The LA Angels are crowded at first base, should they deal away C.J. Cron?
It’s been an exciting offseason if you’re a LA Angels fan. Angels’ general manager Billy Eppler has done a spectacular job keeping the team relevant. With signings such as Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler and Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani, the team looks to compete for the AL wildcard.
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However, the Angels have somewhat of a problem at first base. Although it is a good problem to have, the Angels first base position is suddenly crowded.
Since the Angels won the Ohtani sweepstakes, he’ll likely start at DH a few games a week which allows Albert Pujols to play first base. Meanwhile, the Angels also signed infielder Zack Cozart who will play third base, allowing infielder Luis Valbuena to play both third and first base.
Suddenly, it seems as if C.J. Cron is the odd man left out. Which is why the Angels could possibly be shopping Cron.
The idea of shopping Cron makes sense on a few levels. The former first round pick is in his first year of eligible arbitration and doesn’t become a free agent until 2021. This allows teams to have Cron for a few years with minimal cap hit. Cron also produces as a hitter. He averages 15 home runs a season and is a lifetime .262 hitter. Although he isn’t a perennial all-star first baseman, Cron is a attractive piece.
The Angels also have to consider what’s in store for the future. Drafted in the first round of the 2016 MLB draft, first baseman Matt Thaiss is quickly working his way through the Angels’ farm system and is currently playing for AA affiliate Mobile BayBears. MLBPipeline rates Thaiss as the tenth best first base prospect and expects Thaiss to be called up as quickly as the 2019 season.
What can the Angels get?
This is the overall question, what can the Angels get for Cron? It’s a hard question to answer because of all the different possibilities. The Angels could use a fourth competing outfielder or possibly another utility infielder who can play multiple positions. However, the Angels may shop Cron for another relief arm.
The Angels do have relief arms Blake Parker, Blake Wood and Jose Alvarez all returning for the 2018 season. But, they’ve lost as many relief arms such as Yusmeiro Petit, Bud Norris and Andrew Bailey. If the Angels were to deal Cron, relief pitching is still a need.
Eppler also has the knack of finding quality players. For example, Last April the Angels acquired starting pitcher Parker Bridwell from the Orioles for cash considerations. Since then, Bridwell has flourished. The Angels also claimed pitcher JC Ramirez off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds in 2016, he too has performed admirably.
Given the possibility of Eppler finding a hidden gem, just imagine what Eppler can trade for with Cron as his next trade bait.
With an already crowded infield, a prospect on the rise and a GM with a knack of finding quality baseball players, the Angels should trade Cron and upgrade a roster that is already talented enough to compete for the AL wildcard.