Alex Rodriguez has sued Major League Baseball, claiming it has a “witch hunt” to push him out of baseball.
The lawsuit filed late Thursday and first reported by The New York Times, claims that MLB bought the cooperation of Anthony Bosch, the founder of the now-defunct Miami-area anti-aging clinic Biogenesis that is at the heart of baseball’s latest performance-enhancing drug investigation.
The complaint alleges a transaction in which an MLB investigator paid $150,000 for records which could implicate Rodriguez. Some of the cash “was handed off in a bag at a Fort Lauderdale, Florida, area restaurant,” according to the lawsuit.
The suit contends that MLB engaged in “tortious interference,” that affected Rodriguez’s contract and business ventures. Rodriguez is owed $86 million during the final four years of the 10-year, $275 million contract he signed with the Yankees before the 2008 season. He can also make an additional $30 million in bonuses based on home run milestones.
The suit names commissioner Bud Selig as a defendant and says that he and MLB officials have “been engaged in tortious and egregious conduct with one, and only one, goal: to improperly marshal evidence that they hope to use to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez, one of the most accomplished Major League Baseball players of all time.”
Rodriguez was suspended on Aug. 5. MLB has alleged that Biogenesis, under Bosch’s direction, provided performance-enhancing drugs to Rodriguez and other players. Rodriguez also was disciplined for violations of the Basic Agreement for what MLB said was obstructing its investigation.
Rodriguez’s arbitration hearing was scheduled to continue Friday at MLB’s headquarters in Manhattan.
“The entire legal dynamic is very complex, and my legal team is doing what they need to in order to vindicate me and pursue all of my rights,” Rodriguez said through his spokesman, Ron Berkowitz, in a statement posted to ESPN.com. “This matter is entirely separate from the ongoing arbitration proceedings continuing, and for the day to come when I can share my story with the public and my supporters.”
After recovering from offseason hip surgery, Rodriguez returned to the Yankees’ lineup on Aug. 5 – the same day MLB announced the lengthiest ban issued against a player for alleged PED use. Rodriguez appealed the decision and hit .244 with a .348 on-base percentage and seven home runs in 44 games.
Rodriguez had previously admitted to using PEDs from 2001-2003 but has reportedly never failed a drug test.
Rodriguez’s legal team which filed the complaint includes attorneys from Reed Smith LLP, Tacopina Seigel & Turano, P.C. and Gordon & Rees LLP.