Rockies Sign Slugger Cron To Compete At 1B (m.mlb.com)

The Rockies made another move to address their first-base situation on Monday, signing veteran right-handed slugger C.J. Cron to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

The 31-year-old Cron, however, has been a consistent offensive producer over seven seasons with the Angels, Rays, Twins and Tigers. He is a .257/.312/.464 career hitter, good for a 111

. Cron has posted an OPS+ above the league average of 100 in all but one season — a 98 in 2017 — and he walloped a total of 55 homers between 2018-19. Over those two seasons, he especially crushed left-handed pitching, batting .315/.380/.591.

Cron also brings a high quality of contact to Colorado. Since 2017, 12.9% of his batted balls have qualified as barrels, a Statcast term for contact with an ideal combination of exit velocity and launch angle. That rate ranks 24th of more than 300 hitters during that time (minimum 500 batted balls), putting Cron just behind Bryce Harper.

Cron should have plenty of opportunity with the Rockies, who have struggled to find production at first base since franchise icon Todd Helton retired. Colorado first basemen posted a .651 OPS in 2020, and Daniel Murphy retired. With Ryan McMahon likely moving to third in place of Nolan Arenado, Cron’s competition at first could include Bird as well as right-handed batters Ian Desmond, Josh Fuentes and non-roster invitee Connor Joe.

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