Early yesterday morning it was reported that MLB had decided to suspend Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun and rehabbing Yankee Alex Rodriguez for as many as 100 games next week. Braun and Arod were among 20 players identified in a Miami Biogenesis steroid probe during the off-season. One of the players reportedly involved was our very own All-Star Nelson Cruz. Cruz has been a beast this year with an .864 OPS and 22 home runs before the all star break but most certainly the Rangers front office has been preparing for losing the
handsome incredibly eyebrow-ed slugger. Lets take a closer look at a couple of options the Rangers have in the outfield.
This is my personal preference. Leonys Martin has been nothing short of electrifying in his first full season in the big leagues. The Cuban Lion has not only been hitting .292/.342/.440 he’s been a terrific defensive center fielder. Let’s move him to right field shall we?? Why would you move a terrific center fielder to right field you ask? Because you have an even better defensive center fielder in your organization who is dying to prove his mettle. Engel Beltre has only played in 7 games this year but has shown flashes of awesomeness. He’s a pest. He gets on base and once he’s there, he makes things happen. Before being called up Beltre was hitting .300/.360/.406 in AAA Round Rock, his most productive minor league year to date. Murphy, well he’s Murphy. One of the absolutely nicest guys on the team who struggles at the beginning of every year and then ramps up at the end of the year. He’s done it his whole career and it appears he’s starting to do it again raising his batting average and is now projected to finish the season a respectable .281/.350/.437.
Other than Engel Beltre, there aren’t many big league ready outfielders in the Rangers farm system. No, not even Joey Gallo. The Rangers may look to trade some of those valuable prospects in a deep system for a proven outfielder ready to step in and play in Cruz’s spot now. One of the names I’ve heard in rumors is that of Chicago White Sox OFer Alex Rios. Rios is hitting .281 with 11 HRs and 40 RBI so far this year. While its unknown what the Sox would want in return, he is under control through 2014 and would fit nicely in his natural RF spot in Texas. In the “its a pipe dream” department, the equally handsome Giancarlo “don’t call me Mike” Stanton would be an even nicer fit but is unlikely to come to Texas without costing you the Chosen One, Profar.
I don’t want Nelson Cruz to be suspended, and he very well might not be, but its time to start preparing for the worst. Hold me.