A key component of the new labor deal between MLB and the players union was the implementation of the universal designated hitter.
On Sunday, seven-time All-Star Nelson Cruz became the first full-time DH to join the National League when he reportedly agreed to a one-year, $15 million deal with the Nationals.
The Nationals were 21st in MLB with 182 homers last season and have the fifth-worst odds (+12000*) to win the World Series, but they are at least getting an inexpensive, proven bat.
- Cruz is set to earn $12M in 2022, his age-42 season; he’ll receive an extra $3M if the team doesn’t exercise his 2023 option.
- In ’21, he became the oldest player in MLB history (41) to belt 30 HRs in a season (he finished with 32).
- He led the AL in HR in 2014, RBI in 2017, and has won four Silver Sluggers and two Edgar Martinez Awards for best DH.
- He is a career .277 batter with 449 home runs and 1,238 RBI for six teams.
With the NL’s formal adoption of the DH, there could be several openings for players who are limited in the field, including those nearing the end of their careers.
Players in similar situations who could garner interest include Albert Pujols, Jorge Soler, Nick Castellanos, Khris Davis, Kyle Schwarber, and Jose Martinez.