C.J. Cron
C.J. Cron to DH in Game 1 of ALDS
C.J. Cron, DH, LAA
10/1/2014
News: Angels first baseman C.J. Cron will serve as the designated hitter in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Royals Thursday, MLB.com reports.

After a sold start to his season in May and June, Cron has slowed down considerably in the second half, hitting just .209/.261/.395 with two home runs in 43 at-bats in September. He wrapped up his first major-league season with a .256/.289/.450 line along with 11 home runs and 37 RBI in 242 at-bats.

Analysis: 

Carlos Beltran
Yankees' Carlos Beltran undergoes elbow surgery
Carlos Beltran, DH, NYY
9/30/2014
News: The Yankees announced that outfielder Carlos Beltran underwent surgery to remove loose pieces and a bone spur from his right elbow, per the Journal News on Tuesday.

The procedure is not expected to slow him down in the offseason. Beltran is expected to resume throwing and hitting in roughly six weeks. He should be cleared to begin playing in 12 weeks, according to the paper.

Beltran appeared in just three of the final 20 games in September because of the issue. He finished the year with a .233/.301/.402 line with 15 home runs and 49 RBI in 403 at-bats.

Analysis: 

Jesus Montero
Mariners bring Jesus Montero back to 40-man roster
Jesus Montero, DH, SEA
9/29/2014
News: The Mariners activated designated hitter Jesus Montero from the suspended list, which puts him back on the 40-man roster. Montero was suspended after getting into an altercation in late August with a team employee in the minors.
Analysis: 

David Ortiz
Red Sox not concerned with David Ortiz's wrist injury
David Ortiz, DH, BOS
9/29/2014
News: Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has been receiving treatment on his injured left wrist, according to MassLive.com.

Ortiz missed the final five games of the season with the injury.Though it's the same wrist Ortiz had surgery on in 2008, general manager Ben Cherington said the team is not concerned with the issue.

"It should resolve itself over the course of the offseason," Cherington said.

Analysis: 

Paul Konerko
Paul Konerko wraps up career in cleanup slot Sunday
Paul Konerko, DH, CHW
9/28/2014
News: White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko went 0 for 3 while batting cleanup in his final career game as his team fell 6-4 to the Royals in Sunday's season finale.

Konerko started his career in 1997 by recording seven at-bats with the Dodgers but played 16 of his 18 seasons with the White Sox. He ends an excellent major-league career with 439 home runs, 1,412 RBI and nine stolen bases while playing 2,349 games.

Analysis: 

Billy Butler
Billy Butler no longer a patient hitter
Billy Butler, DH, KC
9/24/2014
News: As Billy Butler closes out a second straight disappointing season for the Royals, it's worth taking a look at what has gone wrong over the last couple of years. The most obvious aspect of Butler's decline is the lack of home run power, as his homer total has dwindled from 29 in 2012 to 15 in 2013 to nine this season. Yet there is more to Butler's decline than just drooping power numbers.

Going back to Aug. 27, 2013, Butler has struck out 119 times and walked 49 times in 719 plate appearances. That gives him a walk-to-strikeout ratio of 0.41, which is barely above the major league average for each of the last two seasons. Prior to late last season, Butler had been a patient hitter with high BB/K ratios, but he has settled into a far more aggressive approach.

Butler has become a less selective hitter, and it could be behind his declining power, as well as his sagging walk rate and on-base percentage. I explored these trends in a recent Fantasy Baseball Today blog post, and found them to be discouraging when looking ahead to Butler's potential value for 2015. He may appear to be a sneaky late-round play in next year's drafts, but his production and plate discipline have been shaky for long enough that you will be able to pass him up in most mixed leagues.

Analysis: 

Adam Lind
Adam Lind anxious about contract situation
Adam Lind, DH, TOR
9/24/2014
News: Blue Jays first baseman/designated hitter Adam Lind remains eager to learn whether his team will pick up a $7.5 million option on him in 2015, per Sportsnet.com, which is reporting that it's likely. Lind criticized the front office for not letting him know its plans.

"I'd like to get a little more clarity than I had last year," Lind said. "I think I've been here long enough that I deserve a straight answer. Just tell me, just let me know. We're all on the same team here, right? I played injured a lot this year, unknowingly, I guess, if you want to call it that, and we're all on the same team. I know it's front office and clubhouse, but you want players to be happy."

Lind has certainly produced when healthy despite a lack of power. He boasts a .324/.386/.489 stat line with six home runs and 39 RBI in 278 at-bats.

Analysis: 

Victor Martinez
Victor Martinez: Tigers should have more victories
Victor Martinez, DH, DET
9/24/2014
News: Tigers slugging designated hitter Victor Martinez spoke critically of his team Wednesday morning. He has claimed it has underachieved.

"We should be way better than where we're at right now," he told MLive.com when it was suggested that the Tigers have won as many games as most expected heading into the season. "But I've been around in the game for a little bit and that just shows you how baseball can be. That's why you don't take anything for granted. The game takes 27 outs, nine innings, and that's why you have to make sure to play the game the right way and just capitalize when you get opportunities.

"The team that we have ... we should have more wins than we have right now."

Martinez certainly can't be blamed for any perceived underachievement by the Tigers, who are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot. He is in the Most Valuable Player discussion with a stat line of .335/.408/.564 and 100 RBI.

Analysis: 

Kendrys Morales
Kendrys Morales seeking to stay with Mariners
Kendrys Morales, DH, SEA
9/24/2014
News: First baseman Kendrys Morales has expressed satisfaction with playing for the Mariners and an openness to forgo free agency while signing a contract with Seattle.

Morales sat out the first three months of this season before joining the Mariners and making far less money than what was made in the qualifying offer presented by the team.

"If it got to the point where we could work something out before I got to free agency, I'd have an interest in staying," he told the Tacoma News Tribune. "I'm comfortable with the players. I'm comfortable with the direction of the team. Yes, I'd love to stay here."

The question is whether the Mariners are comfortable with him. Morales, who has not driven in a run in his last 11 games as his team has faded in the playoff chase, owns a disappointing stat line of .219/.268/.332 with just seven home runs in 352 at-bats.

"He's a big risk," one rival club official told the News-Tribune. "I doubt he gets more than two (years) after the year he's had."

Analysis: 

Nelson Cruz
Nelson Cruz launches 40th home run Tuesday
Nelson Cruz, DH, BAL
9/23/2014
News: Orioles outfielder Nelson Cruz went 3 for 5 with a solo home run in his team's 5-4 win over the Yankees Tuesday.

Cruz knocked his major-league-leading 40th home run in the fifth inning to put his team up 5-1, and they were able to hang on for a win in the later innings. It's his first career 40-homer season. Cruz has hit .270/.334/.529 with 107 RBI in 596 at-bats.

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