MLBTR had projected Cron to earn a $7.7MM salary in his final season of arbitration eligibility. Hildenberger was not yet eligible for arbitration.
That already seemed like a fairly hefty rate of pay. Any uncertainty in the decision may have been resolved when Cron underwent surgery on his thumb at the tail end of the season, introducing some health questions.
Cron has for the most part been a quality big-league hitter. He was humming along nicely last year before the thumb issue arose. After a rough stretch, he finished his season with a .253/.311/.469 slash and 25 homers in 499 plate appearances.
As for Hildenberger, who’s closing in on his 29th birthday, the past two seasons just didn’t go as hoped. He burned through the upper levels of the farm and looked strong in his 2017 debut. But he was knocked around a bit in 2018 and never caught his breath in a truncated 2019 showing at the MLB level. There’s hope yet that Hildenberger will establish himself as a quality reliever, but he may have to do it elsewhere.