Had he cooperated from the start, he could have gotten off with only a 50-game suspension. He wouldn't have missed out on the $25 million that he'll lose from sitting out the 2014 season, and he would be back in action already, preparing for spring training and a full season.
As reported by Buster Olney, via Hardball Talk:
If Rodriguez had agreed to something last spring, before MLB investigators had all the Biogenesis details from Bosch, Rodriguez might’ve been able to barter for a suspension for something close to 50 games, or what a first-time offender gets for a first positive PED test. If he had taken responsibility then, owned up and made his best possible deal, then A-Rod probably would’ve been back on the field late in the 2013 season, with the whole matter behind him.
Instead, A-Rod took on the MLB full force, and despite a reduction in his original suspension, there's really no way around the fact that he most certainly lost in the end.
Do you think it was the right decision to suspend him for the entire season? Or is MLB and the arbitrator being too heavy-handed?
It's obvious that A-Rod should have cooperated a little more from the start, but this is what happens when you're trying to fight the system. When MLB wants to make an example of someone, there's really no getting around it.