Nelson Cruz could be a cheap fix at DH

Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals - Game Two
Philadelphia Phillies v Washington Nationals - Game Two / G Fiume/GettyImages

Recent New York Mets rumors report that they are interested in trading for a designated hitter. Last week, Jon Heyman reported that the Mets were interested in Orioles first baseman, corner outfielder, and DH Trey Mancini, and on Thursday afternoon, he reported their interest in Nationals veteran slugger Nelson Cruz.

Mets rumors: Nelson Cruz could be a fit at DH

Cruz’s traditional stats aren’t great, but his metrics are promising. He’s slashing .239/.321/.365/.686, good for a slightly-above-average OPS+ of 104. He’s hit eight homers, 12 doubles, and driven in 46 runs. It’s certainly not the Nelson Cruz we have gotten used to…

…however, his metrics indicate that he's hitting the ball really well, and should continue to. He is in the 89th percentile in hard hit rate, 82nd percentile in average exit velocity, 80th percentile in barrel rate, 76th percentile in xSLG, and 75th percentile in xwOBA. He’s been taking his walks (71st percentile) and he hasn’t been striking out that much (50th percentile, exactly average). After seeing his traditional stats, I didn’t expect to see that much red on his baseball savant page.

Cruz just turned 42 last week. He is on a one-year deal, with a mutual option for next year. Given his age, his contract, and that he can’t play the field, it would be FAR cheaper to acquire him than some other DH’s, like Nationals teammate Josh Bell, whom there were Mets rumors about, or the aforementioned Trey Mancini. The Mets have stated publicly that they don't intend to move top prospects, and DH is a position that shouldn't require that.

I’m on board with the Mets rumors about acquiring Cruz because his metrics indicate that he will be successful in the second half, and because it’ll cost next to nothing to get him. There will undoubtedly be more moves, whether it’s in the rotation, bullpen, or maybe some more depth pieces, so if the Mets can save a little here by acquiring Cruz for cheap, I’m in.

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