The word Wednesday was that Nelson Cruz might appeal the anticipated 50-game ban handed coming down in the Biogenesis scandal, but Jon Heyman reports that Cruz has decided to serve his time now in anticipation of becoming a free agent this winter.
It was also disclosed that Cruz is leaving the ACES agency, which represented several players expected to get Biogenesis suspensions. Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan says he’s signing on with Adam Katz.
By serving the suspension now, Cruz, who is hitting .269/.330/.511 with 27 homers and 76 RBI, will certainly be a more attractive free agent this winter. Of course, teams will still be wondering how much of his bounce-back season this year was due to PED usage, even though his acquisition of Biogenesis drugs took place last year, when his rate numbers were the worst they’ve been since 2007. Or perhaps he’s simply been cheating all along.
Cruz is also bailing on the Rangers when they dearly need his bat in the middle of the order. Speculation last week was that they felt a less urgent need to trade for an outfielder because they thought he was going to appeal the suspension. The Rangers may welcome Cruz back for the postseason anyway, should they get there, but they probably will opt to go in a different direction this winter.
As for the agent switch, well, it’s no wonder than Cruz wanted to get away from ACES, which formerly represented Melky Cabrera when he was suspended and also handles Biogenesis-connected players Jhonny Peralta, Gio Gonzalez, Jesus Montero. Fautino De Los Santos and Cesar Puello, according to MLBTR’s agency database. The Brooklyn-based agency, run by brothers Seth and Sam Levinson, is or at least was being investigated by MLB for links to Biogenesis.
Update: The new names revealed in the Biogenesis scandal today — Antonio Bastardo, Sergio Escalona and Jordany Valdespin — are all ACES clients as well.
If Major League Baseball has its way, Alex Rodriguez won’t play again until the 2015 season.
Sources tell NBCSports.com that MLB plans to suspend Rodriguez for the remainder of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 campaign.
That’s better than the lifetime suspension that MLB was originally shooting for with its evidence that Rodriguez has used PEDs since the 2009 season. It’d also have a better chance of holding up in arbitration than the lifetime ban. Still, with Rodriguez prepared to fight, the league could have its hands full in a court case. Its top source for information, Biogenesis owner Anthony Bosch, is a liar and is the subject of a federal investigation, and a Rodriguez lawsuit could require the league to release information it’d much rather keep private.
Hopeful of returning to the Yankees lineup this week, Rodriguez, who had offseason hip surgery, homered Friday in a rehab game for Double-A Trenton and walked four times Saturday. He told reporters after Saturday’s game that he plans to be with the Yankees when they play in Chicago on Monday.
“We’re going to have a workout (Sunday) and then fly to Chicago,” Rodriguez said, per the Associated Press. “I’ve been on the field for the last five and a half hours. I haven’t heard anything or seen anything.”
MLB, though, plans to announce its suspension of Rodriguez on Monday and prevent him from playing during the appeal process by using the in-the-best-interests-of-baseball clause that commissioner Bud Selig holds.
The league is also expected to announce several other suspensions Monday, with Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta and Padres shortstop Everth Cabera likely facing bans of at least 50 games.
Pedro Feliciano had his contract purchased by the Mets on Friday and is back in the majors for the first time since 2010.
After making a whopping 92 appearances with the Mets in 2010, Feliciano signed a two-year, $8 million deal with the Yankees over that winter. He went down the next spring with what was originally called triceps soreness and then missed two years after shoulder surgery. He returned to the Mets on a minor league deal this spring, only to be set back by a heart condition. As if that wasn’t enough, after debuting in the minors in April, he was stricken by a case of severe food poisoning that cost him over a month.
Feliciano, who turns 37 later this month, ended up posting a 1.29 ERA and a 19/4 K/BB ratio in 21 innings in the minors. His velocity isn’t what it used to be, but he might still be capable of finessing his way through some left-handed hitters. Regardless, it’s a nice story that he’s getting another shot. He was a horse for the Mets in the second half of the last decade. From 2007 through 2010, he averaged 86 appearances per year.
To put that in perspective, since 2007, only two other pitchers have made 86 appearances in a season: Jon Rauch (88 in 2007) and Peter Moylan (86 in 2009). Last year, the major league leaders had 80 appearances.