The word Tuesday was that everyone in the Biogenesis scandal not named Alex Rodriguez was ready to accept their fate and serve 50-game suspensions. Nelson Cruz, though, may not have gotten that memo. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman and USA TODAY’s Bob Nightengale are reporting that Cruz may appeal his suspension in order to remain the Texas lineup through the end of the season.
Obviously, that’d be great news for the Rangers. Cruz is an overrated player with his subpar defense in right field and modest OBPs, but the Rangers still need his bat in the middle of the lineup. He’s in the midst of his best season since 2010, hitting .271/.334/.501 with 24 homers and 72 RBI in 103 games.
It’s possible that Cruz is being influenced by the Rangers in his decision. Expectations were that he wouldn’t be re-signed as a free agent this winter, suspension or no suspension, but the Rangers could have assured that he’d presented with an offer f he finished out this season on the roster. That’d be very important since, with a suspension of at least 50 games and possibly more like 65 hanging over his head, there’d seem to be little demand for his services in free agency. He’d most likely have to take a one-year contract in an attempt to rebuild his value.
It sure sounds like Justin Morneau is more likely to be dealt in August than before Wednesday’s deadline.
According to John Perotto of the Beaver County Times, the Pirates have “next-to-zero” interest in Morneau as they weigh an upgrade at first base or in right field. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun is among those reporting that the Orioles aren’t having any conversations regarding Morneau. They may be focused more on a cheaper option in Seattle’s Michael Morse.
It’s entirely possible that Morneau won’t be dealt at all. The Twins have little to gain for keeping him the rest of the season, but they may want him back, albeit at a significant paycut, for 2014.
That’s according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. The Rangers will consider just about anything as they attempt to improve before the deadline. That means Elvis Andrus. It means Joe Nathan. And it means the newly acquired Matt Garza, who was just picked up from the Cubs for four prospects nine days ago.
Garza is 1-0 with a 1.88 ERA in two starts for his new team and 7-1 with a 2.95 ERA overall this season. If the Rangers traded him, it wouldn’t be a sign that they’re giving up on 2013; they’d want a big bat in return to put in their lineup alongside Adrian Beltre. Nelson Cruz is likely about to serve a 50-game Biogenesis suspension, and even with Cruz, the Rangers rank just ninth of the 15 AL teams in runs scored this year.
As for possible fits for Garza, it’s hard to come up with anything obvious. The Diamondbacks don’t have any expendable bats. The Rangers probably wouldn’t be all that interested in Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford from the Dodgers. A Garza-for-Carlos Beltran trade with the Cardinals might make sense if Oscar Taveras were healthy and ready to step into the St. Louis outfield, but he’s not. Garza to Atlanta for Justin Upton? Probably not. Garza to Baltimore for Nick Markakis? He’d be no lock to help the Rangers. Garza to Boston for Jacoby Ellsbury? That might have made a little sense before the Red Sox just got Jake Peavy, but not as is. Cleveland? It’d probably have to be a three-team deal with youngsters going elsewhere.