He faced a rough patch, but it seems Nelson Cruz is moving on from his Biogenesis suspension over the use of performance enhancers, likely including Human Growth Hormone and testosterone. During a recent news conference, Cruz announced that he was offered a one-year contract with the Orioles worth 8 million dollars. One thing he didn’t seem to want to talk about was the events of 2013, a year he and others caught up in the scandal would probably like to just forget. However, he and his new teammates seemed to be over events of the past and excited about playing a great year of baseball.
Nelson Cruz was previously a right fielder for the Texas Rangers and experienced some major highs during his career there, becoming well known for his ability to hit home runs. It all came to a screeching halt in January of 2013 when Cruz, along with many other Major League players, was linked to Florida anti-aging clinic Biogenesis of America. Records from the clinic, which were stolen and sold as part of the lengthy and dramatic scandal, indicate that Cruz bought performance enhancing drugs from the clinic. In August of 2013, Cruz accepted the 50 game suspension handed to him by Major League Baseball as penalty for his involvement.
After his suspension was served, Cruz became a free agent. He took a big hit during his suspension in his wallet, losing almost $3 million out of his $10 million salary. Yet he didn’t jump on the first offer he received after turning free agent, as he turned down a $14.1 million offer from his own team, the Texas Rangers. His deal with the Orioles is significantly less, so his decision obviously wasn’t based on money alone. Perhaps a fresh start is what he was looking for, and it seems his time with the Baltimore Orioles offers just that. It doesn’t erase the mistakes of his past, as evidenced by the fact that Biogenesis came up at the news conference, and several of his teammates have given statements that indicate they know his history of performance enhancer use but are confident those bad decisions are behind the player who will likely become the team’s primary designated hitter.
The whole deal is encouraging news for others involved in the Biogenesis scandal, showing that there is life after a suspension, and that being caught using performance enhancers doesn’t have to be a career-ender, at least not in Major League Baseball. We’ve all seen how the saga played out for the worst hit player, Alex Rozriguez, as he still sits out serving his suspension, which was reduced by the Court of Arbitration from the original 211 games, to only 162 games, plus postseason. Former Milwaukee Brewers player Ryan Braun, who many believe took the fall thanks to behind the scenes orchestration from A-Rod to throw the heat off himself, served a 65-game suspension without argument and is returning as outfielder for the Brewers for the upcoming season.
Several other players served out their suspensions quietly and continue to play. Francisco Cervelli is still on the New York Yankee’s roster as catcher after consulting with Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch over taking something to heal an injury, although he insists he never actually bought any PED’s. St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta headed to training camp in February, after his 50 game suspension from baseball while he was with the Detroit Tigers. Other Biogenesis players have also moved ahead after serving their penalties, so it seems as though they have learned their lesson the hard way and they, like Cruz, are thankful for the chance to continue their career playing in a sport they love.