Alex Rodriguez is going to be suspended as a result of MLB‘s investigation in the Biogenesis Anti-Aging Clinic in Miami. This much we know is true.

What we don’t know is when that suspension might be coming.

While MLB is set to announce suspensions for multiple players on Monday, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, A-Rod isn’t likely to hear his name called. Heyman notes that A-Rod’s representatives are trying to work out a better deal than the one currently on the table, which would keep him off of the field until 2015.

Currently on a rehab assignment for a strained quadriceps at Double-A Trenton, Rodriguez could theoretically be ready to be activated from the disabled list at some point next week.

Without their embattled third baseman, the Yankees have gotten almost no offensive production from the position. Eight players have manned the hot corner in A-Rod’s absence, combining to hit .213 with four home runs and 30 RBI through August 1. 

Of that group, only Kevin Youkilis, who has been out since mid-June with a herniated disc in his back, has manged to hit above .250 or post an OPS above .576.

Like it or not, the New York Yankees need A-Rod.

He knows it, the team knows it and the fans know it.

Yet the small window of opportunity that he has to get into a major league game this season is closing fast, and the team is caught in a catch-22 scenario.

On one hand, they want nothing to do with Rodriguez, who has been a distraction on and off of the field and is a known cheat.

On the other hand, the Yankees still consider themselves contenders and have playoff aspirations. While A-Rod won’t be around in September or October, he can help the team get there by producing at the plate for them now.

So how can A-Rod force the issue, getting at least a few games under his belt this season before it all comes crashing down around him?

Two things need to happen: He needs to stay healthy, and he needs to stop negotiating with baseball.

Sooner rather than later, the Yankees will have no choice but to activate Rodriguez from the disabled list. You can’t stash a healthy player on the DL.

If Rodriguez stops negotiating with MLB, punishment will be swift and severe.

But A-Rod is not going to go quietly into that good night. He has the means to fight any sanctions against him, whether that be via the appeals process or via litigation against MLB that includes a temporary injunction.

Either way keeps that window of opportunity open a bit longer—just long enough for him to get back on the field and into a major league game in 2013.

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