LOS ANGELES, August 7, 2013 — Of the 13 players suspended on Monday, only two players are in a position to potentially help their teams in the postseason, Nelson Cruz of the Texas Rangers and Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers. They are eligible to return at the end of the season, but will they be welcomed back by their teams? Should they be welcomed back by their teams?
The Texas Rangers are still on the fence as to whether allowing Nelson Cruz to return to the team for the postseason would be a good idea or not. General Manager Jon Daniels said that decision starts with the players and “if his teammates welcome him back and Nellie handles this well, which I expect he probably will, then we’re open to it.”
Nelson Cruz so far this year has put up better numbers than anybody that Texas will probably be able to acquire to replace him. He would be a major boost to the Rangers should they make the postseason. They currently trail the Oakland A’s by a half game and hold a game and a half lead over Baltimore and Cleveland for the final Wild Card spot.
There is less of a question mark as to whether the Detroit Tigers will make the playoffs than with Texas. The question mark in Detroit is in regards to Jhonny Peralta. The Tigers have been non-committal on whether or not Peralta will be allowed to return to the team for the playoffs.
The Tigers acquired the slick-fielding Jose Iglesias from Boston in a trade deadline deal. If Iglesias steps in and fills Peralta’s void, it will be easy for Detroit to take the high road and tell Peralta he is not welcomed back.
However, if Jose Iglesias stumbles and bringing Peralta back would be an obvious upgrade, Detroit would have a tougher decision to make on allowing him to return or not. A World Series for the city of Detroit could not come at a better time.
A recent comparison here occurred just last year. The San Francisco Giants lost Melky Cabrera for the remainder of the 2012 season because he tested positive for banned substances that turned out to be from the Biogenesis clinic. Cabrera’s 50 game ban would end in time for him to re-join the team during the playoffs. He would have provided an offensive spark and helped the team.
The Giants did what every team should do. They told Melky Cabrera to stay home. He was no longer welcomed on the team after getting caught cheating. What San Francisco did was not an easy choice, but it was the right choice. The Giants took a stand. There is no way to tell if it was due to some sort of baseball karma or not, but the Giants did end up winning the World Series last year without using Tim Lincecum as a starter.
Both teams could continue what the Giants started by publicly saying today that these two guys are not going to be allowed to come back if they were to make the postseason. There has been a lot of talk from other players about wanting a cleaner game. There are more and more stories about players starting to stand up against the proven cheaters.
Here is the perfect opportunity to put some actions behind those words. If players turn their backs on these guys, teams will follow suit and perhaps that risk will become a real deterrent for players who are tempted to use PEDs. Giving them a suspension, be it 50 games or 211 games, and then allowing these guys to either collect millions on multi-year contracts or sign new contracts for millions afterwards does nothing to stop the cheaters from trying.
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