Odds of Nelson Cruz and Jhonny Peralta Being Activated, Ready for Playoff Run
Unlike players like Everth Cabrera and Antonio Bastardo (also suspended), Cruz and Peralta could conceivably be back for the postseason.
The Rangers are 2.5 games behind the Oakland Athletics in the AL West and a half game back in the wild card. Detroit is three games up in the AL Central.
If both make it to the playoffs, will Cruz or Peralta be back?
Melky Cabrera Situation
If you remember last year, Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for PED use. Even though he was leading the league in batting at the time, the Giants chose not to bring him back during the postseason.
Keeping that in mind, could the Rangers and/or Tigers do the same thing?
The Giants set a precedent in keeping Cabrera off the roster. Could teammates of Cruz and Peralta ask for the same?
Each Team's Response
The Rangers and Tigers have taken different avenues when addressing the possibility of each player returning.
John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press put it this way:
(GM Dave) Dombrowski declined to address last week whether the Tigers would take Peralta back for the postseason. There are both practical and psychological consequences in doing so.
On the psychological side, how uneasy would his return be among his teammates? Would the Tigers want a media swarm around Peralta as they were trying to achieve their goal of a world title?
And what about Peralta himself? Could he possibly play his best baseball after such a long and notorious absence?
Let's not forget the Tigers traded for Jose Iglesias before the trade deadline. Would they move Iglesias out of the lineup in favor of Peralta?
But, according to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News, the Rangers are keeping an open mind when it comes to Cruz.
General manager Jon Daniels said the Rangers are “open-minded” about the possibility but will gauge the response of Cruz’s teammates before making a decision.
“We want to see how this plays out, most importantly with his teammates,” Daniels said. “There have been other scenarios where because of how it was handled, the players was not welcomed back in the clubhouse. That’s something we want to see.”
Regardless of what happens, one side of the aisle is going to be unhappy. Some will say they served their suspensions, so let them play, while others will say they don't deserve the chance to compete in the playoffs.
Will Each Be Taken Back?
When looking at some comments made by teammates, I'm not sold on there being a Cabrera-like outcome for Peralta and Cruz.
When looking at quotes from a story MLive.com's Chris Iott, it seems Tigers' players see Peralta as a good guy.
"I hate that he chose that," Torii Hunter said. "But he's being punished for it. He's going to serve his 50 games. I'm pretty sure he won't do it again. If you know Jhonny—and a lot of people don't know Jhonny—but if you know Jhonny, awesome guy. Awesome guy. He just made a mistake. Now he's going to pay for it."
"I think Torii (Hunter) said it best at one point," (Justin) Verlander said. "He said everybody makes mistakes. Everybody looks at their own lives. You can look back at it and you made a mistake. Like I said, he's my brother. We fight and bleed and sweat together on the baseball field.
Will Jhonny Peralta or Nelson Cruz be welcomed back for a playoff run?
"If my brother makes a mistake, and especially if he owns up to it and serves the time, I don't see how you can hold a grudge or anything like that."
Does that mean they'll take him back?
I think so. From their quotes, it seems like they believe he will have served his punishment. And just like a player suspended in the middle of the season, they'll be accepted back once the suspension is complete.
As far as Cruz, fellow outfielder Craig Gentry had this to say according to the Associated Press' Stephen Hawkins (h/t Yahoo! Sports):
''It's upsetting a little bit. He's a great teammate and he's been a big part of this ballclub for a lot of years. It's going to be a little bit tough not having him around,'' center fielder Craig Gentry said. ''But I didn't lose any respect for him. He's a great teammate. We know where his heart is.''
That's another statement that seems to leave the door open for Cruz to return if the Rangers make the playoffs.
I think there is no question Peralta and Cruz will be taken back by their teammates.
Both seem to be likable guys in the clubhouse. Both accepted their suspensions and confessed to their wrongdoings.
While some may not agree with it, in the end the decisions belong to their respective teams. If the players want them back, then they will be.
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