Major League Baseball has announced suspensions for 13 players involved with the Biogenesis clinic, including two players with key roles on teams chasing the postseason.
Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta have received and accepted 50-game suspensions for drug violations. Since Cruz and Peralta will serve their suspensions immediately, both players will be eligible to play in the post-season should their respective teams qualify. Peralta would be eligible to return to the Tigers in time for their final series of the regular season. The Rangers, with exactly 50 games left as of Monday, could bring Cruz back for the postseason.
Cruz has been a key contributor the Texas offense, hitting .269/.330/.511 while playing right-field everyday for the Rangers; Cruz has only missed four games this season. His 27 home runs ranks fourth in the American League, trailing Chris Davis's 40, Miguel Cabrera's 32, and Edwin Encarnacion's 29. As ranked by park- and league-adjusted OPS (OPS+), Cruz is the 18th-most productive player in the league.
Texas still has the opportunity to add an outfielder in Aug. through a waiver trade. The team was rumored to be looking at Alex Rios before the non-waiver trade deadline, and the Cruz suspension could prompt the team to restart trade talks.
Peralta has also been a key part of his team's offense, hitting .305/.361/.461 as the team's everyday shortstop. Peralta missed only five games before the suspension. By OPS+ his production is roughly equivalent to Cruz's, but since it comes from the middle infield it is far more valuable.
Detroit added a replacement for Peralta before the July 31 deadline, acquiring Jose Iglesias in a three-team deal that sent Jake Peavy to the Boston Red Sox. Iglesias is known for his glove, but has hit .323/.367/.412 in 245 plate appearances for the Red Sox and Tigers.
The Tigers and Rangers are both in the thick of playoff races. Detroit leads the Cleveland Indians by 3 games in the AL Central. Texas trails the Oakland Athletics by 2 1/2 games in the AL West, and sit 1/2 game behind the Indians for the second wild card.