considered clean. And I think we all know that there are other clinics out there right now feeding their clients illegal PED’s. One day some of them may come to light, but chances are plenty will not.

So what do we do as fans? Do we applaud knowing that some of what we are watching is chemically enhanced? Do we turn off the tube in anger at the artificial nature of it all? Is there some middle ground? I don’t know the answer, but I know the upcoming announcement will do nothing to answer those questions. I guess the best scenario is that this all ends tomorrow and we move on-waiting for the next scandal to emerge.

Somebody Tackle Him!

Somebody please get Alex to stop talking. There has to be someone close to him who can tell him to shut up because he is simply digging the hole bigger and it is already big enough.

The latest from various outlets is that Alex’s comments Friday night pissed off MLB and the Yankees. That’s not a shock. What is surprising is that Alex reportedly went to both MLB and the Yankees today to try and broker settlements. He went to MLB to get his suspension reduced and he went to the Yankees to talk about a settlement on his contract. Both sides have said no way. MLB is reportedly going to suspend him for 214 games, aka the rest of 2013 and all of 2014, Monday.

As for the Yankees, I suspect Alex is going to have to take a substantial cut in salary to get a settlement from the team. Assuming he is suspended for all of 2013 and 2014, the Yankees have plenty of incentive to wait and see what condition he shows up in when he reports in 2015 because they insured his contract. If Alex couldn’t play baseball, or he got hurt while away from the game, the Yankees could collect $48-million of the $60-million they would still owe him from the insurance company. That’s a pretty strong incentive to sit and wait for 2015, but the Yankees are also pragmatic. They certainly realize that A-Rod is not helping their brand and he may be hurting it. Alex clearly doesn’t trust them and he has to know his best bet for any possible return to baseball is not in the fishbowl of New York. A settlement seems like a reasonable solution for both parties.

It’s amazing to think, but the possibility that Alex will never again play for the Yankees seems very real tonight.

Finish This!

MLB needs to put a bow on this whole Biogenisis mess quickly. I understand that it is complicated, but it was stupid to settle with Ryan Braun when they weren’t close to being able to settle with anyone else. It’s all PED’s all the time these days and I think it is hurting the game. Hopefully, Friday will bring a resolution to this.

As for the A-Rod situation, if you want to know what will happen just pick any situation under the sun and you have a decent chance of being right. Clearly, nobody knows what is going to happen and I suspect that includes Alex.

But, if you aren’t totally sick of him, pick up the latest edition of SI. It has a brilliant article by S.L. Price. You can read a bit of it with that link, but you have to buy the issue to read the rest. It’s worth it. I really liked the way he ended it:

Rodriguez’s gift, his unprecedented completeness, was never really his; it’s called a gift for a reason. Sports is a collective of time as well as talent. Six generations of baseball players and fans, billions of dollars worth of stadia and TV time, an infinity of minor and major leaguers working for untold lifetimes-all of it combined to create the game, the numbers, the interest and hothouse environment in which Alex Rodriguez was going to be the best.

People care so much about sports greatness because, deep down, they know that it’s a reflection; something there belongs to them. We have Rodriguez his chance. We urged him not to waste it. Cashman knows, better than anyone: We hate when we make so big a mistake.