The Tampa Bay Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Anaheim Angels in exchange for a player to be named later, it was announced today. To make room for Cron on the roster, the Rays have designated outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment.
This is a weird couple of transactions. Cron, 28, has been a semi-regular for the Angels for the last three years, and put up a .248/.305/.437 slash line for Anaheim last season. He has three seasons of team control remaining, and is due $2.3 million for 2018 in his first season being arbitration-eligible. Cron had a 2.1 bWAR season in 2016, but dropped to 0.8 in 2017.
So Cron isn’t exactly all that great, though it appears at first glance that the Rays aren’t giving up much for him. The decision to DFA Dickerson to make room for Cron, though, doesn’t appear to make a lot of sense. The lefthanded hitting 28 year old Dickerson is a corner outfielder who Tampa acquired for lefthanded pitcher Jake McGee two years ago. Dickerson was an All Star last year, put up a .282/.325/.490 slash line, and is generally a solid average player.
With a year of team control remaining and due $5.95 million for 2018, Dickerson would seem to be a more desirable player than Cron. I am going to just assume that the Rays think they have a trade worked out for Dickerson, or will be able to get one worked out fairly quickly, because otherwise, dumping Dickerson for Cron is baffling.
UPDATE -- Jeff Passan says that the Rays and the Minnesota Twins have made a trade. If Dickerson is going to Minnesota, then the DFA makes more sense.
UPDATE II — Well, the deal between the Rays and Twins apparently isn’t for Corey Dickerson. Instead, the Rays are sending righthanded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins.
Odorizzi, who turns 28 next month, was a first round pick of the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008. He was sent to the Kansas City Royals as part of the Zack Greinke trade in December, 2010, and then to the Rays as part of the James Shields trade in December, 2012. Odorizzi was a solid 3-win pitcher in 2015 and 2016, coming in at roughly replacement level in both bWAR and fWAR.
Odorizzi is someone the Rangers were supposedly interested in in 2016, though the Rays’ asking price at the time was considered prohibitive. The Twins, meanwhile, have been looking for starting pitching, and after missing out on Yu Darvish, Odorizzi appears to be their consolation prize.
The only player identified as going to Tampa in this deal so far is 21 year old infielder Jermaine Palacios, who split 2017 between low-A and high-A.
UPDATE III — The deal is Odorizzi for Palacios straight up.