Alex Rodriguez and mates were booed out of Yankee Stadium during the ALCS. / Robert Deutsch USAT
Who knows what lies ahead for Alex Rodriguez and his place with the New York Yankees? Even he and the team can't be sure at this point.
Another link to investigations into performance enhancing drugs. The ongoing rehab after his second hip surgery. A career on a steady five-year decline. A contract that calls for another $114 million over the next five seasons.
It's hardly a comfortable situation for anyone and the future options -- other than Rodriguez returning healthy, productive and without penalty from Major League Baseball â?? could be even more difficult.
Even if the Yankees reach the point â?? and there's no outward indication they have â?? that the hassles and uncertainty just aren't worth the trouble, getting out from under the financial burden wouldn't be easy.
And even if Rodriguez reached his own limit â?? the combination of serious surgery adding to declining skills plus potential future trouble with the MLB drug program â?? there's no incentive for him to voluntarily stop playing.
Retirement means forfeiting what's left on his contract and Rodriguez has enough professional pride and drive that he's unlikely to give up on his physical abilities that easily, let alone the cash.
The Yankees' options for relief would focus on how to attack the situation â?? via the injury or via any potential drug policy implications.
The Yankees have insurance on A-Rod's contract, as is the case with most big-money deals in baseball. But to collect any or all of the remaining salary, they must prove his inability to play.
Maybe general manager Brian Cashman was planting a seed when he said recently that the Rodriguez's hip rehab does not guarantee he will be available for even the half-season the Yankees are hoping for in 2013.
To recoup the all or most of the remaining contract value, the Yankees would have to release Rodriguez, then file a claim with the insurance company. Inevitably, the insurer will deny or at least contest the claim, putting the burden of proof on the Yankees.
The team would have to show, through doctors, that Rodriguez is no longer able to play. The Baltimore Orioles did that after a degenerative hip condition ended Albert Belle's career in 2001.
The insurer would seek doctors to say the opposite, not to mention the possibility of invoking the question of whether performance enhancing drugs contributed to Rodriguez's physical problems.
The end result likely would be a court case with dueling doctors.
Trying to void Rodriguez's contract would be just as litigious, but with the players' union. His current contract was signed in 2007, 14 months before he admitted using PEDs from 2001-03. The information revealed this week claims links to Rodriguez beginning in 2009.
At the very least, the Yankees would need some sort of sanction from MLB to begin to build a case.
And as long as Rodriguez's contract remains in effect, even if the Yankees could procure insurance payments, it counts against their efforts to remain under baseball's luxury tax threshold.
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Read the original story: Can Yankees recoup cash, or dump A-Rod? It's not so easy