Is Alex Rodriguez Helping or Hurting Himself by Staying Quiet on PED Scandal?

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistJune 6, 2013

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 18:  Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees laughs during batting practice against the Detroit Tigers during game four of the American League Championship Series at Comerica Park on October 18, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Major League Baseball is currently looking into the Biogenesis scandal, and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has to decide how he is going to handle the situation. It could end up hurting him in the long run, but Rodriguez is doing the right thing by staying quiet on the issue right now.

ESPN's Darren Rovell has a statement regarding the investigation that was issued by Rodriguez on Thursday:

Myself and others are being mentioned in a media report before the process is even concluded I would hope this thing would follow the guidelines of our Basic Agreement. I will monitor the situation and comment when appropriate. As i have said previously, I am working out every day to get back on the field and help the Yankees win a championship. I am down here doing my job and working hard and will continue to do so until I'm back playing.

This isn't the first time Rodriguez has found himself having to work his way out of a difficult situation.

Back in 2007, amid steroid allegations, he told Katie Couric that he had never used steroids. Just over a year later, Sports Illustrated broke a story revealing that Rodriguez had tested positive for steroids earlier in the decade, so Rodriguez had to admit he was guilty.

Now only a few years later, the three-time AL MVP must find a way to regain his reputation. 

The third baseman has yet to play in 2013 due to having hip surgery in the offseason, so he is already dealing with rehab to get back with the team. 

According to TJ. Quinn and Pedro Gomez of ESPNMLB reached an agreement with Tony Bosch, who ran Biogenesis of America, and will now work towards handing out some of the biggest long-term suspensions in league history. Rodriguez and former NL MVP Ryan Braun are both rumored to be among those who could receive 100-game suspensions.

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So with a possible suspension looming, is Rodriguez helping or hurting his cause by staying quiet on the issue?

His history makes it hard for fans to trust him, and Rodriguez knows that. His words will be remembered. Baseball has seen stars like Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro receive serious backlash for what they have said regarding their use of performance-enhancing drugs. 

No matter what your previous opinion of Rodriguez was, it's hard to see how he'd be hurting himself by staying quiet. 

For starters, who knows what MLB can actually get out of the investigation. The league will use Bosch to get as much information as possible, but it's still unclear as to what MLB will be able to get and if it will be enough to actually suspend players.

If Bosch provides damaging evidence, Rodriguez would then be able to make a statement. Until that time comes, he has nothing to gain by speaking.

There are numerous reasons as to why Rodriguez is helping himself by staying quiet.

After he previously denied taking performance-enhancing drugs and then had to come clean, his reputation was destroyed. Now he has several options: confirm that he took part in the scandal, deny or stay quiet.

If he confirms his role in it, it would make it easier for MLB to act. The league could then try to get Rodriguez to cooperate and use him as a way to take down the other players involved.

A denial does him absolutely no good.

If the investigation fails or comes up with nothing, nobody will remember his alleged role in this scandal. If the league is able to prove Rodriguez took part in the clinic, he would have to admit he was lying, again. 

Staying quiet, for now, is the best option for the star player. 

There's a chance that this whole investigation could be a bust. By admitting that he took part in the clinic, Rodriguez would be out there as a repeat offender without the commissioner's office having to do any digging. By staying quiet, he would be in the clear if commissioner Bud Selig can't get enough evidence to bust the Yankee star.

As previously mentioned, Rodriguez has yet to play a game in 2013. Chris Strauss of USA Today suggests that Rodriguez should retire rather than try to return to the team. If Rodriguez opts for retirement, his life gets easier.

He has always been blamed for the Yankees struggles, even if he's not the only one struggling. New York is currently second in the AL East and own a Wild Card spot. Rodriguez could return this season, but he'd be blamed if his team missed the postseason or was eliminated quickly.

MLB can't punish him with a suspension if he retires.

At 37-years-old, Rodriguez will have a hard enough time coming back from his hip injury. He could return for part of this season, but it will be tough for him to be the player he once was. If he received a suspension once the investigation was complete, his career would be close to over by the time he got back.

Although Rodriguez is signed through 2017, recovering from injuries and serving a suspension would make it tough for him to put up good numbers the rest of his career.

Another plus of retiring would be that he'd never have to issue a real statement regarding the scandal. There would be no reason for him to make a statement on an issue that has no impact on his career once its over.

We have seen players like Andy Pettitte keep their reputation by getting ahead of the mess and just admitting guilt. However, Rodriguez's reputation is damaged beyond repair. An admission of involvement would just give the critics even more to hold against him.

Had he admitted that he used performance-enhancing drugs years ago rather than denying it, there's a chance that he'd still be trusted. After he was busted, there was nothing he could do to regain his reputation.

By admitting his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, Rodriguez would get ahead of the situation but could create another mess for himself. 

He can issue a statement and hope that what he said turns out to be true, or he can stay quiet and hope that the investigation turns out to be nothing. Even if he stays quiet for now, he can issue a statement if necessary later on without having to backtrack.

Rodriguez is nearing the end of a scandal-filled career. He has 647 career home runs, but he is unlikely to break the all-time record.

A setback during rehab or this investigation could force Rodriguez into retirement, which means anything he said now would be irrelevant. Staying quiet is the best option for the star, and Rodriguez is handling the situation better than he handled his previous scandal.     

Talking before it's necessary could turn out to be a costly mistake by Rodriguez, especially if it's a lie.

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