The Minnesota Twins first baseman was due for a solid raise in arbitration, but it appears the Twins are looking to spend the money somewhere else.
The Minnesota Twins made a tough decision on Monday night as they opted to non-tender first baseman C.J. Cron, making him a free agent per Dan Hayes of The Athletic. The decision was part of MLB’s deadline to offer arbitration-eligible players a contract by 7 p.m. CT or lose them to free agency.
Cron’s first (and possibly only) season in Minnesota was a solid one going off of overall numbers. After being picked up off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays last winter, Cron responded with a strong performance at the plate, hitting .253 with 25 home runs and 78 RBI.
While Cron’s numbers looked strong, there were several underlying themes that made him expendable. The first development was the health of his thumb which landed him on the injured list on July 7. After landing on the list for the first of several times during the second half of the season, Cron hit just .229 with eight homers and 24 RBI.
Another reason behind the move could be his splits. Cron was a terror against left-handed pitching in 2019, hitting .326/.385/.636 with 11 HR and 31 RBI. When he matched up with right-handers, however, Cron mustered just a .225/.281/.404 slash line, but also hit 14 HR with 47 RBI.
While there’s still a possibility that Cron could return on a cheaper deal next season, the Twins have already kicked the tires on life after their first baseman by talking to representatives for third basemen Josh Donaldson and Todd Frazier per KSTP-TV’s Darren Wolfson. Another speculative target, Mike Moustakas, signed with the Cincinnati Reds on Monday.
The interest in third basemen could mean that the Twins are looking to move Miguel Sano to first base or even open the door for Brett Rooker or Alex Kirilloff to make a sooner than expected debut in 2020. Either way, the release of Cron leads to another hole on the Twins roster that must be filled.