Nelson Cruz for Baltimore Orioles?

I’m all for the Orioles adding a designated hitter this offseason — or about anyone who isn’t named Alexi Casilla for that matter. I just don’t think that guy should be Nelson Cruz.

No, it has nothing to do with the 50-game Biogenesis PED suspension.

With the Texas Rangers in 2013, Cruz was a 2.0 WAR player despite providing nothing defensively (-0.8 dWAR). He hit 27 homers in just 109 games and posted a .506 slugging percentage. That’s all well and good, but it’s the strikeout total that is concerning.

Cruz struck out nearly 24 percent of the time in 2013, 109 K’s in 413 at-bats. In 159 games in 2012 he struck out 140 times. We’re nearing Mark Reynolds totals with that K-rate.

Okay, maybe it’s not that bad.

Kendrys Morales is the other logical DH candidate that is still on the market and if you’re forcing me to make the Orioles surrender their first round draft pick for one of these two guys, it’s going to be for him. Morales posted a .277/.336/.449 slash in 156 games with the Mariners last season and just a 17.4 K%.

He’s hovered around 2 WAR the past three seasons (1.7 in 2010, 2.2 in 2012 and 2.7 in 2013) and projects to have a better season at the dish according to FanGraphs steamer projections.

Nelson Cruz 23.3% .254 .316 .338 113
Kendrys Morales 16.8% .278 .338 .346 119




Image Credit: Keith Allison

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