Alex Rodriguez's suspension reduced to 162 games

Scott McLaughlin
January 11, 2014 - 7:26 am
Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension has been reduced to 162 games by independent arbitrator Fredric Horowitz, Major League Baseball announced. Assuming that the full-season ban remains in place, it would not only prevent Rodriguez from playing in 2014 (the suspension encompasses the entire regular season and postseason) -- in his age 38 season -- but also would liberate the entirety of his salary from the Yankees' payroll, thus giving New York considerable latitude in its effort to round out its roster this offseason even as the team attempts to stay below the luxury tax threshold of $189 million. Rodriguez has completed six seasons of his record-setting 10-year, $275 million contract signed with the Yankees following the 2007 season. He was due to make $25 million in 2014, but for practical purposes, his suspension gives the Yankees $33.5 million in payroll flexibility that it wouldn't have had -- both the $27.5 million average annual value of the contract, as well as the $6 million bonus he would have received in the likely event that he hit six homers to reach the career total of 660 (the number hit by Willie Mays in his career). Rodriguez missed most of 2013 while recovering from hip surgery, but made it back to the field for 44 games down the stretch, hitting .244 with a .348 OBP and .423 slugging mark -- his worst career marks since his age 19 season in 1995. Alex Speier contributed to this report.