With the news that Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension was reduced to 162 games by Fredric Horowitz, the independent arbitrator on MLB's three-person review panel, we are forced to once again ask where these numbers come from. Given the protocol outlined in the Joint Drug Agreement's PED section—50 games for a first violation, 100 games for a second and a lifetime ban for a third— and the lack of a similarly clear guide in the Basic Agreement, it's a fair question.
In the years since his name was leaked as appearing on a list of players who failed what was supposed to be an anonymous test, Alex Rodriguez has not failed a drug test (and those years, 2001-2003, wouldn't count under the JDA, anyway). So, he did not violate the JDA via a positive test. The evidence presented against A-Rod was obtained from the very same unsavory characters MLB was investigating in South Florida, including Anthony Bosch himself. MLB even struck a deal with Bosch to indemnify him should shit get heavy for him. The league also purchased information. That is the case against A-Rod.