The Texas Rangers may have to face the reality that being without Nelson Cruz could be more than a foregone conclusion. That is, if Major League Baseball and Tony Bosch have anything to say about it.
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You might remember Bosch as the former creator of Biogenesis wellness clinic that was busted for allegedly providing performance enhancing drugs to guys like Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, Melky Cabrera, and Bartolo Colon according to a list of names found at the facility. However, Cruz’s name was also on that list.
Normally, according to MLB rules, a first offense for PED’s is a 50-game suspension. However, according to reports, that penalty could go up to 100 games on certain players. While it’s not known which players are going to get the 100 game bans, it certainly shouldn’t be ruled out that the Rangers may have to go over a plan B if their current right fielder is a part of that lengthy suspension.
With David Murphy and Leonys Martin occupying the left and center field roles respectively, does the team trust the duo of Craig Gentry and Jeff Baker to take over full time? Or would they just give the job to Baker outright and let him get a chance to play every day just to see how much his bat helps in the lineup? They know what it can do; he’s shown flashes of power when he’s gotten a chance to play, but what will his offensive ability do to the lineup for the next 100 games?
It will certainly hurt the Rangers losing a guy who is currently tied for fourth in home runs (14) and fourth in RBI (40) in all of baseball. You don’t just make up that kind of offensive output overnight.
While Cruz certainly isn’t going to comment to the media about the story that broke Tuesday evening, it has to be in the back of his head that he could be missing a significant amount of time thanks to a bad decision he made either during this past offseason, during the 2012 season itself or sometime before both.
More than likely, the Rangers front office has gathered to talk about what to do. They have scenario A and scenario B. A, for if Cruz is lost for 50 games and, B, if he’s lost for 100 games, which would be the majority of what’s left of the 2013 regular season.
Don’t put it past the Texas Rangers to lob a few phones calls outside the organization to possibly kick the tires on a few available outfielders. While it’s unlikely the Rangers are going to show any panic at all, both to the public as well as to other teams, they do have to wonder just how much the offense is going to suffer without a guy like Nelson Cruz.
We may not know the final decision of Major League Baseball for another few weeks or possibly more than that. What we do know is they have enough evidence to begin the penalty conversation — making the ultimate point to those around baseball who are even considering performance enhancing drugs.
Baseball wants to be done with them once and for all and, even though they know it’s a longshot, especially because there will be other clinics like the one formerly run by Bosch who will know how to get around the rules, making a big statement here could be a big step in the right direction for them.
For Cruz, as well as for the Rangers, could this be the final nail in the coffin in the relationship between the two sides and make the decision on whether or not they bring him back for the long haul?
That decision is still a long ways away. There are bigger issues at hand, issues that will affect the team this season.
How will Cruz be viewed by the Ranger fan base? Will they forgive him? It certainly seems like that might be the case especially because they’ve cheered his home runs all season thus far, even though his name was part of this investigation before the 2013 season ever began.
Either Rangers fans have forgotten that bit of information or they were just going to enjoy this ride while it lasted.
Will it be 50 games or will it be 100 games? That is the million dollar question with an answer that still might be some time away.