As expected, Rodriguez said he will contest Saturday’s ruling in federal court.
The decision will relieve the Yankees of about $24 million in luxury-tax savings based on A-Rod’s 2014 salary; the team still owes him about $61 million for 2015-17.
Horowitz’s ruling upholds a good portion of the original 211-game suspension levied by MLB, which banned Rodriguez in August after concluding its investigation. Rodriguez continued playing after appealing.
Twelve other players were suspended as a result of the investigation, although none for longer than the 65 games given to Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun. The other players were suspended 50 games, the punishment for first-time drug offenders stipulated by baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.
According to spokesman Ron Berkowitz, A-Rod plans on attending spring training, and will be allowed to participate due to a loophole in the suspension. Rodriguez’s side argues that if he is able to receive an injunction to stop the suspension, he will able to play and thus should prepare for the season.
The Yankees could tell him not to come to Tampa, Fla. Last spring training, Rodriguez was not with his teammates at all as he rehabbed from hip surgery.
While the decision is a reduction of the punishment baseball sought, it still could mean the end of Rodriguez’s playing career.
He will turn 39 in July and, coming off two hip surgeries and a 2013 season in which he played just 44 games, may not be able to return after sitting out an entire season.
Rodriguez will go off the Yankees’ 40-man roster and onto a restricted list. The team will be able to fill the roster spot.
The Yankees will get a season’s worth of salary relief against the luxury tax — or, based on the 162-game, 183-day season, about $24.1 million.
Rodriguez is set to make salaries of $21 million, $20 million and $20 million over the three remaining seasons. For luxury-tax purposes, teams are charged prorated portions of the deal annually — so Rodriguez’s luxury-tax figure was one-tenth of $275 million, or $27.5 million. But the suspension is for 162 games, not the full 183 days, so the Yankees will be charged the prorated portion of $27.5 million.
The suspension is the culmination of a nearly yearlong process dating to a story in the Miami New Times last January that revealed the names of Rodriguez and others in the records of Biogenesis, a now-shuttered Coral Gables anti-aging clinic suspected of being a source of performance-enhancing drugs for MLB players and other athletes.
SOURCE: ESPN.COM Information from ESPNNewYork.com’s Andrew Marchand, ESPN The Magazine’s Buster Olney and The Associated Press was used in this report.