Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Front Page: Passan: Twins to Sign Catcher Alex Avila

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:20 PM
Jeff Passan of ESPN reported Friday morning that the Twins had an agreement with veteran catcher Alex Avila on a one-year, $4.25 million...
Full topic ›

Front Page: Report: Twins Nearing Multi-Year Deal with Mi...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:20 PM
According to Peirre Noujaim from Fox 9 News in Minneapolis, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal to keep veteran Michael Pineda with t...
Full topic ›

Front Page: Wheeler’s Gone, But Bumgarner Would Give the...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:14 PM
With Zack Wheeler signing with the Philadelphia Phillies for $118 million over five years, Minnesota’s interest turns to Madison Bumgarne...
Full topic ›

Front Page: Local Uncle Eager to Blame Quiet Twins Offsea...

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 05:08 PM
Bert Galligan, a divorced business machine salesman from West St. Paul, has begun blaming the Minnesota Twins’ slow start to free agency...
Full topic ›

Chasing Madison Bumgarner Thread

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:47 PM
Looks like the market is heating up for Bumgarner now, and the Twins are in. Post rumors and thoughts as they arise, please:  
Full topic ›

The C.J. Cron Conundrum

For many, Dec. 2 represents scouring the internet on Cyber Monday, trying to find the best deal on an air fryer or a new coffee maker. For MLB teams, that date holds much more weight, as it is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Nine Twins are eligible, eight decisions are presumed locks. Then there’s C.J. Cron …
Image courtesy of © Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Cron’s 2019 season was defined by health, and lack thereof, as his performance was directly correlated with the status of his right thumb. Prior to his July thumb injury, Cron had a nifty .821 OPS in 331 plate appearances with a wRC+ of 112 and a solid 19.3 K%. After the injury, though, Cron struggled mightily to the tune of a .700 OPS in 168 plate appearances with a wRC+ of 80 and a 25.6 K%. The chart below really illustrates well just how much his play was impacted by his injured thumb.

Attached Image: Cron1.jpg

The case for bringing back Cron is betting that he can come back healthy and replicate his early season success from 2019. When healthy, Cron is an above average power hitter with solid defense and a knack for scooping up low thrown balls. With a projected arbitration salary of $7.7M and no commitment beyond the 2020 season, Cron brings the Twins a tremendous amount of salary flexibility by keeping the future books clean in order to make other multi-year contracts more palatable (*cough* Zack Wheeler). Cron was seemingly well-liked in the clubhouse and should the Twins brass have confidence in Cron’s thumb heading into next season, bringing him back in his final year of arbitration makes a lot of sense.

Should the Twins have confidence in Cron’s thumb, though?

Earlier this month, Cron underwent a surgical debridement to clean out his right thumb. Interestingly enough, this isn’t the first time that Cron has undergone this procedure. In October of 2016, after coming off of his most successful season in the big leagues to date, Cron underwent the same surgical debridement, except on his left thumb. Looking at how Cron rebounded from his 2016 thumb debridement might give us an idea of how he might rebound from the thumb debridement he just received.

Unfortunately for Cron, the results were not great as he declined in every area in the season following his 2016 thumb debridement procedure. While it’s impossible to know how much of that decline was directly related to the thumb versus general regression after a great season, the stark decline should make the Twins nervous to bring back the first baseman. Below, you can see just how much Cron regressed from 2016 to 2017. Could a similar dip in production be on the horizon for Cron next season?

Attached Image: Cron2.jpg

Handing out nearly $8M to a first baseman with a history of hand injuries and coming off of a procedure from which he has already shown difficulty coming back seems like a risky proposition for the Twins. Especially when there are enticing alternatives out there. I would prefer they not tender him a contract, make him a free agent and make other plans at first base in 2020. The Twins could look at the free agent market and acquire a first baseman on an affordable contract, like Eric Thames or Mitch Moreland. Additionally, we could look to move Miguel Sano across the diamond and pick up a free agent third baseman, like Josh Donaldson or Mike Moustakas. Finally, the Twins could look to their farm system and replace Cron with a promising prospect like Alex Kirilloff or Brent Rooker.

