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The Boston Red Sox Sign 1B/DH CJ Cron: Where Will He Find His At-Bats?

Cam breaks down another under the radar move by the Boston Red Sox

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 18: C.J. Cron #24 of the Minnesota Twins bats against the Boston Red Sox on June 18, 2019 at the Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Red Sox 4-3. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)

The Red Sox have rightfully been getting crucified this offseason. One of the owners, Tom Werner, said something a few months ago that has been biting him ever since. When asked what the Sox approach would be this offseason, his response was, they’d be “full throttle”, meaning they’d be spending big and going after free agents, throwing caution to the wind.

It has been the exact opposite, to the point where Werner had to take back and explain what he meant. His explanation was weak. The Sox offseason has consisted of these moves, signing Lucas Giolito, (who got shelled today), Tyler O’Neill, Liam Hendricks, (as a play for 2025), and Vaughn Grissom, (in a salary dump with Atlanta who took back Chris Sale). The Sox are now 12th in the league this season with a payroll of $172M.

The cost-conscious Red Sox have done it again today…signing 34-year-old CJ Cron to a minor league deal. The big righty has solid bat-to-ball skills and I actually applaud this move. He’s a career .260 hitter with a .791 OPS and 111 OPS+. He has 187 career HRs with four seasons with at least 25 bombs. He hit 30 HRs in 2018 and hit 29 as recently as 2022. The man can hit the ball far.

He has gotten at least 70 RBIs four times, with over 90 twice, and a career-high of 102 RBIs in 2022. And for a team that is lefty-heavy, they needed a big strong righty who can jerk the ball over the Green Monster. As a minor league deal, there is no major financial risk, and it is highly likely that he’ll leave Florida with the team in a few weeks.

Although he’s not likely to supplant Tristan Casas at 1B, and he’s not even likely to be part of a weak-side platoon, there’s a place for Cron on the Sox…and potentially your fantasy team, depending on how deep your league is.

The Sox are planning on using lefty, Masataka Yoshida as one of their options at DH. But it’s hard to imagine the Sox signed the $90M Japanese import to be their exclusive DH. His defense was awful last year, yet in parks with easier left fields to play, he’ll get his games in the field.

Since nobody seems to play over 140 games anymore, there will be an opportunity to get Cron’s bat into the lineup. Last year only 46 AL players played a minimum of 140 games. Yoshida played 140 games and Casas played 132 games. If the Sox can find Cron 400 ABs, he has the ability to hit 20 HRs. Over his career, he’s hit a home run every 19.62 ABs.