The Milwaukee Brewers usually aren’t interested in rentals at the trade deadline. It has happened before, with players like Mike Moustakas and Drew Pomeranz. But David Stearns usually has his eye on players with control.
But, if the Brewers still need a first base option and the trade deadline is almost here, a solid target and rental for the team would be C.J. Cron of the Colorado Rockies.
Cron’s name has been out there for months now. He signed a one-year, $1MM minor league contract this offseason with the Rockies. He has exceeded expectations so far, and been one of the hottest hitters when Colorado plays at Coors Field.
The team is also in sell mode. After moving Nolan Arenado in the offseason, there is also a very good chance shortstop Trevor Story will be on the move at the trade deadline. And since Cron is only on a minor league deal, he is an affordable option for most teams and the Rockies can gain a few solid prospects in return.
Current 2020 Stats
The 31-year-old is currently slashing .248/.359/.826. If he joined Milwaukee, he would join the current group of lower batting averages, but his OPS is solid.
He also has 13 home runs, 39 RBIs and 12 doubles. That would tie him with Luis Urias with 13 homers and be in the top three on the team. His 39 RBIs would put him at number three behind Avisail Garcia and Urias. He has 63 strike outs over 77 games so far. That seems like a lot, but is on par with most of his career. He is a 22% career strike out hitter.
His home and away splits this year are a little concerning for the journeyman infielder. At Coors, he is batting .283 with 10 home runs and 31 RBIs. For away games, he is batting .218 with only three hom runs and eight RBIs. That is a little worrisome, but anyone can change with a change of scenery and hitting coach. Just look at what Willy Adames has done since joining the Brewers.
Possible Road Blocks
Milwaukee is trying to re-build their farm system. So unless they can go all-in on a huge trade target, they need to watch who they give up this trade deadline. You don’t want to give up any top or untouchable current prospects. That being said, Colorado hasn’t had the best track record for trades.
The St. Louis Cardinals basically stole Arenado from the Rockies. They even had Colorado agree to take on some of his salary. So, maybe they will only need a high-ish prospect in return or two lower prospects. Anyone below the Top 20 would be solid for a rental infielder. Would they Rockies take someone like outfielder Clayton Andrew (No.24) or pitcher Zack Brown (No. 18) and another prospect for Cron? It’s possible.
The only other issue is that the Rockies currently have no top prospect first baseman ready to be called up. Behind Cron they have Joshua Fuentes. He is currently slashing .239/.271/.649 and seven home runs with 32 RBIs.
Behind him is number 11 prospect Colton Welker. The problem with that is Welker was suspended for 80 games back in May for violating MLB’s drug policy and tested positive for performance-enhancing substances. Colorado’s number three prospect is a first baseman. But, Michael Toglia is still in High-A ball, and similar to Garrett Mitchell for the Brewers. He isn’t expected to debut until 2022. Their number 12 prospect,, Grant Lavinge, is also still in Single-A.
So, the Rockies don’t have many options at first besides Fuentes. He is serviceable at the position, but that means the team might want to ride out with Cron or have a higher asking prices until the end of the year.
Can It Happen?
Especially since teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox and other competing teams have a deeper farm system currently, it might be easier for them to offer more and grab Cron if the Brewers are truly interested.
First baseman like Cron and Jesus Aguilar are perfect fits for Milwaukee currently. Power bats that can help bring in runs and be a great bench bat when not in the line-up that day. There are some risks, but Cron would be a solid option and the Brewers would not have to give up a lot for him.
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