Do you think the Twins should bring back C.J. Cron in his final year of arbitration? If not, how would you like to see the Twins replace him in 2020? We’d love to hear your thoughts, leave a comment below!

  • operation mindcrime and Greglw3 like this

  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

41 Comments

Move Sano to 1st now and sign Mike Moustakas to play 3rd. Moose would probably be12-14M year. It could be part 1 of shoring up the defense. Part 2 is a pipedream that a Cubs fan came up with to trade Arraez to Chicago. Then they could sign a defensive SS and move Polanco to 2nd.

 

 

    • howeda7, labcrazy and Captain Torii like this
Photo
RochesterDave
Nov 24 2019 09:43 PM
I sincerely hope that a healthy CJ Cron returns, perhaps with a base salary of $5-6 mil with bonuses based on games played, performance etc. to get him up to the. $ 7.5-8 mil figure. In his absence no one compared to his defensive work when healthy. The Twins rotated Sano, Marwin and Adrianza at 1st in his absence and they were all mediocre to say the least, bringing about a sharp decline in fielding prowess , especially on stretches and scooping short throws. In the old days, 1B was for an inferior fielder, but no more. I think that was what was missed most about Mauer in 2019 - his glove at first.
    • birdwatcher, brvama, Monkeypaws and 8 others like this

I lean toward bringing Cron back. His defense seems solid and before his injury he had a solid bat. However, i think it will depend on whether they sign a 3B, as they have been rumored to be vetting. (Sorry, I’d post the link but have been unable. Saw the rumor on MLB Trade Rumors.) Then they’d move Sano and Cron would be gone.

I'm fine with either option. But I think it makes sense to bring him back. Now if we get Donaldson at 3B.....
    • SF Twins Fan, wabene and Richard Swerdlick like this
Photo
Richard Swerdlick
Nov 25 2019 05:24 AM
I am guessing that the FO thoughts are similar to that of Tampa's last year. He's a good player but we can get quality production at less cost from within the system and using the savings for other needs.Sano could be the new first baseman and then we could put the cheapy at 3rd.
    • birdwatcher and bighat like this
If he’s just a bench bat against LHP, with some occasional run at first base, sure. But, I think we can/should do better than Cron as a primary option (it’s the will that worries me).

Watching him drop balls against the Yankees in the playoffs is forever etched in my mind. If I remember right, one would’ve gotten us out of inning and multiple runs were scored after. Not blaming the series loss on Cron, but he had some huge miscues that certainly contributed. Not to mention his thumb caused him to be a black hole in the lineup.
    • bighat, CharlieDee and Jeff_M like this
Photo
yeahyabetcha
Nov 25 2019 06:33 AM
Let Cron go. Marwin,Ehire,Turtle,Wade can platoon at first. Leave Sano at third. Spend the 7 million on pitching
    • birdwatcher, Vanimal46, bighat and 1 other like this
Maybe Mauer spoiled me, but I didn't see much of a defensive benefit of having a CJ Cron at 1B. Not only was his glove work questionable, so was his range, or lack thereof.

The good news for the Twins is that he has no more thumbs. Both should be in tip top shape moving forward. :)
    • Riverbrian likes this

I am in the let him go camp.Then if you do not sign a top tier third baseman, you can rotation the rest of the moving parts thru 1B.Also gives you the option of moving Kiriloff there or Rooker if either forces he way into the Twins lineup.Flexability is key.Also would rather spend the money on front line starting pitching.

    • Riverbrian, bighat, In My La-Z-boy and 1 other like this
Photo
In My La-Z-boy
Nov 25 2019 08:08 AM

Looks like we will let him go and I agree. Adding $25M per for Donaldson looks much better by subtracting Cron's $7M. Leaves a Sano/Garver/Gonzalez rotation at 1B. Improves the defense greatly at 3B - gives us another slammer bat. The Donaldson signing and the release of Cron only eats $18M next year. Plenty of money left for pitching. I like this direction. I want to see Garver get 500 ab's next year. He needs another part time position to do that.

