We've reached the point where Alex Rodriguez could be suspended at any second, and for any amount of time. It's become clear that Rodriguez, who now faces the wrath of Bud Selig, won't be treated as just a typical drug cheat. While commissioner Selig plans for his retirement in 2014, he's looking to finish his reign with a notable bang. The man that once stood so indifferent to steroids and drugs in his game is now looking for one last historic suspension to rewrite his own legacy. Rodriguez will be his legacy. As unconventional and complicated the procedure will be, every subsequent media headline has pointed out the length at which the commissioner's office is willing to go to suspend Alex Rodriguez. You could argue the legality and morality of the planned suspension/ban, especially with such little precedent, but Selig is on a clear mission with no plans of subsiding. He has a year and a half to prove that he's not a drug sympathizer, and he appears willing to do just about anything to crush Rodriguez.
Whether you see the third baseman as a victim or criminal, the likelihood of the Yankees shedding at least part of his contract is becoming more and more realistic. Including the insurance money the Yankees could receive for 2013, the organization could be relieved of somewhere around $114 million guaranteed.
So how does this affect the future of the club? Even if Rodriguez is suspended for just 2014, the team's payroll obligations fall to around just $70 million for next season. The thousands of articles written about the 2014 $189 million budget would need to be rewritten. Depending on the length of suspension, the payroll obligations for 2015 and 2016 would also fall dramatically to below $50 million. This would allow the team to make some massive investments in the free agent market this season or next.
But with the Yankees preparing to budget with very little wiggle room, the team has been doing an admirable job of building up their farm system. Though they haven't produced any truly incredible prospects, their system has systematically ranked above average by most reviews last season, and since then they've added three first-round talents and a top prospect in Rafael De Paula.
There's a lot you could do with $114 million, a World Championship being the ultimate goal.Adding payroll flexibility to an organization that was somewhat well-prepared for some thrifty offseasons could put the Yankees in a once unbelievable position. This would come at the expense of Rodriguez' career and reputation, but it's very clear why the Yankees should be rooting against their own player.