MLB finally dropped its first Biogenesis-related domino of the day when Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz accepted the 50 game suspension Bud Selig dropped on his doorstep.
Accepting the suspension instead of taking the contentious A-Rod appeals route takes Cruz out of the lineup down through the postseason stretch for Texas, but it will have an effect on his free agent price tag and make him a cheaper asset to return to the Texas lineup. However, as they chase Oakland for the AL West crown, losing Cruz's production in the lineup could be too much for the Rangers to overcome.
The theory for why Cruz used steroids is actually somewhat intriguing. According to the Dallas Morning News, Rangers officials theorize that Cruz began doping after contracting a stomach virus which caused him to lose 30 pounds after the 2011 World Series. He'll lose a lot more money if recent history is any indication and MLB general managers will be his true arbitrators of justice once free agency rolls around. At least A-Rod and Braun have their nine-figure contracts guaranteed.
Via Dallas Morning News:
The suspension will cost Cruz $60,439 per game, a total of $3.021 million of his $11 million base salary for 2013, but could also have long-term financial impact on him since he can become a free agent at the end of the season.
Cruz can work out with the Rangers or at one of the club’s minor league facilities, but would not be eligible to return to the lineup until the postseason, should the Rangers qualify.
After the World Series, Cruz has five days to negotiate exclusively with the Rangers before he can test the open air of free agency. Unfortunately, the PED implications could drastically lower his market value.
Take San Francisco Giant outfielder Melky Cabrera for instance. Before Cabrera was suspended for 50 games last season, he was expected to receive offers ranging from $60 to $80 million over five years. Instead, the offers dried up, he wasn't accepted back into the Giants clubhouse and he took substantially less for with a two-year, $16 million deal from Toronto. In the meantime, the All-Star Game MVP and batting champ is gone and he's reverted back to the very pedestrian .279 hacker he appeared to be early in his career.
If general managers use Cabrera as the test case, this could be very bad news for Cruz.