MLB Biogenesis Suspensions Change Playoff Race


Aug 4, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Texas Rangers outfielder

Nelson Cruz

(17) stands in the dugout before the start of the game against the Oakland Athletics at O.Co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

We knew this was going to happen, but finally, after months of speculation, Major League Baseball is handing out suspensions for players who were connected to the Biogenesis Clinic in Florida.

As of 12:15, FoxSports.com is reporting 12 players have agreed to suspensions with MLB, with several more players, including Alex Rodriguez, expected to be punished later today.

The list of the 12 are as follows:

Nelson Cruz, Texas Rangers (50 games, no appeal)

Everth Cabrera, San Diego Padres (50 games, no appeal)

Jhonny Peralta, Detroit Tigers (50 games, no appeal)

Antonio Bastardo, Philadelphia Phillies (50 games, no appeal)

Jordany Valdespin, New York Mets (50 games, no appeal)

Francisco Cervelli, New York Yankees (50 games, no appeal)

Jesus Montero, Seattle Mariners (50 games, no appeal)

Cesar Puello, Mets (50 games, no appeal)

Fautino De Los Santos, Padres (50 games, no appeal)

Sergio Escalona, Houston Astros (50 games, no appeal)

Fernando Martinez, Yankees (50 games, no appeal)

Jordan Norberto, free-agent pitcher (50 games, no appeal)

The two most important names to the Royals are Peralta and Cruz. Each represent critical parts of their team’s offensive attack, even if they are not considered stars.

Peralta is hitting .305/.361/.461 while playing an All-Star shortstop for the Tigers. His .822 OPS ranks him as the top hitting shortstop in all of baseball, and the 40th best hitter in MLB. That piece is now gone for the season.

Aug 3, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop

Jhonny Peralta

(27) receives congratulations from catcher

Alex Avila

(13) after he hits a home run in the second inning against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

In an attempt to make up for that loss, the Tigers traded for Boston infielder Jose Iglesias who is considered to have a great glove but not a great bat. Iglesias had an incredibly hot streak when he was brought up to the majors in May, batting .415/.459/.533 in mostly every day duty filling in for injured Red Sox. But since July 3 Iglesias is batting .187/.227/.231 and is moving to a more difficult park to hit in. It will be interesting to see where Detroit gets the extra offense they are missing now with Peralta gone.

All of this, and that doesn’t include the nagging muscle injury Miguel Cabrera is dealing with or the “out of sorts’ Justin Verlander is currently experiencing. Detroit’s issues are only getting more complicated.

But the most important suspension on this list may be that of Nelson Cruz’s 50-game suspension. Detroit may have built a lead too large for the Royals to overcome, but Texas sits just four games ahead of the Royals in the race for a Wild Card spot. With the suspension of Cruz, the Rangers now have to fill a big power bat in the middle of their lineup.

Cruz leads the team with 27 home runs and is second with a .841 OPS. With Cruz out, Texas has just three players with an OPS+ over 100: Adrian Beltre (134), Ian Kinsler (106), and Mitch Moreland (101). The Rangers outfield currently features David Murphy, who has a 78 OPS+, and Leonys Martin who has just six home runs this season. The guy best suited to take over for Cruz, Mike Olt, was traded to the Chicago Cubs for Matt Garza.

While the Royals certainly have their own offensive issues, they are not built to lean on offense like the Rangers. The ability for Texas to hit home runs is paramount to their success. The burden is now falling to a starting pitching staff that hasn’t been healthy for most of the season.

If Kansas City is going to make the playoffs – a destination that is already going to be difficult given their current standing in the AL Central and Wild Card tables – they are going to need to take advantage of Texas and Detroit losing huge pieces to their team’s success. Taking advantage of that means making a deal this August to try to fill the hole at second base or by adding another starting pitcher to replace Wade Davis or Bruce Chen. The difference between Detroit and Texas losing their players and KC adding one more piece may end up for the Royals to land a playoff spot for the first time since 1985.