Early Tuesday morning, a report from the Miami New Times named Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, along with Alex Rodriguez, Melky Cabrera, and Yasmani Grandal, in connection with performance enhancing drugs purchased from a Miami clinic.
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The Rangers made a statement confirming they had been contacted by the Miami New Times about the story, and that Texas had, in turn, contacted Major League Baseball to notify them as well.
While no decisions have been made on the future of any of these players, it could land each a 50-game suspension depending on whether the evidence, and facts, hold up. For Cruz, however, this might very well need to be the only thing the Rangers need to move on.
To make a long story short, it might be time for the two sides to part ways.
More than a year removed from the 2011 World Series, and the infamous “should have caught that” in game six, Nelson Cruz seems to be the guy everyone remembers for a play he didn’t make. A play that would have brought the Texas Rangers their very first World Series title in franchise history. Instead, they watched the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate just one game later.
While Cruz has had his share of dramatic postseason home runs for this team, but with their chase of Justin Upton, and the lingering rumors of Giancarlo Stanton, it might be time for the Rangers, and general manager Jon Daniels, to begin looking at other options.
They chased Upton as far as they could before Arizona traded him to the Atlanta Braves, and there are constant trade winds blowing around Miami Marlins young outfielder Stanton.
Until this entire scenario plays itself out, there’s no sense in calling around to other teams looking for a trade partner. Daniels would be crazy to think there would be any takers after one of his players just got named in connection with performance enhancing drugs. Although, Toronto signed Melky Cabrera less than six months after he tested positive and was suspended, so maybe it’s not a crazy idea after all.
After Josh Hamilton packed his bags and moved out west to join the Los Angeles Angels, most thought it would be quiet around Texas’ spring training complex. Mostly because there wouldn’t be any questions involving dip, a dropped fly ball, or a season that ended with a thud.
Now, with Cruz being named in this type of report, the drama will begin all over again. Only this time, the media will swarm the locker of another player and ask him questions about what he’s been taking and why his name is in this report.
The Rangers don’t need this kind of publicity. This news couldn’t have come at a worse time.
But maybe this is a good thing for the Texas Rangers. Maybe this is the motivation they needed to move on from Nelson Cruz. It would be a big loss in power production in this lineup, but is keeping him worth the constant questions and scrutiny with every home run that jumps off his bat?
The San Francisco Giants didn’t want to deal with the distraction of having Cabrera on their roster during the playoffs and World Series and decided not to bring him back when he hit free agency. Rumors are floating that the New York Yankees are quietly takling about trading Alex Rodriguez and, now with these allegations, especially after Rodriguez said he hadn’t taken PED’s is almost a decade, those rumors may get a little more hot and heavy.
So, how much do the Rangers want to distance themselves from Cruz? Do they want to throw their full support behind him, especially if he comes out and denies the allegations?
Where there was once talk of a contract extension, talks may now turn into several different trade scenarios.
A trade may not be best for this team offensively, but it might be best as a whole to keep this distraction from hanging over them for the entire season. Allegations of performance-enhancing drugs don’t go away, with or without suspension, just ask guys like Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, who had the same allegations hanging over their heads even after their playing days were over.
Nelson Cruz isn’t the same caliber player as a Clemens or Bonds, but it doesn’t mean this won’t hang over his head for the forseeable future.