With the way he’s hitting, Alex Rodriguez looks likely to soon join Willie Mays on the career home run chart. But the controversy surrounding this achievement will take longer to resolve.

In fact, the hearing to decide whether A-Rod will get a $6 million bonus for tying Mays with 660 homers might be tabled until the offseason. Usually, arbitrations are expedited when they involve a suspension such as the last time A-Rod entered baseball’s legal arena. There is no reason to speed this case along, especially because neither the Yankees nor A-Rod seem anxious to mess with the positive vibe around the controversial slugger.

Rodriguez, who went 1-for-4 in the Yankees’ 13-4 win over the Tigers, has 658 career homers. Assuming he hits two more, the process for this saga officially will unroll. It’s a process that took life in the autumn of 2007, when A-Rod and the Yankees negotiated a unique, unprecedented marketing agreement to get him $30 million on top of his $275 million guaranteed — based on the premise Rodriguez had a chance to upend Barry Bonds as the all-time home run king.

According to two sources familiar with the situation, when Rodriguez goes deep with number 660, the Yankees will have a precise period of time — two weeks, as per one of the sources — to declare this as a marketable milestone. If they were to do this, then Rodriguez would sign over the rights to his image and associated branding for the price of $6 million.

The same drill would go into effect should A-Rod tie Babe Ruth (714), Hank Aaron (755) and Bonds (762), as well as pass Bonds with his 763rd homer.

But the Yankees have no intention of making such a declaration, as they feel A-Rod’s rich history of illegal performance-enhancing drug usage renders his accomplishments unmarketable. Once the Yankees formalize this decision, then A-Rod has a set period of time — 30 days, according to one source — to file a grievance. Though Rodriguez has shied away from publicly discussing this, every indication is that he will challenge the Yankees’ interpretation of the side deal.