Following a series win against the Philadelphia Phillies, the Milwaukee Brewers are 54-43, 2.5 games ahead in the National League Central, and in a position to be buyers at the MLB trade deadline. While a big-time acquisition of a star player such as Shohei Ohtani may be nothing more than a pipedream, there are realistic scenarios that would see the Brewers upgrade their roster in a variety of ways.
One glaring need on their roster is at first base. Rowdy Tellez is going to be on the IL for a few weeks, but even before he broke his finger shagging fly balls he was having a poor season. This season, he is hitting .213/.285/.388 with 12 home runs and 36 RBI. These numbers are a far cry from the .219/.306/.481 clip, 35 home runs, and 89 RBI he put up in 2022.
In the absence of Tellez, Mequon, Wisconsin native Owen Miller has been getting more and more playing time at first base. While Miller has a decent bat (.271/.314/.387), he is not a very good defensive first baseman. He also lacks the power that is traditionally attributed to the position.
Due to these circumstances, the Brewers were named as one of three teams that could be interested in 2022 NL All-Star first baseman CJ Cron.
Milwaukee Brewers Are Named as a Potential Trade Suitor for CJ Crone
While the Brewers may be underwhelmed with Rowdy Tellez’s production so far this season, the Rockies, too, have been disappointed with CJ Cron’s. After an All-Star season in 2022 in which he hit .257/.315/.468 with 29 home runs and 102 RBI, Cron has taken a step back in 2023.
So far this season, Cron is hitting .251/.296/.466 with 10 home runs and 29 RBI. He has also missed time with back issues in what has been a disappointing season for him.
This all being said, Cron would be an upgrade at first base for Milwaukee, according to MLB insider Mark Feinsand:
“An All-Star in 2022, Cron spent more than a month on the injured list with back issues, but since returning on June 27, the 33-year-old has an .861 OPS in 14 games, belting a pair of home runs against the Yankees over the weekend. He’s owed about $3 million for the remainder of the season and is slated to become a free agent at the end of the year.
“Cron isn’t viewed by most as a big, impact bat, but teams such as the Astros, Brewers and Padres — who rank as the bottom three in the Majors in OPS at first base — might view him as an upgrade.”
Indeed, Cron’s .762 OPS, while nothing to get excited about, is much better than Tellez’s .673. While not a big impact bat, Cron still presents himself as an upgrade at the position while not being a player Milwaukee would have to give up much for.
As Feinsand notes, Cron is due $3 million for the rest of the season and will be a free agent after the season ends. The Brewers would not need to part with much to get the deal done. Cron’s own down year and the fact that he would only be a rental have driven his price down.
Should the Milwaukee Brewers Trade for CJ Cron?
There is, however, one very intriguing stat that may make Cron the ideal trade target for Milwaukee. As fans know, the Brewers have struggled against left-handed starters this season. Cron, on the other hand, is hitting .310/.375/.569 with three home runs and nine RBI against left-handed starters this season. He is hitting .250/.321/.417 against left-handed pitchers overall.
It is worth noting, though, that Cron is hitting .232/.275/.432 away from Coors’ Field this season. Of course, this would not be ideal for Milwaukee. Cron is not the perfect answer to the Brewers’ problem at first base, but he may be the best available.