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Player Suspended: Nelson Cruz (Texas Rangers, OF)
What Team Should Do Now: Pray
The Rangers were allegedly in desperate pursuit of an outfielder at the non-waiver deadline.
Considering free agents like Hunter Pence and Marlon Byrd didn't go anywhere, they clearly didn't do enough to proactively prevent this from being a full-scale disaster.
Without their top home run and RBI man in the lineup, the Rangers will be forced to bank on an outfield made up of Leonys Martin, Craig Gentry, David Murphy and Jeff Baker. Those four guys combined have more than twice as many plate appearances as Cruz, and a grand total of 28 home runs compared to his 27.
It would be a true desperation move, but they do have Manny Ramirez in the minors. (If nothing else, he could almost perfectly replicate Cruz's lack of defensive prowess.)
Texas also has some young power bats in the minors between Joey Gallo, Nick Williams and Lewis Brinson, but none of them are anywhere near ready for full-time duty in the majors—making it foolish for the Rangers to start the arbitration clock if they can avoid it.
Perhaps their best option is to acquire another bat through waivers. It wouldn't help their outfield, but I'm sure the White Sox would be more than happy to let the Rangers pick up the rest of Adam Dunn's contract.
Playoff Races Impacted: AL West and AL Wild Card
The Rangers entered play on Monday 2.5 games behind Oakland in the AL West and half a game behind Cleveland for the second wild card. Unless Oakland completely falls apart and Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Matt Garza are able to keep Texas competitive, it's tough to see them playing in October right now.
If they were to make the playoffs, however, Cruz would eligible to return at that point. We'll see if the Rangers would even welcome him back. Last season, Melky Cabrera was eligible to return in the playoffs for the Giants, but they kept him away as the team ended up winning the World Series.