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Well, the day has come. In a report from ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Major League Baseball now has the key evidence it needs to begin pursuing suspensions for 20 players, including Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun and, yes, Nelson Cruz.
Back in January a report came out linking Cruz, Rodriguez and Braun, along with a handful of other MLB players, and athletes in other sports, to a Miami clinic called Biogenesis, owned by Tony Bosch.
At that time, Bosch was remaining silent on whether or not Biogenesis had, in fact, provided performance enhancing drugs to professional athletes. During a search of Biogenesis’ offices, a ledger was uncovered that had code names for all of the athletes they were working with. Once it was clear Bosch was not going to cooperate, the MLB filed a lawsuit against him, claiming tortious interference.
However, it seems like Bosh has changed his tune, and is now cooperating with the MLB. From the Outside the Lines report:
Sources said Bosch will meet with MLB officials in New York on Friday to begin sharing information and materials. He is expected to meet with lawyers and investigators for several days. The announcement of suspensions could follow within two weeks.
Sources said discussions between Bosch and MLB were delayed while Bosch’s lawyers spoke to the U.S. Attorney’s office to get a sense of what sort of legal jeopardy Bosch might face. Before he would agree to a deal, sources said, he wanted an assurance that MLB could help mitigate any criminal exposure. MLB officials promised to do what they could, but do not have the power to stop a federal criminal investigation.
It’s not 100% certain that Cruz will be suspended, but it;s almost 100% certain that he will be one of the guys the MLB goes after. If Crus does end up getting suspended, it will probably be for 50 games. However, don’t suspect any suspension to come down soon. Think about it, if the MLB is going to interview Bosch and all of the suspected users, we could see suspensions handed out as late as August.
Cruz will likely fight any suspension brought down on him, and will try to bring Bosch’s credibility into question. Bosch has claimed in the past that he doesn’t know anything about PEDs, and that statement could be used against him. However, it’s unlikely that any petition or protest would result in an overruling.
So, with this in mind, the Rangers need to start thinking about what their outfield and lineup look like if Cruz gets suspended and is out for the majority of the second half of the season.
The first thing that comes to mind would be to move Leonys Martin to right field full time, and insert Craig Gentry into center.
That still leaves a big power bat hole in the middle of the lineup, which leads me to think that the Rangers could give rookie Jurickson Profar a shot in the outfield.
Another scenario would be to shift Kinsler to the outfield (likely left field) and have Profar play second base. Profar has shown signs of good power in his time up with the Rangers, and could be the answer to filling that void.
Of course, that’s all speculation at this point. We’ll need to keep an eye on the MLB’s proceedings for now.