Why A-Rod Is Still Rolling in the Dough
Business + Economy

Why A-Rod Is Still Rolling in the Dough

REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Alex Rodriguez is not going away. Neither are his legal bills.

Lawyers for the New York Yankees third baseman filed a lawsuit Monday alleging bias on the part of an arbitrator who handed Rodriguez a 162-game ban on Saturday for using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). The complaint names Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association, the union for the players, as defendants.

Related:  Alex Rodriquez's Outrageous Fortune: The Numbers

One report said the cost of the suit for A-Rod could be $10 million if it goes through.

A legal analyst who spoke to CNBC said the suit is unlikely to be decided in A-Rod's favor. "Judges are very reluctant to overturn an arbitrator's decision when both sides have initially agreed to the process," said Exavier Pope, a Chicago-based sports and entertainment lawyer. "I don't see his suspension being changed at all."

Rodriquez's legal team was not immediately available for comment, but his Jordan Siev told ESPN, "We recognize the standard to overturn an arbitration is a high one. But we think this proceeding was so flawed from the beginning to end, including obvious bias from (the arbitrator) in favor of MLB, which is put forth in our complaint."

Besides suing MLB and the players association, Rodriguez filed suit against this own team last fall for medical malpractice, claiming the Yankees' doctor did not properly diagnose Rodriguez's left hip injury during the 2012 playoffs. All of that adds up to major legal costs. "It's easy to estimate he's spent in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for lawyers," said Pope.

Related:  A-Rod Rage - Why Sports Scandals Sell

A-Rod says he will show up for spring training this year. However, being banned from the 2014 season and playoffs, A-Rod will not get his salary of $34 million, which includes signing bonus payments added to a base of $25 million.

But in 2015, the then 39-year-old third baseman will be back on the Yankees payroll for two more years and a total of $61 million due him.

The money comes from the 10-year, $275 million deal A-Rod signed with the Yankees in 2007. That contract was—and still is—the most lucrative contract in baseball history. (The second-richest contract in baseball history, for $252 million with the Texas Rangers, was also signed by Rodriguez.)

The deal includes a series of five incentives—$6 million each—if he reaches the 660-home-run total of Willie Mays. Rodriguez currently has 647 career home runs.

There's no question Rodriguez has made a lot of money in baseball. He is currently ranked 18 on the Forbes' 2013 list of the world's highest paid athletes. So how much has A-Rod made over the years? It's a lot, according to Celebrity Net Worth. At one time, A-Rod received around $1 million a year from an endorsement deal from Nike, but that deal ended. He has various real estate investments but the bulk of his income is from baseball.

A Long Island Duck?
Rodriguez has strongly denied he used PEDs while a member of the Yankees, and has said that he has never failed a drug test with them. In 2009, he did admit to some PED use during his time as a member of the Texas Rangers.

It's hard to say where the saga of A-Rod will end. Be it's likely not going to be pretty, said Pope.

"Honestly, I think he's done playing in the U.S.," Pope contended. "I could see him playing overseas in Japan or in South America just to try and vindicate himself. It's clear the Yankees would rather not have him on the team and would likely try to end their contract with him."

There is one possible offer on the table for 2014. The Long Island Ducks, a professional baseball team on Long Island that is not associated with MLB, has said it would like to talk with Rodriguez about playing for them this year—if the Yankees agree.

This article originally appeared in CNBC.

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