There was at one time a possibility that Alex Rodriguez could have avoided much of the mess in which he currently finds himself. Major League Baseball began informal discussions about a plea deal for a suspension of perhaps as few as 50 games last spring, but Rodriguez and his lawyers declined, according to Buster Olney and confirmed by Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk.
MLB began informal discussions with Rodriguez and his legal team some time in the spring of 2013 about the possibility of a plea deal, before Tony Bosch was persuaded to cooperate with MLB's investigation against Rodriguez. The Rodriguez team decided to shut down such discussions, though.
If said deal had come to pass, it's possible that Rodriguez would only have been suspended for as few as 50 games. He would have been back on the field in a Yankees uniform some time in the 2013 season and this whole disaster would have been behind him. Instead, he is facing a 162-game suspension, a long and brutal appeals process and perhaps even the end of his playing career. And all of it is happening under a public microscope.
This is all speculation on my part, but it seems A-Rod and his legal team rejected the deal because they were confident that MLB did not have sufficient evidence. If that were true, it seems like he probably would never have been suspended. In that context, it makes sense to reject a deal. But after MLB flipped Bosch, they apparently had the goods to drop the hammer on him A-Rod. And so they did.
It's easy right now to look back on something like this and wish that everything had gone differently. If A-Rod had taken the deal, it is likely that the only news stories mentioning him right now would be about the Yankees' aging roster. Instead, because of A-Rod's apparent petulance and MLB's apparent heavy-handedness, this sordid story will play out for a good while longer.
Woulda shoulda coulda.