For the first time since 2005; when the Texas Rangers pencil in their line-up, they won’t have Nelson Cruz available. Instead, the nine-year MLB veteran and two-time All-Star has been suspended by the league for 50 games and Texas likely won’t welcome him back for the postseason, although it’s completely the team’s discretion on whether they want Cruz on the roster for the playoff run.
Considering the Rangers’ offense is already scuffling, it appears Texas is going to have to do something different in the outfield. Well, there is another steroid user in the Rangers’ minor-league system, who has been around the MLB block once or twice.
In 24 games with the Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate, Ramirez has three home runs and a batting average of .267. While reports have surfaced that Texas isn’t interested in calling Ramirez up to the big leagues, the thought process in the Lone Star State might have changed now that Cruz will be out of action for at least 50 games.
While the Rangers’ lineup still has Adrian Beltre, it lacks right-handed hitters who can drive in runs — Ramirez has drove in 12 runs in 99 plate appearances with the Round Rock Express.
To be honest: Texas really doesn’t have many options when it comes to replacing a difference maker like Cruz. Therefore, Ramirez should emerge as a possible replacement candidate, who’s biggest attribute is his postseason success — in in 111 playoff games Ramirez has smashed 29 home runs and drove in 67 runs.
When October comes around, Ramirez’s name should be buzzing around MLB clubhouses.