Alex Rodriguez is likely to be suspended as soon as Tuesday, according to reports, but if he appeals, it delays the start of the suspension. In order to circumvent this, commissioner Bud Selig is reportedly prepared to invoke a power exclusive to his office that would allow him to ban A-Rod to protect "the integrity of the game" according to the Daily News.
Article XI, Section A1B of the collective bargaining agreement outlines the ability of the commissioner to hear an appeal for punishments handed out under that clause, meaning the fate of Rodriguez would not be in the hands of an arbitrator -- considering Selig and his office reportedly have access to loads of evidence that are causing them to invoke this clause to keep A-Rod from ever stepping foot on an MLB field ever again, you can probably safely assume what the outcome of said appeal process would be. He's been pre-judged, though, from the sounds of it, with good reason -- the Daily News reports that MLB has evidence of PED use in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and hundreds of emails, texts, and phone call records to back up those claims.
The question isn't whether or not Selig and MLB can attempt to invoke this clause, it's what the reaction of the MLBPA will be. Will they defend Rodriguez from MLB's circumventing of the rules and avoidance of the Joint Drug Agreement procedures, or are the union's constituents so tired of A-Rod that they agree that he damages the integrity of the game and their livelihood? It's a fascinating question, and while it's hard to believe they would leave A-Rod to fend for himself, at the same time, the MLBPA has been encouraging players to just settle with MLB and take the suspension, rather than appeal, if the evidence is overwhelming -- as it was very recently for Ryan Braun.
It's something of a short-sighted approach, given the MLBPA would be ceding power to MLB in the process, but if that's what it takes to fix the reputations of clean players, well, you can see why it might be appealing to them, and why A-Rod just might be in trouble.