The Rockies announced that first baseman C.J. Cron has been signed to a minor league contract, which contains an invitation to the team’s big league Spring Training camp.
Cron signed a one-year, $6.1MM free agent deal with the Tigers last winter and got off to a strong start in Motown, hitting four homers with some good on-base and slugging numbers (.194/.346/.548) over 52 plate appearances. Unfortunately, Cron’s season was prematurely ended after he suffered a left knee injury that required surgery. As one might expect, there hasn’t been much offseason buzz about a player coming off such a procedure, though as of last month, Cron was cleared for full activity and is expected to be ready to contribute in full during spring camp.
The 31-year-old Cron has delivered above-average offensive production (110 wRC+, 111 OPS+) over his seven Major League seasons, hitting .257/.312/.464 with 118 home runs over 2586 career plate appearances with the Tigers, Twins, Rays, and Angels. Because Cron is a first base-only player whose bat is merely above-average and not elite, however, teams have found him expendable, as both Minnesota and Tampa Bay chose to non-tender him rather than pay Cron’s increasing arbitration salary.
An opportunity presents itself for regular playing time in Denver, as Cron now might be the favorite for the Rockies’ starting first base job. He will be competing with Josh Fuentes and another minor league signing in Greg Bird, as Ryan McMahon looks to be shifting across the diamond to take over from Nolan Arenado at third base. Cron is surely one of many veteran hitters hoping the NL ends up adopting the designated hitter again, as it would create another route for regular at-bats both in 2021 and in future years.
Good signing. Bounce back candidate if he can make the team and he could mash in that ballpark.
Wouldn’t even term it as bounce back. Ugly BA last season in limited playing time, but 4 HRs in only 40 or so ABs, a 139 OPS+ and a nearly 900 OPS. He’s going to be an interesting test for what Colorado does to hitters. He’s a .250/30 HR guy at regular altitude. Might put up some crooked numbers as a Rockie.
He was injured. I consider it a bounce back.
Greg Bird’s starting job just flew out the window.
Well, somebody’s gotta play 1B when Bird inevitably lands on the 60-day IL. COL could do a lot worse than Cron in that regard.
As soon as he hear this news he’s got injured
How did he just get a minor league deal?
Not uncommon for vets to take minor league deals at this stage of the offseason, even though they know they’re going to make the MLB team. It gives the big league club time to clear roster space. Same thing with Jay Bruce and the Yankees. He’ll break with the team out of camp.
Aside from his 52 plate appearance sample size last year, he’s really just an all-or-nothing kind of guy. Gives you 25-30 home runs a year, but had a .314 OBP from 2015-2019. Although he isn’t a bad 1B defender.
Right handed power 1b only players are undervalued due to juiced baseballs
What’s wrong with Avila! You could have had him on a minor league deal?!! And you passed?!!! It not like Nunez is gonna provide any Veteran experience to the team!
That assumes he would have taken that deal from the Tigers if it was offered. If nothing else he may have preferred Colorado because it’s closer to home; he’s from Arizona and I think he still lives there.
That is correct. It is an assumption I make because the Tigers are farther along in their rebuild, and any numbers at Coors field will be discounted. With NA traded and Story in his final year of control, Pittsburgh has to be the only team that had a more disappointing off season than Colorado. If it would have taken a major league offer, than Avila should have given it!
Everybody would’ve grade the Arenado trade higher had they known the money saved would go to Cron.
Poor Greg Bird
Good for CJ. Would have liked to have seen him back in Detroit, but the ballpark in Denver will be an advantage for him. Wishing him the best.
An above average bat on a minor league deal is pretty much what you look for. This deal has plenty of upside.
This man about to hit 70
Yes 70 bombs, and don’t forget to mention that he’ll rake!
Huge fantasy upside if that’s your thing, he could easily go for 40 bombs and he already is a pretty good player. Only issue might be him playing himself out of town in a deadline trade to a contender.
For only a minor league contract, you’d think he’d have waited until DH was added to NL or signed with an AL team. Seems odd none of the latter would be interested at those terms. Perhaps Colorado sold him on more-likely playing time.
Well when your only competition is Josh Fuentes, I’d say you got a good chance of playing 150+ games.
This puts the Rockies over the top. Dodgers have no chance now!
Good signing, minimal risk.
Cron was destined to play in Coors field. He should be good for at least 35/40 bombs in a full season.
This is a good pickup for the Rockies. Cron should have a nice rebound season in Denver if his knee is healthy. He could definitely put up some Mark Reynolds type numbers in Coors
Cron is a garbage time stat filler. If the game is out reach, one way or the other, he hits. If you need him to come up with a clutch hit, he will watch three straight strikes and not swing once. Four teams in four years. Is all that needs to be said about him.