If New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez appeals an increasingly imminent suspension, MLB commissioner Bud Selig is considering invoking his power as commissioner to keep Rodriguez off the field.
He could decide to do that, the New York Daily News is reporting, through a rarely invoked commissioner's power — "the right to take action against a player to preserve the integrity of the game."
The Daily News report is the strongest indication yet that Selig is prepared to employ extreme measures if Rodriguez appeals his looming suspension, which may be handed down this week. Rodriguez’s lawyer, David Cornwell, said Monday that he and Rodriguez were focused on fighting any possible suspension of Rodriguez through the appeals process.
“We are focused on an appeal,” Cornwell said in an interview Monday with Stephen A. Smith on “The Michael Kay Show” on ESPN New York 98.7.
The Daily News reported Sunday that baseball is “armed with voluminous evidence they believe would warrant lifetime banishment.” A source close to Rodriguez told the paper, however, that he is “sticking to his story” and will not accept a deal. Cornwell confirmed that stance publicly in the interview Monday.
If Selig does go this route, he would be invoking Article XI, Section A1b of MLB's collective bargaining agreement. He would effectively bypass both the grievance and appeals process and the Joint Drug Agreement, setting up a potential legal collision course among the league, the players' union and Rodriguez.
According to the report, MLB believes it has gathered enough evidence to potentially go to this extreme. The report highlights Selig, in particular, as adamant that Rodriguez never sees the field again:
Selig is believed to be so determined to keep Rodriguez from ever stepping on a Major League Baseball field again that he is risking a reopening of the collective bargaining agreement or even a federal court case with his decision to bypass the usual grievance procedures and exercise his power to take action on an issue "involving the preservation of the integrity of, or the maintenance of public confidence in, the game of baseball."