By David Lennon
— Shortly before playing in what might have been the final professional game of his tainted career, Alex Rodriguez was turned down on Saturday in his request for a meeting to possibly broker a deal with Major League Baseball, sources confirmed, and now must wait for Monday to learn his fate along with the rest of the Biogenesis-linked crew.
That action seemed contrary to Rodriguez’s stance Friday night, when he annoyed MLB officials and the Yankees with his accusatory tone during a surreal tirade that suggested people were trying to find "creative" ways to "cancel" the remainder of his $275-million contract. He also made veiled references to the two as potential co-conspirators in attempting to keep him off the field.
Up to that point, MLB had been open to negotiating plea deals with the players allegedly connected to Biogenesis. But after Friday’s postgame rant, MLB decided it was done with Rodriguez, who was told - through the union as intermediary - that there would be no more discussion and that his sentence would be handed down Monday. ESPNNY reported late Saturday that Rodriguez is likely to be suspended through the 2014 season.
Asked about approaching the Yankees and MLB for a settlement, Rodriguez said Saturday night, "As far as any of that stuff, I’m going to let those guys take care of what they need to take care of."
Rodriguez played his second rehab game Saturday night with Double-A Trenton, and after his spectacular home run Friday, this was much less dramatic. A-Rod, greeted with the usual mixture of boos and cheers, walked in all four of his plate appearances.
The plan from here is for him to work out Sunday with the expectation of joining the Yankees on Monday in Chicago.
When asked after the game if that still is the plan - with a suspension anticipated Monday - A-Rod replied, "I’m flying to Chicago."
The last time Rodriguez came this close to returning to the majors, he was put back on the DL July 22 after being diagnosed with a grade 1 quadriceps strain.
Now that Rodriguez again is on the verge of joining the team, the Yankees must at least entertain the possibility. That made his comments Friday a bit unsettling to the team.
"I was not there," Joe Girardi said. "But if I had a chance to sit down and talk with him, I might talk to him about it. I’d probably talk to him to make sure his head was OK and he was focused on playing baseball."
Despite MLB’s stance, Rodriguez has maintained that he is not interested in making any deals, even though he faces a potential lifetime ban. If A-Rod is suspended until 2015, that would amount to 214 games and a financial hit of roughly $35 million. Either way, Rodriguez has given every indication that he will fight any suspension, with a source close to him saying Saturday, "(MLB) is done talking, we’re done talking. We haven’t been talking."
On Friday, Rodriguez did not sound like someone looking for a compromise, and he escalated his battle language against the Yankees and MLB.
"There’s a lot of layers to this," Rodriguez said. "As far as the legal stuff, to me, it’s been confusing. A lot of people don’t understand the process. I will say this: There’s more than one party that benefits from me not ever stepping back on the field - and that’s not my teammates and it’s not the Yankee fans."
The New York Daily News reported that A-Rod’s representatives on Saturday tried to get a meeting with the Yankees to work out a settlement for the nearly $100 million left on his deal. They were shot down, with the Yankees reportedly telling A-Rod’s group that it is a PED-related matter beyond their control.