Update: 12:50 PM
After over 6 months of speculation, our worst fears regarding Nelson Cruz have come to pass. Major League Baseball has suspended him for 50 games, and he has accepted the suspension. This means that any playoff push will likely come with Craig Gentry taking his spot in the lineup. I, for one, am not as confident that Gentry can offer much more than defense at this point, but at the same time, I feel the schedule strength down the stretch will still allow this team to make a significant push to win the AL West.
Today has been the day we have been waiting on for some time, in which we are to likely find out the fallout from the Biogenesis investigation by Major League Baseball.
In case you've been living under a rock, the investigation directly affects Nelson Cruz and relates to alleged PED use. It's something we've been waiting to find out about since well before the season began, and we may finally be getting some resolution.
This morning, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is reporting that Cruz is among a list of players to be suspended for 50 games later today, and despite pleas from teammates to appeal, is expected to accept the suspension. If true -- and I have no reason to believe it isn't at this point -- the Rangers will lose one of their only power threats in the middle of the lineup.
At the trade deadline, the Rangers decided to stand pat, instead deciding to rely on the current roster to get things done. There have been many questions raised as to what the Rangers would do if this came to pass, and for their part, the front office has been very quiet about it.
On Friday, the club claimed infielder Adam Rosales off of waivers from the Oakland Atheletics. The prevailing thought was that Rosales would become the utility infielder, Engel Beltre would be sent back to AAA (which he was), and that Jurickson Profar would slide into the outfield in the event that Nelson Cruz was suspended.
Ron Washington put that idea to rest over the weekend, basically claiming that the Profar outfield experiment was going on the shelf for at least the rest of this season. If that is indeed the case, I'm left to wonder what exactly the point was in claiming Rosales, as Engel Beltre provided a spark off of the bench as well as being a late-inning defensive replacement and pinch runner. Unless the team is prepared to release Rosales, it appears there would be a newfound logjam as it relates to the utility infield position.
We don't yet know the extent that this scandal will affect the Rangers, but assuming this suspension comes down, Cruz will be lost for essentially the rest of the regular season, and would be eligible for any postseason play that the Rangers qualify for. In any event, the Rangers will need to heavily rely on pitching and smart baseball to get things done until that time.
More to come as details emerge.