The following two sentences spoken by Texas Rangers manager Jon Daniels to USA Today are undeniably true.

“We’d be in better shape if he wasn’t suspended. It’s a choice Nelson made.”

Daniels is talking about the 50-game suspension that Nelson Cruz accepted on Aug. 5 for violating baseball’s drug policy. If Cruz had appealed he could have continued playing for the Rangers just as Alex Rodriguez has continued playing for the New York Yankees.

Well it’s not as if the Rangers were blind-sided by Cruz’s suspension which was more than six months in the making. And it’s not as if the absence of Cruz is the only reason that the Rangers trail the Cleveland Indians by 1½ games for the second AL wild card with seven games to play.

The Miami New Times reported on Jan. 29 that Cruz’s name had appeared in Biogenesis documents. The next day Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPNDallas.com wrote “The Rangers should expect this to get worse before it gets better. They should already be putting their contingency plan in place so if Cruz gets popped for 50 games – the punishment for a first-time offense of the league’s PED policy – they can handle the suspension as smoothly as possible.”

Bingo.

The Rangers certainly would be in better shape if they had Cruz – they’re averaging 3.35 runs per game in September next-to-last in the American League (though ahem they averaged an MLB-best 5.89 runs in August despite getting only 15 plate appearances from Cruz).

And Cruz certainly made his choices first in his use of performance-enhancing drugs then in accepting his suspension. He told USA Today that baseball threatened him with a 100-game suspension if he didn’t accept 50 – and that as a potential free agent he did not want his ban to extend into next season.