Lance Berkman is still on the DL. I’m sure you knew that by noting the lack of his presence in the lineup last night against New York. Did you know he was eligible to come off? Do you know why he didn’t? He insisted that he did not need to go on a rehab assignment and that he swing was horrible either way, so why waste time? Yeah, I think that experiment is close to, if not already, done. I now question whether it’s truly effective to have one DH, who may or may not be able to play even one position in the field, instead of a rotating DH system that uses players who can be counted on defensively and provide enough rest to ensure health across the lineup.
I look at Adrian Beltre, who has two guaranteed years left and a vesting option for a third on his contract and ailing hamstrings to boot. Mike Olt is gone and Joey Gallo is still some time away from MLB action, and he actually is projecting as a right fielder instead of sticking at third base. I still love him in the field, but his legs are not his best friend either. He would benefit from a system that would afford him some more rest and chances to keep his legs from landing him on the disabled list. Jeff Baker could help, but his ineffective hitting against righties limits his use; plus, Beltre doesn’t want to sit out. Now that Olt is gone, I’ll be interested to see how much faith they place in Beltre’s health and how they plan to cover him during his remaining time here.
Nelson Cruz is a guy who has some wonky hamstrings and could serve from getting a day off of the field, but he’s also staring down the barrel of a suspension and no one knows if the Rangers will pick him up again at some point or be done. That being said, he is actually a perfect DH candidate: he can hit, he’d basically be a 5th outfielder, which would allow the club to find a true 1B/3B utility and middle infield utility and let him help in the outfield occasionally. If his suspension was already served or being served and he’d be free to play in 2014, I’d utilize him that way on an AL 25 man roster.
There is a lot to gain from having a good DH; if they can play a position adequately enough to not allow too many errors, even better for the club. I think it’s time to move on from the Lance Berkman experiment and search for an alternative solution. In the meantime, I ask you the fans:
Which do you prefer: a limited role DH or a DH who can more fit the mold I cast on Nelson Cruz (good bat and can play a position or two that you need covered)?