New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez has been threatened by Major League Baseball with a lifetime ban if he agrees not to fight a lengthy suspension for his connections to performance-enhancing drugs and Biogenesis of America.

A permanent ban could be shortened to 200 games by arbitrator Frederic Horowitz. In 1992, Steve Howe was banned for life for his seventh suspension of drug and alcohol use, but an arbitrator reduced Howe's suspension to 119 games.

For Rodriguez, this isn't the first time that he's been rumored to use performance-enhancing drugs. Four years ago in 2009, Rodriguez admitted the use of performance-enhancing drugs while playing for the Texas Rangers from 2001-2003. He has denied using them since.

In MLB, first time offenders for performance-enhancing drugs receive a 50-game suspension, second time offenders receive a 100-game suspension, and third time offenders receive a lifetime ban.

Rodriguez would be facing a 100-game ban if MLB commissioner Bud Selig goes by the current punishments for taking performance-enhancing drugs.

However, with Rodriguez's history, the possibility of a ban for life has been speculated for the star third baseman.

Baseball has been weak on suspensions in the past for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, and as result, players are continually pushing the line by taking banned substances. A ban for life would give baseball a bright spot, as the sport needs to take a stance on the biggest scandal in its history, arguably. If MLB players were threatened with the possibility of a ban for life for the use of banned substances, baseball would be sending the right message. A message that would tell current professional players, college players, and youth baseball players that its not right to cheat, lie and hide from performance-enhancing drugs.

One thing is for sure, Rodriguez will likely be suspended, along with 14 others for their involvements with Biogenesis of America. This means baseball isn't ignoring the use of banned substances at least.

All in all, whether MLB will give Rodriguez a lifetime ban, or a longer suspension, baseball needs to start taking a more difficult approach to clean up America's pastime.