The Rockies officially selected the contracts of first baseman C.J. Cron and utilityman Chris Owings, the team announced. Colorado already had one open spot on the 40-man roster, and another was created when righty Peter Lambert was placed on the 60-day injured list. Lambert underwent Tommy John surgery last July and is likely to miss the entire 2021 season.
Both Cron and Owings signed minor league deals with the team within the last two months. For Owings, he is returning for his second season with the Rox, after inking another minors contract last winter and then hitting .268/.318/.439 over 44 plate appearances in 2020.
Owings’ versatility already made him a pretty decent bet to break camp with the Rockies, but the decision was probably clinched after yesterday’s news that Brendan Rodgers will miss at least a month recovering from a strained hamstring. Rodgers’ injury shuffled the team’s infield plans and made Owings’ ability to play second, third, and shortstop (not to mention the outfield) all the more valuable.
Cron was also making a strong bid to win a roster spot, as his demolition of Cactus League pitching this spring has the 31-year-old in line to serve as Colorado’s starting first baseman. Playing for his fifth different team in as many seasons, Cron is surely looking to re-establish himself in one place, as his above-average offense didn’t stop the Rays and Twins from non-tendering him due to an escalating arbitration price tag.
Over 2586 big league plate appearances, Cron has hit .257/.312/.464 with 118 home runs, highlighted by a 30-homer campaign with Tampa Bay in 2018. A knee surgery cut Cron’s 2020 season short after only 52 PA with the Tigers.