How might Cruz situation affect Profar?

The ESPN "Outside the Lines" story about MLB and possible suspensions has certainly sent shockwaves throughout the baseball world. What does it mean for Nelson Cruz? Well, we'll see.

The report says MLB is getting cooperation from the owner of the Miami-area clinic where performance-enhancing drugs were allegedly sold to a bunch of players. Cruz, whose name has been mentioned in the report, could face a 50-game suspension for a first offense. When that might happen is another question because appeals could drag things out, so this might not be something that happens as soon as you would think.

ESPN.com's Pedro Gomez told "Fitzsimmons and Durrett" on Wednesday that the likely timeline is that an appeal could take six to eight weeks. If suspensions are handed out in the next two weeks or so, it could be late August before a suspension takes effect, following any appeals.

If that's the case, the Rangers would have an interesting decision to make on Jurickson Profar. The immediate call of whether to send him to Triple-A Round Rock or leave him here is still on the table. And as we've discussed, there are a variety of options the club could consider. But depending on what happens with Cruz, here are a few options for the Rangers (in no particular order):

  • Send Profar to Triple-A Round Rock when Ian Kinsler returns and have Profar learn to play the outfield. Who knows how long it might be until -- or even whether -- this suspension occurs? In the meantime, have Profar learn the position in the minors and then come up and get in the mix when Cruz is out.

  • Move Jeff Baker to right field and play him in most of the games. If the club wants to keep Profar up here (and, as you know, I'm all for keeping him in the big leagues), the team could send Leury Garcia to the minors and keep Profar as the utility guy. It would allow Profar to get more at-bats depending on how you shift with the open spot in right field.

  • Move Mitch Moreland to right field and play Kinsler at first with Profar sliding to second base. Could Kinsler adjust to first base quicker than he could the outfield? I think so. And it would create chances for Profar. The Rangers would have to decide whether Moreland was the most viable option in right field while Cruz was out.

  • What about Mike Olt? Don't forget about him. He's headed to Triple-A, and he could ramp up in the outfield as well, possibly giving the club another option out there.

  • Tell Kinsler to try out the outfield during his rehab games and see how he picks it up. It seems unlikely the Rangers would do this with Kinsler midseason, but it's an option. He's an athlete, and you never know how quickly he might pick it up. If he does, he could play right field (or left), and Profar could slide in at second.

    Now, if Cruz appeals any suspension, it could be September before he sits out. By then, rosters expand and the options increase. But you can bet the Rangers are working on contingency plans.