NEW YORK -- In the final analysis, the arbitrator found the word of a "drug dealer'' to be more credible than that of Alex Rodriguez.
A combination of the testimony of Anthony Bosch, the notebooks documenting Rodriguez's drug protocols, and hundreds of text messages exchanged between the two men were enough to convince Fredric Horowitz that Rodriguez "clearly and convincingly'' committed "multiple violations'' of baseball's Joint Drug Agreement.
And the most convincing evidence, to Horowitz, was the testimony and handwritten records of Bosch, who was baseball's key witness against Rodriguez. The result was an unprecedented 162-game suspension handed down by Horowitz on Saturday, a reduction of MLB's original 211-game ban but still more than three times the penalty stipulated by baseball's JDA for a first-time offender.
The 162-game ban, Horowitz wrote, was due to his finding that Rodriguez, who declined to testify in his own defense, was guilty of using three distinct banned substances, and as such was subject to three distinct penalties of 50 games each.
Horowitz wrote he also factored in "Rodriguez'[s] obstruction of MLB's investigation'' and "the prolonged time period ... with which he used or possessed the three Prohibited Substances.''
"While the length of the suspension may be unprecedented for a MLB player,'' Horowitz wrote, "so is the misconduct he committed.''
Horowitz's written ruling, which was sealed at the time of its issuance due to the confidentiality agreement in baseball's collective bargaining agreement, was made public Monday as one of the exhibits in Rodriguez's attempt to have the suspension vacated by a federal court judge.
That lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Monday, names MLB, the MLBPA and the Office of the Commissioner, and singles out Horowitz for being biased and ruling outside the scope of the punishments stipulated in baseball's JDA.
The 35-page opinion painstakingly lays out baseball's case against Rodriguez, including reproductions of records for drug protocols prepared by Bosch, the proprietor of the now-shuttered Biogenesis anti-aging clinic.
Despite acknowledging that Rodriguez has never failed an MLB-administered drug test -- in fact, Horowitz documents that Rodriguez tested negative for PEDs 12 times between October 2010 and August 2013 -- the arbitrator ruled that "the conclusion is manifest that in 2010 Rodriguez committed three distinct violations of the JDA'' in using testosterone, IGF-1 (Insulin Growth Factor) and human growth hormone, all banned substances.
Scott Boras, Rodriguez's former agent, said that the ruling and MLB's decision to protect Bosch, has revealed a flaw in the system.
"The integrity of the game is only partially served when a known pusher is exonerated, when the genesis of this entire problem is now given a forum and compensation and is not behind bars for the distribution and promoting the use of illegal drugs, not only to baseball players but all members of the sporting community and youth," Boras told Fox Sports.
"Until we rectify that problem, we have not addressed the central issue of eradicating PEDs from professional sports. ... If these individuals go free, it promotes behavior to create processes to distribute PEDs, knowing the league's focus is on the players, not on the distributors of drugs."
Horowitz's decision also reveals that Rodriguez's cousin, Yuri Sucart -- previously identified by Rodriguez in 2009 as his procurer of banned substances when he admitted to having used steroids with the Texas Rangers -- introduced him to Bosch. Horowitz also acknowledged Bosch was a "drug dealer'' who was engaged in illegal activities but found that did not "refute or undermine the findings of JDA violations.''
In fact, Horowitz wrote that he found Bosch's testimony in the appeal hearing to be "direct, credible and squarely corroborated'' by hundreds of pages of evidence presented in the form of notebooks stolen from Biogenesis and later obtained by investigators for Major League Baseball. He rejected the claims of Rodriguez and his attorneys that the notebooks were unreliable and possibly forgeries.
Horowitz also cited more than 500 BlackBerry text messages exchanged between Rodriguez and Bosch as support for Bosch's testimony.
"When viewed as a whole, the hundreds of messages exchanged between Bosch and Rodriguez plainly support the findings of JDA violations contained herein,'' Horowitz wrote.
The arbitrator acknowledged some deficiencies in MLB's case -- including flaws in its testing procedures that allowed Rodriguez to evade detection repeatedly despite being subject to random testing -- but said the flaws "do not eviscerate credible testimony'' from Bosch.
"The only reasonable inference to be drawn from the weight of the evidence,'' Horowitz wrote, "is that Rodriguez violated the JDA as alleged.''