Jhonny Peralta has served his 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis and has returned to the Detroit Tigers in left field. Nelson Cruz, too, has just been reactivated by the Texas Rangers and is likely to play in the Wild Card round.
Both men are available for the playoffs, but if these organizations have any integrity, neither of these stars will play.
I get that they’ve gone through baseball’s legal system. They were caught for an offense, served their suspensions and can now return to their teams. But it’s this perspective of legal technicalities that allowed Alex Rodriguez to continue playing while he waited for his 211-game suspension appeal to be heard.
This is not the first time a playoff team has had a key player return from a PED-related suspension. Only last year, the San Francisco Giants went through the same predicament with Melky Cabrera. After serving a 50-game suspension, Cabrera was eligible to rejoin the team in the middle of the postseason.
But rather than allowing a known PED user play and potentially taint their season, the Giants rightfully kept Cabrera on the restricted list throughout the playoffs as they went on the win the 2012 World Series.
This is a precedent that the Tigers and Rangers should follow. Because the Giants won the World Series without Cabrera, nobody has questioned the legitimacy of the title. Even though both Peralta and Cruz are eligible to play again, if either the Tigers or Rangers win the World Series with these players in their lineups, the championship will be tainted.
Last year, the Giants proved that a team can still win despite losing a bat in the middle of the order. The Tigers and Rangers can do it too. MLB cannot prevent these two men from playing, but their teams can, and if they have any respect for the game of baseball and the way it should be played, Peralta and Cruz will not make an appearance this October.