L-R: Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland
There likely isn't room on the Texas Rangers' roster for Mitch Moreland and Nelson Cruz.
It also isn't likely Nelson Cruz returns to the Rangers in his free agent season. Or wait, is it?
Cruz's value is diminishing quickly, and every day that passes without him signing seems to point to him being available to the Rangers at a bargain rate. If Cruz signs with another team, that team would have to forfeit a draft pick to the Rangers, and so far, that's been a big deterrent to other teams signing the free agent slugger.
Cruz entered the offseason asking for $75 million over four years, and that quickly was seen as ridiculous after a year that saw him get suspended 50 games for PED use and saw his defensive skills diminish even more.
Mitch Moreland was assumed to be on his way out after the Rangers dealt Ian Kinsler in a blockbuster to acquire slugging first baseman Prince Fielder, but then it was assumed he would be a platoon designated hitter and occasional right fielder.
Batting: Advantage Cruz — Cruz is aging, but he's a much more feared hitter than Moreland and can easily be a .275 hitter over the course of a season, with a career high of well over .300 a few years back. Moreland has had trouble staying in the .250 range and is extremely streaky, even moreso than the hot-and-cold Cruz.
Power: Advantage Cruz — This one is actually closer than you think. Moreland has big-time power, but Cruz has the Boomstick.
Defense: Advantage Moreland — Not even close here. Not even in the same ballpark. Moreland is a plus defender at first base and could probably be a decent right fielder if given more opportunity there. Cruz is a defensive liability, often taking poor angles. He does have a cannon, but he has to get to the ball first.
Health: Wash — Both of these guys have trouble staying healthy, but the slight nod might actually go to Cruz, who has problematic hamstrings but has never really run into any other health problems. Moreland seems to have a different injury every year that prevents him from having his breakout season.
Cost: Advantage Moreland — Cruz, if he returned, would only be given a one-year deal, but it'd likely be at least $10 million, if not more. Moreland is in the arbitration process right now and will earn anywhere from $2 million to $3.025 million.
Make your own decision. If Cruz is back, he's the full-time DH and there's really no spot for Moreland, who would likely be traded for relief pitching help. If Moreland returns, there's no place for Cruz, and Moreland would serve as a DH, outfielder and first baseman.