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3 best C.J. Cron trade destinations ahead of MLB deadline

Andrew Buller-Russ

It’s MLB trade season, and one of the hottest bats on the market is Colorado Rockies All-Star first baseman C.J. Cron. With the Rockies nearly 20 games behind the Los Angeles Dodges for the NL West division lead, and 6.5 games out of the Wild Card race, Cron is a prime trade candidate.

It’s not just that the Rockies are nearly out of the race this season, it’s also that they’re unlikely to take a major leap forward next year as is either. One of their top prospects in the organization, Elehuris Montero also plays the corner infield spots and is ready for the pros, after tearing the cover off the ball at AAA, hitting .324 with 13 home runs this season.

Cron is under contract for $7.25 million this year (more like $3.5 million for the rest of 2022) and next, which is a low cost to pay for an All-Star first baseman with 21 home runs hit across 381 plate appearances this season. Not only has he been mashing baseballs into the oblivion at Coors Field, Cron has also held down first base committing just two errors in 75 starts this season.

Basically, any team looking for a slugging first baseman/designated hitter who can crush right-handed pitchers should have a rudimentary interest in adding Cron ahead of the August 2 MLB trade deadline. Here are three ideal landing spots for Cron this summer.

C.J. Cron gets traded to Cleveland Guardians

MLB: All Star-American League at National League
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According to Jon Heyman, Cron is a candidate for trade, but he’s no guarantee to be moved, as he “loves Colorado“. This, along with his production means he won’t be traded for peanuts. Yet, since first base isn’t exactly a premier position, he won’t command a premium price either. Plus, trading Cron can help replenish the Rockies’ organization’s talent at other positions they’re not stocked up on.

One team linked to Cron has been the New York Mets, but they just acquired Daniel Vogelbach, and while they’re possibly still looking to add a bat, it likely won’t be another first baseman with Pete Alonso in town. Another who could step to the plate, as they’re on the heels of the AL Central, are the Cleveland Guardians.

The Guardians haven’t gotten strong production out of Owen Miller at first base, but have also used Josh Naylor there as well. But with Naylor also able to play the corner outfield spots, which has been an even bigger weakness in Cleveland, adding Cron could boost the team as a whole.

  • C.J. Cron stats: .298/.350/.552/.902, 21 HR, 69 RBI, 3.0 WAR

Cleveland’s Weighted Runs Created Plus (wRC+) from their DH position currently ranks third-worst in baseball. In other words, the player who’s only asked to hit on gameday, hasn’t been producing runs at a very high level. Cron likely wouldn’t be asked to DH often, but him being able to play first base, and DH on other days should lead to a more productive lineup, with Naylor and Franmil Reyes mixing in at other positions as well.

By getting two top-rated pitching prospects who MLB.com projects to see the majors by 2024, the Rockies add more pitching depth that may be able to help them compete in the future, while getting Montero more at-bats in the interim.

Related: MLB power rankings 2022: Yankees, Dodgers among best MLB teams at All-Star Break

Cron provides a boost for Houston Astros

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Houston Astros
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  • Rockies trade: C.J. Cron
  • Astros trade: RHP Chayce McDermott (12th ranked prospect in team’s top-30)

Few saw it coming, but Yuli Gurriel just hasn’t been the same in 2022 after winning the AL batting title last season, but he’s regressed in a big way in his age-38 season. With Gurriel currently hitting just .235, it may be time for change in Houston.

Meanwhile Cron can likely step right into Gurriel’s cleats at first base and immediately look like a star with the Astros both at the plate and with his mitt. With the ‘Stros having the second-best record in baseball, they don’t want to leave it up to chance in October. Paying a small price to add Cron could work wonders as they matchup with other powerhouses like the New York Yankees.

Related: MLB MVP race 2022: Evaluating NL, AL MVP candidates at All-Star Break

Milwaukee Brewers add impact bat for postseason run

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Colorado Rockies
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Milwaukee Brewers are currently atop their division, but barely, with the St. Louis Cardinals nipping at their heels. One potential way to boost their lineup is by adding C.J. Cron at first base. This would essentially make Rowdy Tellez the full-time DH, but let’s be honest, that’s his best fit anyway.

Doing so would not only improve the Brewers’ offense, it would also improve their performance in the field, boosting their pitching staff. Cron also has five Defensive Runs Saved, which is good for the third-best mark among first baseman in the MLB this season.

  • Rockies trade: C.J. Cron
  • Brewers trade: OF Hedbert Perez (ninth prospect in team’s MLB top-30), RHP Max Lazar

Cron is under contract for another season in Colorado, but he also comes with a bit of a red flag, as he’s hit just .229 at away ballparks compared to hitting .352 at home at Coors Field. Obviously the elevation comes into play as well as his comfort level. Can he keep up that red-hot production playing in a new home? Even if Cron is better than what the Brewers have, his value is likely at it’s peak with the Rockies, teams know this too.

Related: Top MLB free agents of 2023: Aaron Judge on top, Jacob deGrom slides in MLB free agent rankings