Alex Rodriguez may be in the midst of a ground-breaking suspension for Major League Baseball, but that doesn't stop the fact that he will be in the lineup on Monday night when the New York Yankees take on the Chicago White Sox.
Several reporters for the New York Daily News report that Rodriguez will receive a 211-game suspension from the league beginning on Thursday, but an appeal of said suspension would allow him to play until the appeal is heard—hence his inclusion in Monday night's series-opening lineup.
How long he plays this season remains to be seen, but Rodriguez is within sight of a big-time milestone that would trigger a healthy bonus in his contract. Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes.com brings to light a bonus in Rodriguez's contract that would net the slugger $6 million for hitting 660 career home runs. That would tie Hall of Famer Willie Mays on the all-time list.
Badenhausen also cites that it would be the first of five $6 million bonuses Rodriguez could potentially make if he continues to climb the ranks of the all-time home run list.
Rodriguez needs just 13 more home runs to receive the first bonus, though it's not clear as to whether or not he'll play long enough (or be productive enough) to get there in 2013. The Yankees have just 52 games remaining this season, and Rodriguez hasn't exactly put up gaudy numbers in recent memory.
It took him 122 games to hit 18 homers in 2012, and it took him 99 games to hit 16 the year prior. That makes 13 in 52 games extremely unlikely. Considering the fact that his appeal likely won't hold up for all that long, it makes it almost impossible.
The $6 million bonuses were set up in an effort to reward Rodriguez for climbing the ranks of the greatest home run hitters ever, but the Yankees may not want to reward Rodriguez anymore. The ongoing saga of his PED usage, as well as his outcry against the team in recent weeks has made him a villain in New York.
If A-Rod does indeed return after his suspension ends, then he has a chance of eclipsing Mays on the all-time list. That's a big "if," though, as who knows what type of athlete he'll be with two bad hips and practically two full seasons out of the sport.
As a player who was once considered a lock to break at least Hank Aaron's home run mark, Rodriguez could not have fallen any farther.