It's not certain how Monday's Biogenesis suspensions will affect the August waiver period, considering that this was expected for two of the main players on contending teams—shortstop Jhonny Peralta of the Tigers and outfielder Nelson Cruz of the Rangers.
What the Rangers may have not known, however, is that Cruz would not appeal and would begin serving his suspension right away to ensure he doesn't enter free agency this offseason with a suspension looming.
Reports were conflicting—Bob Nightengale and Paul White of USA Today wrote that the Rangers were shocked by his decision; Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweeted that they were not—but the results are the same. The Rangers, already limited in offensive production, will be without one of their best hitters for the remainder of the regular season.
The Tigers addressed the potential loss of Peralta by acquiring Jose Iglesias at the trade deadline, but the Rangers weren't able to pull off any trades for offensive help. But now that they know for sure that Cruz won't be in the lineup for the last 50 games, will they ramp up their efforts to acquire a corner outfielder?
While the team will consider bringing back the 33-year-old Cruz for the postseason, according to Todd Wills of ESPN Dallas, there might not be a postseason for the Rangers without some more offense. The starting lineup on Monday includes David Murphy, who had a .671 OPS coming into the day, and rookies Leonys Martin and Engel Beltre.
One player who Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe thinks may be available in August is Michael Morse, one of three free agents-to-be on the Mariners. If the M's put the 31-year-old on waivers and he goes unclaimed long enough for the Rangers to win the claim, they could try and work out a deal with their division rival. Morse could get regular at-bats with Texas, filling in at first base, a corner outfield spot and designated hitter.
Polanco a Target for Contenders?
One under-the-radar target who would almost certainly pass through waivers is Marlins third baseman Placido Polanco. As Cafardo points out in his column, Polanco is hitting .349 versus lefties (30-for-86), and teams like the Red Sox and Yankees could use a right-handed hitting veteran off the bench.
The 37-year-old is also 30 for his last 95 but has no power whatsoever (1 HR in 288 at-bats) at this point of his career. He could be a valuable pinch hitter off the bench but doesn't offer much else. The Red Sox and Yankees currently have rookies Brandon Snyder and David Adams, respectively, in bench roles.
Haren Rebuilding Value
Although his name hasn't been brought up in rumors, Dan Haren could be a popular trade target in August. The 32-year-old, who has pitched well in five starts (2.40 ERA, 30 IP, 22 H, 8 BB, 32 K) since returning from a disabled list stint, doesn't think he's pitched well enough to be back in Washington next season, according to Bill Ladson of MLB.com. But he can make for it if the Nats can get a decent prospect back in an August waiver trade.
Signed to a one-year, $13 million deal in the offseason, Haren's remaining salary and early-season struggles (6.15 ERA through first 15 starts) could contribute to him passing through waivers if the 54-58 Nationals can't climb any closer to a playoff spot in the next couple weeks. They came into Monday seven games back of a wild-card spot.
Brewers Deciding On Weeks' Future With The Team
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes that the Brewers will soon begin to evaluate and decide on a direction for the right side of the infield, particularly at first base. But if they can come to a quick enough decision on whether Rickie Weeks will be part of the team's future, they could look to move him this month if the answer is "no."
They'd be selling low on the 30-year-old, who is in the midst of a subpar season (.681 OPS), which isn't an ideal time to try to trade him.
But if a team that is desperate for a second base upgrade, however, like the Royals, shows interest and the Brewers pick up at least a few million of his remaining salary (estimated $3 million in 2013, $11 million in 2014) and offer a mid-level prospect, the Brewers could move forward with Scooter Gennett possibly taking over at second base and reinvesting the savings elsewhere during the offseason.
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