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What do the Tigers and Rangers do about Jhonny Peralta and Nelson Cruz come playoff time?

Aug 5, 2013, 1:57 PM EDT

Jhonny Peralta, Jim Leyland, Tony Randazzo AP

The two Biogenesis suspensions with the most on-field impact are easily the Rangers’ Nelson Cruz and the Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta. One leads his team in homers the other is his team’s starting shortstop. Both, assuming their suspensions start today, will be eligible to return for the playoffs if their teams make it there (Peralta could actually play the Tigers last three regular season games). The question is: will their teams allow them to return?

It’d be a less interesting question if Melky Cabrera didn’t happen last year. He was perhaps the Giants’ best hitter at the time of his suspension. Many believed — including some folks who happen to write for this august blog — that the Giants were sunk without him. Of course, all the Giants did was go out and win the friggin’ World Series with Melky watching from home.

The Rangers and Tigers are not so dumb that they’d likely see that as a cause/effect thing. In the aggregate you’re better off with good players on your team than without them on your team, so it’s not at all inconceivable that each of these miscreants is back in the dugout come October. But the factors which will go into the ultimate decision are likely numerous and varied and not all of them are based in terms of pure baseball analysis.

Whoever the Rangers put in right field — possibly Leonys Martin, who has been playing right while Cruz DH’s due to an injury — is likely to be a defensive improvement. The recently acquired Jose Iglesias is certain to be a defensive improvement over Peralta. The Tigers already have a lot of firepower in their lineup. While Cruz has been Texas’ biggest home run threat, the team has not been fantastic on offense overall. There are obviously team chemistry concerns at play, as many players on the roster are likely to either resent that their teammates cheated, resent that they didn’t appeal or both.

It’s complicated, in other words. And it’s doubtful that either the Rangers or Tigers will make up their minds until they’ve had several weeks to reassess their teams in light of the loss of their players.

  1. chill1184 - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    It also opens the question in why did MLB take so long in announcing these suspensions? They should done this before the trade deadline in order to prevent issues like this

    • historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM

      Perhaps some players do not have good loyalty/communication with their teams. The Tigers picked up someone by the trade deadline. It’s entirely likely that DD or Leyland or someone had a conversation or two with Peralta and he let them know honestly what was coming. If so, he did the best thing for the team (perhaps clearing the way for a spot in the post-season roster) and the Tigers didn’t throw him under the bus. If that was the scenario, I think that’s a respectful way to handle it.

      • kalinedrive - Aug 5, 2013 at 4:10 PM

        Jhonny seems to be saying the right things and the Tigers are playing it cool.

        Drew Sharp at the Freep wants him tarred and feathered, but who cares what Drew Sharp thinks about anything? And then there’s Denny McLain calling Peralta selfish for not appealing. Why Denny McLain gets any press coverage I don’t know. Usually all you hear about him is his latest legal trouble.

      • johnclodge - Aug 5, 2013 at 10:08 PM

        Denny McLain looks like he ate a Big Boy statue.

  2. yaryers - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    I don’t understand the notion that a teammate would resent a player for not appealing. The player knows if he cheated or not, and knows whether an appeal has any chance to be fruitful. Every player in the clubhouse knows that it is smarter to take the suspension and be eligible for the playoffs, rather than appeal and prolong the inevitable.

  3. losangelesfan - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:07 PM

    Barring injury, the Tigers should be alright. The Rangers, on the other hand, may have to incorporate some small ball. Luckily, for them, the new wild card will help. Wash is gonna have some fun. They can have Hamilton back if they want.

    • dkb1968 - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:53 PM

      They decidedly do NOT want him back. They saw this happening last year and wanted no part of it. Hamilton is done!

      • dkb1968 - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:54 PM

        My previous post is al about Hamilton.

        Where is the edit function?

      • dkb1968 - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:55 PM

        My previous post is all about Hamilton.

        Where is the edit function?

  4. Kevin Gillman - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    I think the key difference here Craig is how the two respective teammates treat everyone else. Last season, Melky ignored everyone, did not issue an apology, and just rubbed his Giants teammates the wrong way. I don’t believe Cruz or Peralta did that, so there should be no issue when they come back later in the year.

    • blabidibla - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:20 PM

      I don’t know if I would say “no issue” when Cruz and Peralta come back, but you’re right on with Melky’s situation. He snuck off without talking or apologizing to anyone, and that is why they opted not to allow him back.

      • Kevin Gillman - Aug 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM

        What I mean is neither man had an issue before this, or at least that I know of. I know Jhonny is a quiet dude, he played for my Indians for a few years, so I know he never had an issue before this, and I don’t think Nelson has either. So I would imagine that they did their apologies to the organization and respective teammates. Melky never did.

  5. historiophiliac - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    I think Iglesias has an excellent try-out opportunity here. My impression so far is he has sexy-good chemistry with the team. He’s made some sexy-good plays and his batting has been okay so far.

    …I’m just gonna start using “sexy” in all my comments about him now.

    • stlouis1baseball - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      I think it is incredibly “sexy” when women make sexual references.
      Hell…for that matter…any time they use the letters “s, e, and x” in any words.

  6. smackingfools - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Say hello to Manny Ramirez.

  7. eightyraw - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Not only will the shift of Martin to LF be a defensive upgrade, but increased playing time for Craig Gentry (an elite defensive CF’er) will further boost the outfield defense. The loss of Cruz will force Washington to get a little creative with the playing time of Profar, E. Beltre, and Gentry. A RHH power bat is lost, but platoons could turn the three below-average bats into one above-average offensive contributor.

  8. professor30 - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:14 PM

    Not a doubt in my mind that come playoff time both Cruz and Peralta will be in the lineup.

    • biasedhomer - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:31 PM

      Don’t be so sure about Peralta. If Iglesia’s defense greatly benefits the pitchers, and if he plays decent with the bat, like he did in Boston, Peralta could be on the bench. Or maybe given a look at 2B.

    • dexterismyhero - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:32 PM

      hell, the rangers may not make the playoffs. I can hear Jim Mora right now!!!!

    • Detroit Michael - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:52 PM

      I think it is likely that Jhonny Peralta will be on the Tigers’ post-season roster. Whether he will start or not, I don’t know, but he is clearly better than Ramon Santiago (given that Iglesias can play other positions if Peralta does play).

  9. weaselpuppy - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:24 PM

    The Rangers already have a very meh offense, as I’ve been saying for 1.5 years to anyone that will listen that Elvis Andrus is the most overrated player in MLB because he isn’t a hitter. He has 6 more XBH than Ramon Santiago in 3x the PA…and he’s hitting .253. Moreland realized he is in fact not Keith, Martin isn’t much of a hitter…I’d be walking Beltre every chance he has for an RBI and pitch to AJ/Mitch/whoever…not gonna make the playoffs…

    • eightyraw - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:50 PM

      Maybe Andrus is just having a down year offensively? He was nearly league-average offensively in 2011 and 2012, has not yet hit his prime, and provides fantastic defense at a premium position. Likewise, Martin is probably a true-talent league-average hitter (if not slightly better), again at a premium position.

  10. coryfor3 - Aug 5, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    Who knows- I wouldn’t pencil them in the lineup though.

  11. irvin12589 - Aug 5, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Honestly I don’t see the Tigers letting Perralta play and what sucks for him is he’s entering a Free Agency year. I believe the Tigers have a club option for next year but I can’t see Mike ILLitch exercising that option.

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