Chicago Cubs: Five designated hitter candidates team could pursue

Nelson Cruz, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Nelson Cruz, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs, Nelson Cruz (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

If there is a designated hitter next year, the Cubs should target these free agents.

Will there or won’t there be a designated hitter in the National League in 2021? There have been conflicting reports about this, though Buster Olney recently reported that there will indeed be a DH in the Senior Circuit next year. If that’s the case, the Chicago Cubs had better make it a priority to upgrade the position, in some way, this offseason.

The Cubs struggled offensively at a lot of positions in 2020, but the DH spot was especially troublesome. Cubs DHs batted a pathetic .192 with a .630 OPS, their worst position for both marks. David Ross tried a lot of different players at the position, with catchers Willson Contreras and Victor Caratini both getting a lot of time there, but it seemed like whoever he batted in that spot simply didn’t produce.

When looking at candidates to DH in 2021, there aren’t a lot of great internal options. They could go with the Contreras/Caratini “platoon” again, but even if those to players hit better than they did in 2020, that would weaken the catcher position. As far as other positions on the diamond, there just isn’t much depth to draw from.

If the Cubs are serious about upgrading their lineup at the DH position, they’ll have to go outside the organization. Here, we look at five potential free agent targets. I have no idea how interested the Cubs are in any of them, but they could all potentially be a fit while working within what figures to be a small Cubs free agent budget.