"I think the one thing that really has upset the fans is you cheat, you win a championship, there is no suspension, and then there's no remorse," A-Rod said during ESPN's broadcast of Tuesday's game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. "And the last one is probably the worst one because people want to see remorse. They want a real, authentic apology and they have not received that thus far."
MLB investigators in January found the Astros guilty of illegally stealing signs during the 2017 season and postseason. Houston manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow each received one-season suspensions, and team owner Jim Crane subsequently fired both. The team was also forced to forfeit its first- and second-round picks in each of the next two drafts and pay a $5-million fine.
But no player was suspended as a result of the investigation after the MLB Players Association agreed to cooperate with the probe in exchange for members' immunity.
Astros players have not spoken openly regarding the scandal, and they didn't apologize until spring training began - more than a month after MLB published its report on the team's conduct. Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman issued apologies in mid-February.
Players across MLB continued to criticize both the Astros for cheating and the league for its punishment, sparking a high-profile argument between Houston shortstop Carlos Correa and Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger.
"I served the longest suspension in Major League Baseball history," Rodriguez continued, referencing his use of performance-enhancing drugs and subsequent 211-game ban. "And it cost me well over $35 million. And you know what? I deserved that. And, as a result, I came back, I owned it after acting like a buffoon for a long time, I had my apologies, and then I went dark. And I wanted my next move to be contrite, but I also wanted to go out and play good baseball and change my narrative. And the way you change your narrative is you have to be accountable.
"You've earned all this negative talk. You've earned whatever comes your way, including whether it's hit by a pitch or negative press. You have divorced yourself from having the ability to protect yourself."
After returning from his suspension in 2015, A-Rod hit .235/.326/.445 with 42 homers over 216 games before retiring after the 2016 season. The three-time MVP was also hit by seven pitches over that span.