With Sunday's deadline to agree on a settlement approaching, ESPN's T.J. Quinn and Andrew Marchand are reporting that Major League Baseball will announce on Monday that Alex Rodriguez is suspended through the 2014 season.
This news come just hours after the New York Daily News reported that MLB refused an 11th hour attempt by Players Association chief Michael Weiner to open up dialogue with the commissioner's office in hopes of negotiating a settlement.
Several sources familiar with the talks said tense deliberations between Rodriguez and commissioner Bud Selig's office broke down completely Saturday after Selig told officials he would no longer negotiate.
One source told OTL that MLBPA executive director Michael Weiner called MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred on Saturday asking for a meeting between the union, MLB, the Yankees and Rodriguez's camp, but MLB refused.
MLB has said repeatedly that the Yankees have no place in negotiations and that discipline was the domain of Selig and no one else, a source said. Several sources also said that Selig was "furious" with Rodriguez for telling reporters he would not negotiate, even as his attorneys sought a deal to mitigate MLB's looming punishment.
The report also notes that MLB is prepared to suspend 12 other players on Monday, so it's likely to be a chaotic day.
Based on the new information in ESPN's report, it would appear A-Rod's comments on Friday night were the tipping point for Bud Selig. But as Yahoo! Sports Jeff Passan and Tim Brown added late Saturday night, despite these initial reports, the door could still be cracked open for A-Rod to strike a settlement.
Despite the posturing, sources believe if Rodriguez were to approach the league before its 6 p.m. ET deadline Sunday and accept a penalty close to the 214 games the league is seeking, MLB would consider a compromise. At this point, following behind-closed-doors bickering and strong accusations against Rodriguez, neither party considers that possibility altogether likely.
Given how this situation has played out over the last several months, I don't think anything can be counted out completely. There's still a long, long way to go in terms of which direction this will end up heading after Monday, but the pieces of that first puzzle appear to be in place. Now we sit back — again — and wait for the official word to finally come down.