Former Yankees manager Buck Showalter is managing the enemy and has no problem showing where his colors now lie.
Showalter spoke to USA Today on Wednesday and blasted the Yankees for signing Alex Rodriguez to a 10-year, $275 million extension in 2008. Showalter was asked about the likely suspension of Rodriguez over his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal and took aim at the monetary ramifications of a suspension.
Should Rodriguez be suspended — and reports indicate the league is even looking into a lifetime ban — the Yankees won't have to pay a chunk of his contract.
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"If [MLB Commissioner] Bud [Selig] lets them get away with that, they're under the luxury tax," Showalter told USA Today. "If they can reset, they can spend again and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York."
Wieters, the Orioles' starting catcher and arguably face of the franchise, is a free agent in two years. The Yankees have publicly stated they plan to be under the $189 million luxury tax figure by 2014. Removing the $20+ million Rodriguez is owed over each of the next four years would open up the opportunity to go out and sign a new big-money free agent.
Rodriguez, 38, still has $86 million remaining on his deal over the next four seasons. Bonus money could increase that figure to as much as $120 million, though it now appears unlikely he'll reach the lofty home run totals required to earn all of that.
Showalter believes the Yankees should have to pay Rodriguez regardless of whether he is suspended — even if he is banned from MLB.
"They're the ones who signed him to that contract," Showalter said.
As far as where the suspension process currently stands, Rodriguez is reportedly negotiating a suspension plan with the league. Selig has reportedly threatened a lifetime ban, possibly in order to bring Rodriguez's representatives to the bargaining table after they previously publicly stated they would contest any suspension.
Brewers slugger Ryan Braun negotiated a season-ending ban earlier this month in much the same fashion, though the evidence against Rodriguez is reportedly more damning. The Brewers are off the hook for the pro-rated remainder of Braun's 2013 salary — about $3.1 million.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.