Nelson Cruz’s agents wanted a four-year, $56 million deal last winter

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Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, currently serving a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, recently switched representatives, changing from the Levinson brothers to Adam Katz. Sources close to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports have learned that the Levinson brothers went to the Rangers last off-season and suggested a four-year, $56 million deal for their client. The Rangers declined, a decision that seems much more justified now than it did then.

Though Cruz won’t be donning a Rangers uniform for the rest of the regular season, there is a chance the team will add him to their post-season roster, though there is no guarantee. Once the playoffs are over, Cruz will become eligible for free agency. He is expected to draw some interest as one of just a few elite hitters available, but his age, injury history, and involvement with Biogenesis could bring down his price.

Prior to accepting his suspension, Cruz was hitting .269 with 27 home runs and an .841 OPS.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves