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Daniels: PED issue complicates player evaluation

ANAHEIM -- One of the real challenges for Major League executives in acquiring talent is evaluating the possible use of performance-enhancing drugs by players of interest. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said that is a struggle for everybody.

"That's one of the real challenges in player evaluation," Daniels said. "How do you know ... your own players, in the Draft and Latin America or free agents or trades? I don't think we can truly know. There is so much money involved, the science behind it and the testing, the avoidance of testing -- obviously not just baseball, but all sports. That's a very challenging piece for us to make player evaluations. The reality is some of us really don't know."

The Rangers lost Nelson Cruz on Monday when he accepted a 50-game suspension from Major League Baseball for violation of the Basic Agreement and the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program. Cruz is a free agent after the season, and Daniels said the Rangers have left "open" the possibility of re-signing him, but that's a decision that will be made later.

But there is also a question of how this will impact Cruz, who otherwise might have been able to command a significant multiyear contract as one of the premier free-agent power hitters on the market.

"It's hard to say," Daniels said. "I give it a lot of thought. You wonder how you would handle it if you were in that position. I don't think there's an easy answer. It's like with any free agent. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and how each club values players. Melky Cabrera got a two-year deal last year.

"I don't think you can really predict it. It's all a function of individual club situations and circumstances and how a player handles it and how that player is perceived by his peers, etc. Nellie made the best decision he could for himself given the situation. It's really hard to speculate on how it would have turned out."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
Read More: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Texas Rangers