MLB Suspensions: Rangers, Tigers Among Clubs Facing Questions Following Bans
Rangers President of Baseball Operations & GM Jon Daniels said that RF Nelson Cruz' 50-game suspension "does not rule out a return" to the team after his current contract expires in the offseason, but Daniels added that the Rangers "would take a wait-and-see approach," according to a front-page piece by Grant & Fraley of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Cruz, who will lose $3.02M in salary during the ban, can "use club facilities during the suspension but cannot be in uniform when ballpark gates open." Daniels said the club will wait a few days “to let the dust settle” before talking with Cruz to determine a course of action. Daniels added that the team is "'open-minded' to bringing back Cruz for postseason play but wants to gauge player reaction before making a decision." Grant & Fraley report Cruz on Sunday night "informed the club of his decision to not appeal" his 50-game suspension. Daniels had several "discussions with Cruz leading up to that in an attempt to find out which way he was leaning but did not attempt to influence him" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 8/6). USA TODAY's David Leon Moore notes Cruz yesterday afternoon "traveled with his teammates to Anaheim and he spoke to them in the clubhouse." Teammates called it an "emotional, apologetic, sincere talk that echoed a statement he issued to the news media" earlier yesterday (USA TODAY, 8/6). In Ft. Worth, Jeff Wilson notes not a "single player condoned what Cruz admitted to them that he had done ... and each one said he had to pay with a 50-game ban." But the players said that they will "gladly welcome him back to the team in two months should the Rangers qualify for the playoffs" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 8/6). However, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale said, “If the Rangers miss the playoffs, Ranger fans are going to remember this forever about a guy letting everybody down, and we missed the playoffs because of him" ("MLB Tonight," MLB Network, 8/5).
RETURN TO MOTOWN IN THE CARDS? In Detroit, Lynn Henning writes Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta "likely has played his last game for Detroit" after being given a 50-game suspension. Although he is "eligible to join the team 50 games from now, the regular season will be in its waning days." The minor-league season will have "ceased and tuning up to rejoin a big-league team will be difficult" (DETROIT NEWS, 8/6). But also in Detroit, Mitch Albom believes the Tigers would activate Peralta "when his suspension is up ... if they need him and think he’ll be effective." The Tigers "used him right through Sunday afternoon ... knowing full well his suspension was coming." If the Tigers had a "moral stance, they wouldn’t have done that." But "then, for most teams, holes in the lineup trump moral stances" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 8/6).
WORTHY OF A SECOND CHANCE: Padres SS Everth Cabrera also was suspended 50 games, and in San Diego, Matt Calkins writes, "Instinct said to bury the man the way he perpetually buried the truth." But after "giving the most heart-felt sports apology I've ever seen, he also deserves a second chance." Cabrera spent the "first 13 minutes or so" of a press conference "explaining his actions in Spanish while a member of the Padres public relations staff translated." Calkins: "To be perfectly honest, it was all pretty weak." But then Cabrera "switched to English for one last statement, and ... changed the entire narrative of his day." While observers could "see the emotion building beforehand, it burst through the dam when he vowed to work harder than ever to make it up to his supporters." At one point, a "tearful Cabrera needed a full minute to compose himself." Once he did, he "went on to warn fellow Latin players about the people they associate themselves with" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 8/6).
WINNING IS THE ONLY THING: MLB Network's Chris Rose discussed whether the suspended players should be cut from their teams, and he said, "As much as we all want to do the right thing, it’s about winning ball games in the end. If you have a chance to win a championship and you think Jhonny Peralta and/or Nelson Cruz can help your team win, those guys will be back in uniform sometime this year” (“MLB Tonight,” MLB Network, 8/5). In L.A., Bill Plaschke writes despite MLB Commissioner Bud Selig's "fight for his game's honor and his personal legacy, baseball teams will quietly live with the juicers as long as those teams can benefit from them." The PED business will "continue to thrive as long as the reward for both the players and teams is much greater than the risk" (L.A. TIMES, 8/6).