The Detroit Tigers have completed their coup of the Twins’ right side, agreeing to a one-year deal with first baseman C.J. Cron, per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. This deal matches the one made with Schoop, coming in at $6.1MM, per Fenech and MLB Insider Jeff Passan. The Tigers have announced the deal with Cron, represented by Moye Sports Associates.
Cron joins his third club in as many seasons after being non-tendered in back-to-back winters by the Rays and Twins, respectively. The Twins claimed Cron from Tampa and paid him $4.8MM last season, but balked at the $7.7MM salary he was projected to earn through arbitration. Cron ends up getting a raise from the Tigers, though still coming in under his projected arbitration mark.
The trepidation over paying Cron stems from the fairly limited skillset offered by the slugging first baseman. The power is legit, as Cron has put together back-to-back seasons with an ISO north of .200 – but as with his once-and-future teammate Jonathan Schoop, the power comes with below-average walk rates and a batting average consistently in the neighborhood of .250 (he’s a .258 BA career hitter).
Cron did post an above-average barrel rate rate in 2019, but he also suffered some bad luck with a .277 BABIP that fell well below his average rate of .293. In his one year in Minnesota, Cron hit .253/.311/.469 with 25 home runs and 78 RBIs while helping the Twins to the AL Central crown.
Along with Schoop, Cron brings much-needed pop to the right side of the Tigers infield and gives them some potential trade chips come July. To make room for the Cron and Schoop signings, Brandon Dixon has been designated for assignment, the team announced. Coincidentally, Dixon led the Tigers with 15 home runs last season, a mark that both Schoop and Cron topped with the Twins. The Tigers 40-man roster is currently full.