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, C.J. Cron (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: C.J. Cron

As we know, the Cubs are set at first base for 2021 with Anthony Rizzo. However, it would be nice to have a solid backup as well as a guy that could give Rizzo a break from the field from time to time while providing a solid DH option. If that’s what the Cubs are looking for, C.J. Cron might be a nice fit.

Cron, who will be 31 next year, rather quietly hit 52 doubles and 55 home runs between 2018 with the Tampa Bay Rays and 2019 with the Minnesota Twins. Prior to 2020, he signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Tigers, a move the Tigers made to try to field a more competitive team over 2019. Cron looked like he was going to have a big year before suffering a season-ending injury early on.

Cron would add a legitimate home run threat to the Cubs’ lineup, though one knock on him is that he doesn’t take a lot of walks. Still, he boasts a career .464 slugging percentage and an OPS+ of 111. He’s also not known for his defense, so with the Cubs he’d likely get most of his at-bats at DH – it wouldn’t be as much of a “platoon” situation as would Contreras and McCann.

There’s a good chance that Cron would again take a one-year deal to resolidify his value after an injury-shortened 2020 season. Again, he’s a guy the Cubs would have no interest in if there were no DH in the NL, but if there is, his bat could be a useful one at Wrigley Field.

Other potential first basemen who are free agents include Carlos Santana, Mitch Moreland, and Eric Thames.