Colorado Rockies sign first baseman C.J. Cron to minor league deal

DETROIT, MI - JULY 30: C.J. Cron #26 of the Detroit Tigers bats during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on July 30, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. The Royals defeated the Tigers 5-3. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JULY 30: C.J. Cron #26 of the Detroit Tigers bats during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Comerica Park on July 30, 2020 in Detroit, Michigan. The Royals defeated the Tigers 5-3. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Rockies announced that they have signed first baseman C.J. Cron to a minor-league deal with an invite to MLB Spring Training on Monday.

Cron, who turned 31 last month, has bounced around a bit in recent years as if he makes the Rockies MLB team, it will be his fifth team in five seasons.

But he may not be ready for Spring Training

In 2020, while playing with the Tigers, he was injured about two weeks into the shortened season when he suffered from a knee injury that required season-ending surgery so it is unknown whether or not he will be ready for the start of spring training.

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In the previous two seasons with Minnesota and Tampa Bay, he averaged 132 games played with 28 home runs, 76 RBI, a .253/.317/.482 slash line, and an OPS+ of 113. For comparison, Trevor Story had an OPS+ of 118 in 2020 for the Rockies and the next highest player was Charlie Blackmon’s 103. In other words, when healthy, he could provide the Rockies with a decent power bat.

If the MLBPA and the Commissioner/owners decide to have a universal DH in 2021 at the 11th hour, Cron would be a candidate to DH, at least on a part-time basis if the Rockies wanted to play some younger players at first base. However, Cron is also average to above-average defensively as, according to FanGraphs, he had 11 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) in the previous three seasons. He had 0 DRS (league average) in the 13 games he played in 2020.

We also mentioned Cron as a possible target for the Rockies back in October.

Cron is familiar with the Rockies organization as his father, Chris, was the Rockies Triple-A manager from 2000 through 2002, when the Rockies were affiliated with Colorado Springs. Currently, he is the manager of the Reno Aces, the Triple-A team of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Cron will join a few players that will vie for the starting first base position for the Rockies in 2021, including the team’s primary first baseman in 2020 (Josh Fuentes) and Greg Bird. Ryan McMahon could also factor in as well, depending on if the Rockies decide to put McMahon at third base to replace Nolan Arenado or use Fuentes, who is also a natural third baseman, there instead.

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