Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter does not want Alex Rodriguez to be given a lifetime ban by MLB commissioner Bud Selig, but not because he believes it wouldn't be fair to the player. He believes it would give the New York Yankees an unfair advantage.
Paul White of USA Today reports that Showalter recognizes the fact that getting Rodriguez's contract off the books would allow the Yankees to get under the luxury tax and potentially spend frivolously yet again: "If Bud lets them get away with that, they're under the luxury tax. If they can reset, they can spend again and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York."
The validity of the Yankees' interest in Wieters remains to be seen (Gary Sanchez is only a few years away in the minors), but Showalter didn't stop there with bashing the possible decision of Selig.
The Yankees signed Rodriguez to a ridiculous 10-year, $275 million contract after the 2007 season. White cites that Rodriguez's OPS has dropped every year since 2007, and that playing on two bad hips likely won't be doing Rodriguez's career any favors. Throw in multiple issues with PEDs, and you've got yourself a problem.
"They're the ones who signed him to that contract," Showalter told USA Today. He's right in that sense, but why argue with the commissioner when he's potentially planning on suspending a player who has had multiple run-ins with performance-enhancing drugs?
Perhaps Showalter, a rival manager in the American League East, is more concerned with the Yankees getting astronomically better via free agency than he is about losing his young catcher in two seasons. Those qualms are understandable.
The Yankees are known for spending big in free agency, and getting back under the luxury tax would allow them to do that yet again. The albatross of a contract Rodriguez signed has certainly handcuffed the team up to this point, and Showalter is correct in assuming the Yankees will spend freely again if it's off the books.
If Rodriguez is off the books as soon as next offseason, the Yankees could have the resources to sign impact free agents like J.J. Hardy, Chase Headley, Pablo Sandoval, Homer Bailey or Max Scherzer. This would likely put the Yankees back in the thick of things in the division.
The ruling on Biogenesis suspensions is expected within the next couple of days, but Rodriguez won't be the only one who isn't happy if he's suspended for life. Showalter could put up just as strong a fight as A-Rod if it means the Yankees get to go back to their usual ways.