I think they may let him go on arbitration, but I think he'll still be in the mix to come back at a lower number. I'm not opposed to that; I do like Cron and would like to see him back. I think his D was better than advertised, especially before the injury, and I think he's a credible hitter (interesting and different approach than a lot of guys too; he hits line drives rather than fully embracing the "launch angle" revolution so he might be someone who isn't impacted significantly if there's a ball reversion).

 

That said, it's not like there aren't guys who can fill the role.

 

I'm not so enthusiastic about the idea of "meh, just platoon it with Marwin, La Tortuga, Adrianza, and whomever else is on the roster today", though. None of the guys named there really hits well enough to be a true asset at 1B, Marwin is the only one who might be a plus defender (not sure if either of the other two is even average, though 1B D isn't usually a big difference maker). there seems to be a level of "who cares, it's only CJ Cron" to this exercise, and that could be a mistake. 

 

making yourself a contender is often about players turning in star performances, but it's also about raising your floor and not having terrible performers suck up a ton of time. Even with the injuries, Cron wasn't bad (1.4 bWAR); Astudillo for all that he's stupendously fun was much less valuable ( -0.2 bWAR). the Twins did a great job last year in "raising the floor" on their team and not giving ABs to bad players. Cron's ceiling might not be super high, but his floor is pretty solid, i think.

    • DocBauer, wabene, jkcarew and 3 others like this

 

Let Cron go. Marwin,Ehire,Turtle,Wade can platoon at first. Leave Sano at third. Spend the 7 million on pitching

No thank you. I don't even want Wade or Turtle on the 26-man roster. They're both fine as 27th-man depth.

 

I'm also of the philosophy that $8million is nothing in MLB money, especially on a one-year deal. Sign pitching and keep him. Why gamble when you can get a relatively sure thing at a set cost?

 

But I won't be crestfallen if he's gone, either.

    • darin617, Twins33, LA VIkes Fan and 7 others like this

I'd bring him back rather than platoon existing guys there (Marwin, Ehire, Astudillo). Astudillo should not be in the lineup regularly and Marwin's ops is okay for your utility guy but not a regular Ib. 

 

If we anticipate signing either a 3b or different 1b, then let him go, otherwise I'd rather have Cron starting opening day than Kiriloff, Rooker, etc. Rookies usually have growing pains. Most aren't like Juan Soto or Luis Arraez. 

    • JLease and Heiny like this

If the Twins truly do spend all the extra money on pitching then I am fine if they let him go.If they end up in the second or third tier for pitchers and don't spend then Cron insurance would be nice.If they do try and shore up third base then I would be fine letting Cron go as well.For me it just depends on what they do before I would want them to just let him walk.

    • SF Twins Fan and Heiny like this

Add me to the list of those that believe he should be brought back, assuming the reports on the condition of his thumb are positive.My opinion doesn't matter, however, and we will see what the Twins opinion is next Monday.

 

Wouldn't surprise me if they are having contract discussions this week in an attempt to sign him to a reasonable one year contract...whatever reasonable means in his case.

 

I do recall seeing a player who appeared to me to be very good defensively during the first half last year.I also recall being surprised when that defense went south later in the year when he was battling that injury.I am a bit surprised that an injury to his right thumb affected his glovework at first, but expect anything can happen when his right thumb was barking.

    • DocBauer, JLease and Heiny like this
This was a missed opportunity...

“The CJ Cronundrum”
    • Steve Lein, TiberTwins, Musk21 and 12 others like this

 

The good news for the Twins is that he has no more thumbs. Both should be in tip top shape moving forward. :)

 

Are your big toes considered the "thumb" of your foot? If so, he should do everything he can to protect them! 

