In what was perhaps the most surprising move of the 40-man roster deadline day, the Tampa Bay Rays designated slugging first baseman C.J. Cron for assignment. Cron is coming off the best season of his MLB career, blasting 30 home runs with a 122 wRC+ and a 2.1 fWAR.
At just 28 years old, Cron represents a multi-year option for the Tigers. He is expected to command roughly $5.2M through arbitration and if signed, could be controlled through 2019.
However, despite a career-year, there is reason to doubt Cron’s sudden rise from last season. For starters, Cron’s HR/FB rate spiked to 21.4%, a big cry from his 15.8% career mark. His hard hit rate was up, but his fly ball rate was down which is concerning. Steamer projections see him as a 102 wRC+ type player, AKA just above average.
The Detroit Tigers could really use more oomph in their lineup however, and Cron would give them another bopper to slot in alongside Christin Stewart, Nicholas Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera. An extra year of team control gives them leverage in a trade scenario as well.
There are many other free agents the Detroit Tigers could pursue between now and the Rule 5 Draft, meaning their roster could look very different between now and then.