Nelson Cruz of the Mariners Thursday was named the winner of the 2017 Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award after a season in which he hit .288, scored 91 runs, belted 39 home runs, drove in 119 runs and had a .924 OPS in 155 games. This marks the first time Cruz has won the DH award, named after his club’s batting coach.
“Nelson is truly deserving of the Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter of the Year Award,” said Martinez in a release. “I see first-hand how his presence both in the clubhouse and in our lineup provide stability that makes his teammates around him better. While he goes about his work in a quiet way, we are glad that he is receiving the national recognition that he deserves.”
Cruz joins Edgar Martinez (1995, 1997-98, 2000-01) and Willie Horton (1979) as the only Mariners to win the award.
Cruz, 37, led the American League in RBIs while also ranking fourth in home runs, fifth in slugging (.549) and fifth in OPS (.924). He hads 38 home runs as a DH, surpassing the club record set by Martinez in 2000 (37).
In 146 starts at DH, Cruz batted .293 with 88 runs, 28 doubles, 38 home runs, 114 RBIs, a .378 on-base percentage, a .556 slugging mark and a .933 OPS. Among players with at least 250 plate appearances as a DH, Cruz ranked first in batting, hits, runs, home runs, RBI, slugging, OPS and extra-base hits, T1st in doubles and second in on-base percentage.
Cruz also set career bests in RBIs, walks and on-base percentage while leading the club in games, runs, home runs, RBI, walks, on-base percentage, slugging, OPS and extra-base hits. He also tallied at least 100 RBIs for the second consecutive season. He is one of 10 Mariners in club history with multiple 100-RBI seasons.
Mariners acquire lefty reliever Moll
The Mariners Thursday claimed 25-year-old LHP Sam Moll, a career minor leaguer who made 11 relief appearances with the Oakland A’s last season, off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates picked up Moll three days ago after the A’s designated him for assignment.
Moll went 0-0 with three holds and a 10.80 ERA with seven strikeouts during his relief appearances. He split the 2017 minor league season between AAA Albuquerque (Colorado) and AAA Nashville (Oakland) where he combined to go 3-2 with a 3.64 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 50 games.
He was acquired by Oakland Aug. 16 in exchange for a player to be named later or cash. After tossing seven shutout innings with Nashville, he was called up Sept. 1 and made his MLB debut that day at Seattle, retiring the only batter he faced.
In five minor league seasons with Colorado (2013-17) and Oakland (2017), he has combined to go 9-10 with four saves and a 3.35 ERA with 201 strikeouts in 151 games, including six starts.
He was selected by Colorado in the third round of the 2013 draft out of the University of Memphis. He was a 2013 first-team All-Conference USA selection and finished his collegiate career 17-9 with a 2.86 ERA and 213 strikeouts.
Mariners off-season transactions
Oct. 31: Outrighted RHP Casey Lawrence to AAA Tacoma.
Nov. 2: Claimed INF/OF Andrew Romine off waivers from Detroit; reinstated RHP David Phelps and LHP Drew Smyly from the 60-day disabled list; announced that 1B Yonder Alonso, OF Jarrod Dyson, INF Gordon Beckham, C Carlos Ruiz and 1B Danny Valencia had become free agents; declined 2018 options on RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Yovani Gallardo.
Nov. 3: Claimed INF Zach Vincej off waivers.
Nov. 7: Outrighted Vincej to Tacoma.
Nov. 14: Hired Jim Brower as an assistant coach.
Nov. 15: Acquired INF Ryon Healy from Oakland in exchange for RHP Emilio Pagan and and INF Alexander Campos.
Nov. 27: Signed RHP Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
Nov. 30: Claimed LHP Sam Moll off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates.