New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is suing Major League Baseball for allegedly buying the cooperation of Anthony Bosch, the founder of the Biogenesis clinic, which is at the center of baseball's latest performance-enhancing drug scandal.
Steve Eder of The New York Times reports Rodriguez's lawyers claim MLB officials have embarked a "witch hunt" in an effort to force the polarizing slugger out of the sport. He also provided further details from the lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday.
In the complaint, Rodriguez's lawyers claim an investigator paid $150,000 in cash for records related to Rodriguez, which were apparently stolen. A portion of the cash "was handed off in a bag at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., area restaurant," the lawsuit says.
The lawsuit specifically accuses Major League Baseball of engaging in "tortious interference," essentially interfering with Rodriguez’s existing contracts and future business relationships.
The suit—filed by lawyers from three firms: Reed Smith; Tacopina Seigel & Turano; and Gordon & Rees—also claims MLB gave Bosch $5 million.
Rodriguez’s lawyers wrote that Major League Baseball had paid Bosch, the head of the now-closed Biogenesis clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., a total of $5 million in monthly installments “to buy his cooperation,” citing “at least one individual who claims to have knowledge of Mr. Bosch’s deal.” The lawyers said that baseball also promised to provide security for Bosch, cover his legal bills and indemnify him from civil liability stemming from the case.
The New York Post's Ken Davidoff indicates that Rodriguez is suing multiple parties:
Rodriguez's case has several unique points and accusations in it, which come to our attention courtesy of Bill Shaklin of the Los Angeles Times:
The relationship referenced by Shaklin involved investigator Dan Mullin, according to the suit itself.
Also included in the report is a statement from Rodriguez, who's currently in the process of appealing his 211-game suspension. He said the lawsuit is separate from the other hearings, and he looks forward to telling his side of the story.
The entire legal dynamic is very complex, and my legal team is doing what they need to in order to vindicate me and pursue all of my rights. This matter is entirely separate from the ongoing arbitration. I look forward to the arbitration proceedings continuing, and for the day to come when I can share my story with the public and my supporters.
The 33-page suit comes after Bosch testified against Rodriguez during the ongoing appeal. A report from the New York Daily News explains the lengths MLB officials went to get Bosch to provide details of his dealings with the Yankees star.
Rodriguez's attorneys were also expected to accuse MLB officials of intimidating Bosch into cooperating with them, and then buying his testimony. Bosch is a defendant in a lawsuit MLB filed in Florida state court in March that accuses him and other Biogenesis associates of tortious interference with baseball's basic agreement with the Players Association. MLB agreed to drop Bosch from the suit, cover his legal expenses, indemnify him from litigation that may arise as a result of his testimony and put in a good word with law-enforcement officials.
Rodriguez was allowed to play until the appeal process was completed following the regular season. He appeared in 44 games for the Yankees after returning from injury, but his baseball future continues to hang in the balance.
Major League Baseball released a statement on Rodriguez's suit, per Mike Axisa of CBS Sports:
For the more than four decades that we have had a collective bargaining relationship with the Major League Baseball Players Association, every player and club dispute has gone through the jointly agreed upon grievance process. This lawsuit is a clear violation of the confidentiality provisions of our drug program, and it is nothing more than a desperate attempt to circumvent the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
While we vehemently deny the allegations in the complaint, none of those allegations is relevant to the real issue: whether Mr. Rodriguez violated the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program by using and possessing numerous forms of prohibited performance-enhancing substances, including testosterone and human growth hormone, over the course of multiple years and whether he violated the Basic Agreement by attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation.
Bosch's spokesman also denied Rodriguez's claims, according to Ken Davidoff of the New York Post:
At 38, a suspension of more than a full season would be a major blow to Rodriguez.
Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk was surprised at the directness of the lawsuit, which includes commissioner Bud Selig and his role in baseball's performance-enhancing drug era. The New York Yankees were not named in the suit.
Although the legal process is going to take some time to sort itself out, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: If Rodriguez is going down, he's going down swinging.