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Rockies sign C.J. Cron to minor league contract

Cron joins a list of players competing for the starting first base job

The Colorado Rockies announced Monday morning that they have signed C.J. Cron to a minor league contract:

The 31-year-old first baseman and designated hitter appeared in 13 games with 52 plate appearances for the Detroit Tigers in 2020 before going down with a knee injury. During that time he slashed .190/.346/.548 for a wRC+ of 138 and an fWAR of 0.3. In 2019, he played 125 games for the Minnesota Twins and slashed .253/.311/.469.

He has a career DRS of 7 at the position after playing first for the Angels (2014-2017), Rays (2018), Twins (2019), and Tigers (2020).

Cron signed a one-year deal with the Tigers for $6.1 million following his season with the Twins in which he slashed .253/.311/.469 and hit 25 home runs.

See for yourself:

Bless You Boys’ Brady McAtamney writes that Cron’s 2020 season in Detroit ended on August 10 after he attempted to field a line-drive off the bat of Chicago White Sox infielder Danny Mendick.

You can see the play here:

The Rockies have struggled at first base since Justin Morneau’s 2014 season, so this gives them some options at the position. Last week on FanGraphs, Jay Jaffe detailed just how bad the Rockies have been at first: “That’s an 88 wRC+ and -2.0 WAR over a six-year span, both the lowest marks in the majors at the position. The next-worst wRC+ is the Angels’ 95 while the next-lowest WAR is the Rangers’ 1.6.”

In the offseason, the Rockies have signed a number of minor league contracts with the potential to play first: Nick Longhi, Connor Joe, and, last week, Greg Bird. In addition, Josh Fuentes will be competing to start at first.

The Cron and Bird signings also suggest that perhaps the Rockies are planning for a future that may include a designated hitter.

Purple Row will have more on this developing story as information becomes available.