Angels trade Cron, free up first-base logjam

Valbuena, Pujols expected to share position, with Ohtani getting some time at DH

February 18th, 2018

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels alleviated their logjam at first base on Saturday, trading C.J. Cron to the Rays in exchange for a player to be named.

With and projected to earn the majority of starts at first base this season, the Angels had little playing time to offer Cron, who is out of Minor League options. Pujols is expected to play more first base this season to free up at-bats for at designated hitter, and Valbuena should get most of his looks there as well, since the Angels signed Zack Cozart to play third base.

Cron, a right-handed hitter whose only defensive position is first base, was the most expendable of the group, particularly since the Angels are leaning toward carrying six starters this season, which would limit them to a three-man bench.

"One of the premiums that we've put in place is flexibility, and the other premium has been maneuverability," general manager Billy Eppler said. "We want that within our position player group. [We were] in a position where we had to make this transaction. C.J. Cron has been nothing but professional and a consummate team player since he's been here and since I've known him. He cares about the game, he cares about his teammates. Everyone here wishes him well as he embarks on this next chapter in his baseball career."

Cron, 28, was the Angels' first-round pick out of the University of Utah in the 2011 Draft. He has proved to be quite streaky in the Majors, batting .262 with a .307 on-base percentage, .449 slugging percentage and 59 home runs over parts of four seasons in Anaheim.