New York Yankees’ All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez was banned for PED use in 2014 and people are convinced that he has fallen off of the wagon again.
This performance prompted the most obvious question: Did A-Rod use PEDs in 2015?
Wallace Matthews and Andrew Marchand believe A-rod is not a “changed man,” as they recently reported for ESPN.
The two ESPN columnists talk about how A-Rod may have not fully learned from his mistakes in the past, and also suggest that the caliber season Rodriguez had in 2015 is hard to believe for someone in their 40s.
The two hint at the idea that Rodriguez is using PEDs on some level to this day.
“The other thing that can’t be ruled out is how the heck did he do it last year? I mean, two hip surgeries, his 40th birthday and basically two years of inactivity and A-Rod was great for three-quarters of the season. My mom taught me a long time ago, if it is too good to be true, it usually is. That said, maybe A-Rod was doing things on the up and up — but at this point, it would be naive not to at least wonder if he still had some extra help.”
“Unfortunately, baseball and all professional sports have made this dirty bed for themselves and it’s not only naive, but irresponsible for us as journalists not to suspect hanky-panky when an athlete of an advanced age does something it seems unlikely he would be able to do. I’ll give Alex the benefit of the doubt on 2015, but would be very surprised if he were able to remain healthy all season and produce like that again in 2016.”
A-Rod’s PED use has been speculated more times than none, so if he were to get busted once again, it would not be surprising.
PEDs or not, Rodriguez was a stud, so the fact that he put up a good year in the later part of his career is completely normal.
Pete Rose hit .325 when he was 40, so it is not out of the ordinary for great players to play well at the tail end of their career.
Rodriguez is a career .297/.382/.554 hitter who always had extra ordinary power. That and the fact that he plays 81 games a year in Yankee Stadium.
This should not be cause for concern, especially when he belts out 30+ home runs at the tail end of his career.
The phrase “innocent until proven guilty” is one that should be applied with Rodriguez, despite the fact he has been proven guilty more than once.
Rodriguez never failed a drug test in 2015 and was never connected to PED use. So, in no way, shape, or form is there any evidence that could suggest Rodriguez was taking a banned substance in 2015.
The only reason that Rodriguez and his connection to PED use is still relevant is because he had a solid year in ’15.
If Rodriguez hit .200 with 10 home runs in 2015, this situation would not be a issue.
It is not out of the ordinary for older players to string together good seasons.
Tony Gwynn hit .338 when he was 39, Ty Cobb hit .357 at 40, and Hank Aaron belted 20 home runs at 40. They were great players that were able to string together productive seasons at the tail end of their careers.
So why is Rodriguez viewed differently?
Because he used PEDs in his past? Because he owns one of the biggest contracts in sports history?
Because he is a New York Yankee?
Sure, he is one of the biggest names the game has seen in the past decade, but you can’t judge a player’s current production based on his sketchy past.
Rodriguez served his punishment for his prior PED use, and has not been connected to anything illegal since his punishment.
Until concrete evidence comes to light that Rodriguez used some sort of PED in 2015, speculation or juicing talk should not be relevant.
We are talking about the 40-year-old A-Rod, not the young, foolish A-Rod.
Innocent until proven guilty; remember that when it comes to Alex Rodriguez.