Detroit Tigers: C.J. Cron quickly becoming Al Avila’s top free agent signing

July 26th, 2020 in Tigers By Bob Heyrman

The Detroit Tigers started the regular season by taking two out of three from the Cincinnati Reds on the road behind a spectacular opening series from C.J. Cron.  Cron is quickly becoming Al Avila’s best signing since becoming the general manager of the Detroit Tigers.

The slugging first baseman is playing on his fourth MLB team over the last four years.  After watching him in a Detroit Tigers uniform over the first series of the season, it seems hard to believe.  C.J. Cron started his career with the Los Angeles Angels, where he’d spend four seasons.

The slugging first baseman accounted for 59 home runs, 213 RBI’s, and hit a respectable .262 in 408 games with the Angels spanning from 2014-2017.  Since, Cron hasn’t had much time to settle in anywhere, making single-season stops in Tampa Bay, Minnesota, and now Detroit over the next three seasons.

During his one year in Tampa, Cron belted a career-high 30 home runs and drove in 74 batting .253 on the season.  Last season, as a member of the Minnesota Twins, it was much of the same for Cron as he crushed 25 home runs and drove in a career-high 78 runs while maintaining that corresponding .253 average from the year prior.

When general manager Al Avila signed Cron, I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical.  I didn’t love the signing; I understood the Detroit Tigers wanted to add some more power to a lineup that lacked pop the year prior. The Tigers signed both Cron and Jonathan Schoop on the same day to identical one-year deals, each worth $6.1 million.

Both players played in Minnesota, and it seemed like suddenly the Tigers were turning into the Lions looking to acquire veteran Patriot castaways, but in this case, Twins.  At the time of the signing, it appeared maybe Avila was looking to acquire a couple of veteran players he could potentially flip at the trade deadline for future assets. If that’s the case, Detroit may be able to land a solid prospect for Cron’s services for a playoff-bound team looking to add a big right-handed bat.  If he’s not moved, the Tigers may want to retain the 30-year old for another year or two if he can maintain the production he’s enjoyed over his last two seasons.

With plans to have Miguel Cabrera serve as the everyday designated hitter, Avila decided to seek better options to play the field rather than stick with Brandon Dixon or John Hicks for another season. Over the opening weekend series, Cron delivered in a big way for the Tigers going 4 for 12, belting two home runs and driving in three, along with drawing a pair of walks.

It seems Cron and Schoop will finally provide Miguel Cabrera some protection in the Tigers lineup.  Don’t forget, during this rebuild, Cabrera had been outspoken about his lack of production due to having no other threat in the lineup.  Both Cron and Schoop provide some much-needed pop.