Frequently asked questions about MLB suspensions

Posted Monday, Aug. 05, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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Some frequently asked questions about the suspensions handed out Monday to Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz and 12 other players involved with the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in South Florida.

Why did Nelson Cruz and 12 others gets suspended if they didn’t test positive for performance-enhancing drugs? A clause in the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program gives Commissioner Bud Selig the authority to penalize players if he has “just cause.” Major League Baseball investigators were able to uncover enough evidence that banned substances were used to nab the players even without a failed test.

What happens to Cruz’s salary? It’s simple: The Rangers don’t pay him the prorated amount left on his $11 million contract. His suspension saves the Rangers — and costs Cruz — just over $3.4 million.

Is he still a free agent at the end of the year? Another simple answer: Yes. Cruz continues to accumulate service time even though he is suspended, and he will become a free agent following the final out of the World Series. He and the Rangers could agree on an extension before then to keep him from hitting the market.

If the Rangers make the playoffs, will he be able to play? Yes, but there’s a catch. The 50-game ban would expire after the final regular-season game and before the playoffs open. General manager Jon Daniels said that Cruz would be welcomed back if his teammates are open to the idea, and they said Monday that they are.

What happens next time Cruz is caught? In the event he makes the same mistake again, Cruz would be banned for 100 games under the current Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program and forfeit a prorated amount of his salary that year.

Why is Alex Rodriguez, who was suspended through the end of the 2014 season, still playing? The former Rangers slugger was in the Yankees’ lineup Monday because he appealed his suspension — which would cost him 211 games and more than $30 million — under the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. A player who appeals is eligible to continue playing until a final ruling is made, a process that could take months to complete.

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