Rodriguez's suspension comes at a "discount" against his original 211-game ban issued by the MLB last August. Rodriguez continued to play in 2013 after appealing the suspension.
Rodriguez reportedly will attend Yankees Spring Training in Tampa, due to a loophole in his suspension. If Rodriguez wins the uphill battle against the MLB in an effort to reduce or end his suspension, he will be ready to play come March 31st. Although that seems unlikely, crazier things have happened.
Rodriguez sat out most of the 2013 season due to hip surgeries, but did play in 44 games with the Yankees. An entire season of no action could end the third baseman's career. Anyhow, Rodriguez was not super productive in the 2013 season, hitting .244/.348/.423/.771 with 7 home runs and 19 RBI, while posting a 111 OPS+.
The Yankees benefit in terms of payroll due to the suspension; Rodriguez was owed $25 million for the 2014 season. The suspension helps the Yankees against the $189 million threshold, a number that they have been attempting to stay under throughout the offseason. Ben Badler of Baseball America points out that the suspension could help the Yankees sign Masahiro Tanaka.
Rodriguez will take the suspension to federal court.
He said in his statement, "I have been clear that I did not use performance enhancing substances as alleged in the notice of discipline, or violate the Basic Agreement or the Joint Drug Agreement in any manner, and in order to prove it I will take this fight to federal court."
The MLB also made a statement in regards to the suspension. "For more than five decades, the arbitration process under the Basic Agreement has been a fair and effective mechanism for resolving disputes and protecting player rights. While we believe the original 211-game suspension was appropriate, we respect the decision rendered by the Panel and will focus on our continuing efforts on eliminating performance-enhancing substances from our game."
The efforts seem to be far from over, but many questions regarding Alex Rodriguez's suspension have been answered. We will not see him in uniform until the 2015 season, barring retirement.