suspending 13 players for their connection to Biogenesis, a now-shuttered Miami clinic that provided performance-enhancing drugs to baseball players and other athletes.
The suspended are (in alphabetical order): Philadelphia pitcher Antonio Bastardo, San Diego shortstop Everth Cabrera, New York Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli, Texas right fielder Nelson Cruz (pictured), minor league pitcher Fautino De Los Santos, minor league pitcher Sergio Escalona, minor league outfielder Fernando Martinez, minor league catcher Jesus Montero, free agent pitcher Jordan Norberto, Detroit shortstop Jhonny Peralta, minor league outfielder Cesar Puello, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez and minor league utility player Jordany Valdespin.
Twelve of the 13 players received 50-game suspensions. The notable exception being Rodriguez, who was suspended 211 games for being a repeat offender, reportedly recruiting other players to the Biogenesis clinic and impeding MLB's investigation into the matter.
Twelve of the 13 players accepted their punishment. The notable exception being Rodriguez, who filed an appeal that will allow him to continue playing until a judgment is made. Rodriguez, who just returned from a hip injury, went 1-for-4 in his season debut Monday night -- an 8-1 loss to the White Sox.
As expected, a media circus surrounded Rodriguez. My reaction to him is basically, "Who cares?" The guy is a liar and a cheater. His appeal is going to be denied. He's going to be suspended for the 2014 season, and we'll probably never seen him in a big league uniform after that. The Yankees are a fourth-place team in the rugged AL East, and the 38-year-old Rodriguez's return to the lineup figures to have little effect, if any, on the playoff race. It does not look like New York will be making the postseason this year.
The more interesting story is down in Texas. Cruz, 33, leads the second-place Rangers with 27 home runs and 76 RBIs. He is clearly the best run producer in a lineup that is struggling to score runs. Texas entered play Tuesday with a 63-50 record, two games back of Oakland in the AL West. Losing Cruz is a huge blow to the Rangers' pennant hopes. This is a guy who has been batting third or fourth in the lineup all year, an impactful player still in the prime of his career who plays for a contending team.
At the trade deadline, it was assumed Texas would acquire a corner outfielder in anticipation of Cruz being suspended, much like Detroit went out and acquired Jose Iglesias to play shortstop in place of the suspended Peralta. Instead, the Rangers stood pat, leading many to assume Cruz was going to appeal his suspension and play out the season.
On Monday, Cruz accepted his punishment and began serving his suspension. Some have called Cruz "selfish" for deciding to serve his suspension now, arguing that the "team-first move" would have been to appeal the suspension, play out the year, presumably help the Rangers win, then drop the appeal and serve the suspension next year when the games "mean less."
Do a Twitter search for "Cruz selfish" and you'll see plenty of people making this argument. From where I'm sitting, that's hogwash. Cruz is obviously guilty of using PEDs. If he was innocent, wouldn't he appeal? Obviously, he knows he did it, and he knows the evidence is stacked against him. Morally, isn't it the right thing to do to accept your punishment when you've done wrong?
If Cruz did something selfish, it was taking the PEDs in the first place. Putting himself in position to be suspended, that's how he hurt the Rangers. I don't see anything wrong with accepting the consequences for breaking the rules.
A-Rod, narcissist that he is, refuses to admit that he's done wrong and refuses to see the damage he's done to the game of baseball. Isn't that part of the reason we as fans are booing the crap out of him each and every time he steps to home plate? I believe so.
The other storyline around Cruz, of course, is that Texas still needs a right fielder for the pennant drive. Hey Rangers fans, I hear Alex Rios is available.