Former Seattle Mariner and current New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez is now in the crosshairs of Major League Baseball's most serious steroid investigation ever.
Earlier this week, MLB suspended superstar Ryan Braun a whopping 65 games. And that may pale in comparison to how hard the league is going to hit A-Rod. We're hearing 100 games, 150 games, even a lifetime ban.
"What we're hearing from baseball is that they're viewing A-Rod as being more of a serial user of performance-enhancing drugs with a longer history than Ryan Braun," says Scott Miller, the national baseball columnist for CBSSports.com.
710 ESPN Seattle's Danny O'Neil says MLB wants to avoid the appeals process with A-Rod.
"I think that you're seeing a ramping up of pressure to get Alex Rodriguez to accept a punishment and not go through an appeals process and to drag this out, that they would like to have closure on it."
David Epstein, with Sports Illustrated, tells CBS the threat of a lifetime ban is a strong negotiating stance.
"Major League Baseball clearly is going after Alex Rodriguez for multiple offenses. Not only the use of performance-enhancing drugs, but an attempt to buy documents before Major League Baseball could get them as part of the investigation," says Epstein. "So depending on how many offenses they look at, they might put a lifetime ban on the table and then it would be in Alex Rodriguez's court to try to negotiate a lesser penalty."
But USA Today is reporting that A-Rod doesn't appear to want to "play ball," so to speak. Two sources tell the national paper that Rodriguez has no intention of making a deal with Major League Baseball and currently plans to appeal any potential suspension. This of course is also a negotiating stance, so we'll just have to wait and see.
O'Neil says the league would love to settle this up quickly, ideally in the next two or three weeks.
"The two biggest players were Rodriguez and Braun and to have those punishments kind of agreed to and not have the appeal process go in place would be a significant achievement for Major League Baseball because it kind of tidies this up."
And no matter what happens, Sport's Illustrated's Epstein says the strength of this investigation clearly demonstrates the league's commitment to ending steroid abuse.
"I think everybody that followed thought that baseball would get tougher on performance-enhancing drugs. I don't know that anybody thought we'd get to the point where a league that is doing self-policing would be looking at a lifetime ban for one of its biggest stars."
A-Rod is looking more and more like baseball's Lance Armstrong.