    • Riverbrian and Platoon like this

I would let Cron go, Move Polanco to 3rd, as it is an easier defensive position that SS where he was one of the lowest ranked defensive players in MLB.  Short could be picked up, by one of three people in our system Adrianza, Nick Gordon, or even soon by Royce Lewis.  This plan saves more money for starting pitching!  Phil

    • Matthew Taylor likes this

 

I would let Cron go, Move Polanco to 3rd, as it is an easier defensive position that SS where he was one of the lowest ranked defensive players in MLB.  Short could be picked up, by one of three people in our system Adrianza, Nick Gordon, or even soon by Royce Lewis.  This plan saves more money for starting pitching!  Phil

 

Jorge has played all of 15 games at 3B in a decade long career.Changing positions isn't that easy.  

    • SF Twins Fan and Jeff_M like this
Photo
LA VIkes Fan
Nov 25 2019 10:31 AM

 

No thank you. I don't even want Wade or Turtle on the 26-man roster. They're both fine as 27th-man depth.

 

I'm also of the philosophy that $8million is nothing in MLB money, especially on a one-year deal. Sign pitching and keep him. Why gamble when you can get a relatively sure thing at a set cost?

 

But I won't be crestfallen if he's gone, either.

Completely agree. Wade and Astudillo aren't replacements for anybody on a contending major league roster. They are both 25th guys on a mediocre team to 30th on the roster on a good team. We're in trouble if either one is getting regular at bats. 

 

I'm in the "move Sano to 1B IF we can get a good 3B as a free agent and take Cron to arbitration" camp, but not to play anybody we already have. Cron is good insurance and should stay unless we get somebody better on the FA market. If we take him to arbitration and then get a Free Agent, he should be cheap enough to be tradable for lower level minor leaguer and/or good enough to keep as a reserve/bench bat over the likes of Astudillo and Wade.  

Photo
Matthew Taylor
Nov 25 2019 10:31 AM

 

I would let Cron go, Move Polanco to 3rd, as it is an easier defensive position that SS where he was one of the lowest ranked defensive players in MLB.  Short could be picked up, by one of three people in our system Adrianza, Nick Gordon, or even soon by Royce Lewis.  This plan saves more money for starting pitching!  Phil

I don't mind this plan at all. I wrote about this a couple weeks ago.

 

http://twinsdaily.co...e-in-2020-r8616

I'm not sure it matters a lot.... But if keeping him somehow reduces their spending on pitching, then don't keep him. He's a fine player, and keeping him increases the floor at first for the year. But I don't think he's a difference maker, so if they roll the dice on youth, I'm ok with that.

In a make believe world,I want an upgrade at third, and Sano too first, but I don't see that money being available.
    • Sconnie, Dman, Heiny and 2 others like this
If he’s fully healthy, I want him back. If that thumb injury is still lingering, I’ll pass. He was a key to the offense in the 1st half of the year and would have been a guaranteed tender if he didn’t get hurt.

I would start working Rooker at 1B too. His bat is MLB ready, so they should work on getting his defense ready too.
    • beckmt, DocBauer and wabene like this
Photo
operation mindcrime
Nov 25 2019 12:55 PM
CROM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I could go either way with Cron. I actually thought he performed well defensively at 1st. Especially when healthy. I would much rather have him there than Sano. I really don't like Sano at 3rd either but until Cruz vacates the DH spot, opening that spot for Sano, Sano is a liability on the field no matter where he plays. I can live thru another season with Sano at 3B, Cron at 1B and Cruz at DH. Just improve the PITCHING!

    • Musk21 and Heiny like this

Similar Articles


by Patrick Wozniak , 23 Oct 2019
Photo


by Cooper Carlson , 09 Oct 2019
Photo


by Matthew Trueblood , 09 Oct 2019
Photo


by Cooper Carlson , 29 Sep 2019
Photo


by Andrew Gebo , 29 Aug 2019
Photo