How will suspensions affect MLB Playoff races?

How will suspensions affect MLB Playoff races?
August 6, 2013, 11:30 am
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Nelson Cruz was suspended 50 games on Monday for his role in the Biogenesis clinic.

(USA Today Sports Images)

In the wake of the suspensions from the Biogenesis case, some questions remain to be answered. 

For one, was it the right decision for these players (save A-Rod) to accept their suspensions without appeal?

It remains uncertain what players could have faced if they attempted to defy Major League Baseball, but by taking the 50-game hits now, they will be out of action until the playoffs. In an appeal, they may have been able to play down the stretch run of the regular season as their cases wound through the system. 

As Tony Massarotti pointed out on Felger & Mazz, this dilemma of to appeal or not to appeal comes down to a player's decision to put the team first or protect oneself for free agency, with Nelson Cruz as the main case.  

"If you're Nelson Cruz and you're going to be a free agent, do you serve [the suspension] now and get it out of the way so that when you're a free agent, you're clear and free of it and you go hit the market and say you can at least get me for 162?" Massarotti said. "Or do you put it off and help your team down the stretch and play as much as you can?" 

Of course things may not be that black and white. After all, accepting the punishment allows a player like Cruz to return for the postseason, whereas an appeal would make that situation more murky.  

Yet, in regards to Cruz, Massarotti remains skeptical that the Rangers can make the playoffs without his presence over the final 50. And if that is the case, Mazz feels the Rangers organization should be exceedingly angry at its star offensive player.

"What if the Rangers miss [the playoffs] by a couple of games and you're one of the guys on that team? How about if you're the GM and you went and traded a couple of prospects for Matt Garza and then Nelson Cruz serves his suspension and now you miss it by two games?" Masarrotti said. "What if that happens? How do you feel about that? I'd be pissed at Nelson Cruz. To me he's putting his free agency before his team."