L-R: Nelson Cruz and Mitch Moreland
It's officially official. Nelson Cruz will no longer be suiting up for the Texas Rangers after he reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth $8 million with the Baltimore Orioles aka "Rangers East," just more than half of the Rangers' qualifying offer he turned down back in November.
So what does this mean for the Rangers when it comes to designated hitter, where Cruz would've likely played the majority of the time had he returned to Arlington? The answer won't exactly instill a ton of confidence in you, as the most experienced and likely bat to be the DH is Mitch Moreland.
Moreland will serve as the club's DH against right-handed starters — which is the majority of them. But what about when the opponent throws a lefty out on the hill? There's Michael Choice, the Arlington native who was acquired from Oakland for Craig Gentry and has all of 18 big-league at-bats under his belt. In those 18 at-bats, he has five hits (not bad) and six strikeouts (yikes). And well, when you get past him you start getting into names like Adam Rosales and Brett Lillibridge.
There's backup catcher J.P. Arencibia, who hits for a ton of power and not much else. But starting him against lefties at DH would mean you'd have two catchers in the lineup and an injury to Geovany Soto would mean the Rangers would lose the DH if Arencibia had to move there. That's never a good proposition.
There's still Kendrys Morales out there on the market, but do you want to bring in Morales and send Moreland packing? I'm doubting it, especially when you consider Moreland's price tag compared to what Morales' would be.
It's pretty hard to imagine the Rangers going into the season with a platoon of Moreland and Choice, but it's definitely a possibility. Keep your eyes peeled over the next month for the Rangers to add some sort of established DH from the right-hand side, but right now, that name doesn't seem to be out there.