Cruz's one chance at redemption: October
Now that Nelson Cruz has reportedly determined that the best course of action for him -- again, him and not his teammates -- is to take the 50-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball rather than appealing, he has one chance to alter his legacy in Texas. One. And it depends upon the very teammates he's leaving behind for the rest of the season. Cruz must be a beast in the postseason. The rest of the guys in the clubhouse have to get him there first. And they have to welcome him back, too. They'll have to want him to return.
|Fitzsimmons and Durrett react to Nelson Cruz's suspension and discuss the impact his absence will have on the Rangers' lineup, what players need to step up and the team's playoff hopes.
Cruz won’t be able to do anything but watch and hope his teammates give him a chance to try to make up for his mistake, one that could cost them a chance at the postseason. If the Rangers are to make the playoffs, others must fill the void -- and it’s a large one -- that Cruz created. Don’t blame MLB for the timing of the suspensions. It’s Cruz’s fault that he was involved in the Biogenesis mess in the first place. He put himself in this position. But based on the fact that he's 33 years old and has one final shot at a nice multiyear deal, he had to get this cleared up before hitting the open market in the offseason.
Few current players are better in the postseason than Cruz. In 34 playoff games since this group’s first appearance in 2010, Cruz has 14 homers and 27 RBIs. He’s hitting .273 in those games. That includes a ridiculous 2011 ALCS against Detroit. He had a flair for the dramatic and hit a crazy six homers and drove in 13 runs in six games, an MLB record.
I know, I know. You’re thinking of that fly ball to right field in the 2011 World Series. A long run in the playoffs with his bat scorching -- culminating in a title -- would change all that. It would also have Rangers fans and his teammates forgetting that he abandoned them at the worst time.
For Cruz to get the opportunity, his teammates have to pick him up first. He’ll be waiting and watching. And he’ll be hoping.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.