Nelson Cruz's PED Link Could Have Texas Rangers Looking For Help In OF

By Thom Tsang
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The report out of Miami today linking several of MLB‘s best to an anti-aging clinic that may have supplied them with PEDs might not be the game-shattering surprise that some are deeming it to be, but it may have very dire and significant consequences to the teams involved.

The league is investigating the clinic and the report, but the wheels are already turning, with the New York Yankees supposedly looking to void Alex Rodriguez‘s mega-contract should the league validate the link. It probably won’t come to that with the Texas Rangers and Nelson Cruz, but the team may find itself very quickly scrambling for help in the outfield if any sort of punishment comes down from the league’s investigation.

By punishment, of course, I mean the minimum 50-game suspension that is handed to any players found to have used PEDs. Such a hit to Cruz would not only tarnish the Rangers’ name, but would leave the team without two of its three outfield sluggers from 2012 to start the 2013 season.

And even though GM Jon Daniels did not hit the panic button when Josh Hamilton signed with the Los Angeles Angels, you’d have to think that the potential of losing Cruz for a third of the 2013 season will get his finger closer to that point.

Though there are in-house options, like top prospect Mike Olt or Ian Kinsler, who can take Cruz’s place in such a scenario, the team’s best option may be to look elsewhere for an option, especially considering that Cruz will be a free agent after next season anyway.

I’ve written before that Giancarlo Stanton remains arguably the best fit for the team to go after for the long-term, but the Rangers may have to wait until the market for the Miami Marlins star finally opens up, and they may not be afforded the time to wait if they are unable to keep pace with their divisional rivals. The team has inquired with the Colorado Rockies, who have reportedly considered trading either Dexter Fowler or Carlos Gonzalez, but the price (Jurickson Profar, Olt) would be similar to what they would have to pay for Stanton.

As for free agency, there’s simply not much left that fits in with the power-hitting type that the Rangers are looking for. Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas throws cold water on the idea that the team could look to Michael Bourn, and it makes sense, considering that the 30-year old and his $75 million price tag would not be a fit in the team’s long-term plans.

The most frustrating thing for the Rangers and their fans, of course, is the fact that they’ll have to play an uncomfortable waiting game until the league resolves the allegations. The team has released a “no comment” statement on the report, and Cruz has also declined to speak about the subject.

Despite the silent treatment, it may not be very long until the team and the Cruz will have to say a lot more about it.

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