Major League Baseball’s
list of players suspendedfor ties to Biogenesis came out today.
While the biggest story is the ongoing Alex Rodriguez saga, only two teams in the playoff — the Rangers and Tigers — race find themselves without the services of important players.
Those two teams prepared for the looming suspensions in very different ways.
According to CBS Sports, Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers already agreed to serve his 50-game suspension without appeal. The slugging outfielder was on pace to have a career year this season, batting .269 with 27 home runs and 76 RBI. Cruz’s name has been tied to Biogenesis for months, so many were surprised when the Rangers, already in need of an outfield bat, did not make a move to acquire a replacement for Cruz at the trade deadline.
The Rangers are 62-50, only a half game behind the Cleveland Indians for the second Wild Card spot. Without Cruz, the Rangers are likely to turn to Craig Gentry to complete their outfield. Cruz’s absence will be an opportunity for top prospect Jurickson Profar to get in the lineup as a designated hitter. As exciting as Profar is, he lacks the power Cruz supplied, and the Rangers lineup will suffer.
The other suspension with playoff implications is Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers. Unlike the Rangers, the Detroit Tigers were proactive about replacing their starting shortstop before he was suspended. The Tigers acquired shortstop Jose Iglesias from the Boston Red Sox in a deadline deal last week.
Peralta was batting .305 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI. His bat will be missed but the Tigers lineup will continue to produce runs as long as Miguel Cabrera’s undisclosed issue keeping him out of games is nothing major.
The rest of the players suspended (besides A-Rod) play for teams out of contention or are players of little impact.
In an interesting twist, the Rangers have played 112 games this season, meaning Cruz will be able to return exactly in time for the team’s first playoff game if they do make the postseason. Peralta will be able to return with three games left in the regular season.
Both Cruz and Peralta will be free agents next season and it is believed they took their suspensions without appeal to complete their suspension this season and avoid any negative impact lingering games could have in offseason negotiations.
Now that Rodriguez’s suspension is announced, his appeal will be heard by August 25. Fredric Horowitz, MLB’s arbitrator, will then have 25 days to make his ruling. It is important to note that Horowitz replaced Shyam Das, who last year ruled in favour of since fallen Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun when he appealed his 2012 suspension.
Following that timeline Rodriguez would either be suspended by September 19 or exonerated through appeal. Rodriguez will reportedly play tonight on the road against the White Sox. The Yankees have 43 games on the schedule from now to September 19.
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