After media reports surfaced that the Long Island Ducks would consider signing Alex Rodriguez for the 2014 season, another independent Atlantic League owner stepped forward to dispute the idea.
As you are probably already know, arbitrator Fredric Horowitz ruled Saturday that Rodriguez must sit out the 2014 regular and post season for violations of MLB’s drug policies. That ends the official part of the process; what still needs to be decided is whether Rodriguez and his lawyers go to federal court to try and overturn the decision. There are other decisions to be made: technically, Rodriguez can participate in spring training for the Yankees, and his contract allows a return in 2015. Still, the 2014 season represents a big hole for Rodriguez to fill, and an option brought up by reporters is a stint in the independent Atlantic League. From Newsday:
If his appeal to a federal court does not work out and Alex Rodriguez still wants to play baseball in 2014, he does have an option, and he would not have to go very far. The Long Island Ducks are leaving the door open.
“While some MLB suspensions have been honored by the Atlantic League in the past, if Alex Rodriguez were unable to participate in the major leagues this season, we would be open to exploring giving him a chance to play, stay sharp and compete against a high level of competition while helping the Ducks chase a third consecutive championship,” Ducks president Michael Pfaff said Saturday in an email.
Now, given that it’s highly unlikely that the Yankees would permit this and Rodriguez would agree (given the fact it would void his Yankees contract, which runs through 2017), it’s still a good publicity move for the Ducks to raise the potential, anyway. In response, the Somerset Patriots and owner Steve Kalafer issued the following statement.
“In response to media inquiries regarding whether the Somerset Patriots have any interest in signing Alex Rodriguez if he became available this season, my answer is unequivocally no.
The Somerset Patriots honor the decisions and suspensions in our working relationship with Major League Baseball. We would expect all other teams within the Atlantic League to operate the same as allowing a suspended player to continue playing and representing any of our teams would be a hurtful precedent.”
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