With Monday night being the deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft by putting them on the 40-man rosters, both of the MLB teams in Florida designated two pretty good major leaguers for assignment. And the Rockies should pounce on getting one or both them.
On Monday night, the Tampa Bay Rays designated their first baseman C.J. Cron for assignment after adding some prospects to their 40-man roster. In addition, the Miami Marlins designated utility guy Derek Dietrich for assignment for the same reason.
Both of them could provide the Rockies with cheap options to fill some holes on the major league roster.
For Cron, he had his best year of his career thus far for the surprising Tampa Bay Rays, who won 90 games in 2018. Cron played in 140 games and (with playing half of his games in the pitcher friendly Tropicana Field) he hit 30 home runs and 74 RBI with 28 doubles, 127 hits, a .253/.323/.493 slash line, and an OPS+ of 123. Offensively, that is a 40 percent improvement on Ian Desmond, who played first base the most for the Rockies in 2018.
In addition, even with a down year defensively (-2 Defensive Runs Saved in 2018 after 6 DRS in the previous two seasons), Cron is still a better defender than Desmond (-6 DRS in 2018) at first base. If the Rockies were to acquire Cron, Desmond could move to the outfield, where he is much better defensively.
Even Mike Petriello of MLB.com and Statcast joked on Twitter last night saying how Cron should be a Rockie in this tweet below.
Cron was projected to make $5.2 million in arbitration this offseason, according to MLB Trade Rumors, but the Rockies could probably sign him for less on the open market.
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Dietrich could help the Rockies in a couple of ways. In 2018, Dietrich played first, second, and third base as well as left and right field. He played left field the most in 2018 and to be quite honest, defensively, it’s his worst position as he had -15 DRS there in just 97 games. He is much better as an infielder.
So, if the Rockies were to sign him and use him in an everyday role, he would probably be best off at either first or second base (because we all know that there’s no way in the world that he would dethrone Nolan Arenado at third unless it were to be for a day off).
Last season, in 149 games, he had 132 hits, 26 doubles, 16 home runs, 45 RBI, a slash of .265/.330/.421, and an OPS+ of 112. In the past three seasons, that is also roughly what he has averaged.
He was projected to make $4.8 million in arbitration this offseason, per MLB Trade Rumors, but the Rockies could potentially sign him (if nobody claims him) once he hits free agency for less than that. He has two more seasons until he is eligible for free agency (in the classic way).