Rockies trade Grichuk, Cron to Angels for prospects

July 31st, 2023

DENVER -- Outfielder and first baseman , who started the second half hitting for power for the Rockies, were traded to the Angels on Sunday night for two pitching prospects -- right-hander Jake Madden and lefty Mason Albright.

Madden, 21 and a fourth-round pick in the 2022 MLB Draft, joins the Rockies' system ranked by MLB Pipeline as their No. 20 prospect. Albright, 20 and a 12th-round pick in 2021, checks in at No. 21.

The Rockies also are sending $2 million as part of the trade.

Angels get: OF Randal Grichuk, 1B C.J. Cron
Rockies get: RHP Jake Madden, LHP Mason Albright

The deal fits with the Rockies' plan of adding as much pitching depth in the low Minors as possible.

Since Bill Schmidt took over as general manager during the 2022 season, the Rockies have been heavy on pitching in the MLB Draft, and every deal Schmidt has made has involved pitchers the Rockies considered drafting. Madden and Albright are young arms who fit the description.

“We scouted both guys as amateurs,” Schmidt said. “This past year, our professional scouts have been in to make evaluations, and we feel real good about both kids.

“In adding them, we gave up good players. I think the world of C.J. and Randal, and I appreciate everything those two guys did for organization in their time here. But it’s the end of the year, and they’re going to be free agents, so we acquired two young arms.”

Both Rockies acquisitions were pitching at Single-A Inland Empire, and they likely will stay in the California League at the Rockies’ Fresno affiliate.

Madden, who is listed at 6-foot-6 and 185 pounds, pitched for a season at two-year Northwest Florida State before being drafted. This year, his first professional season, he is 2-6 with a 5.46 ERA in 64 1/3 innings, with 66 strikeouts through 14 starts.

Albright is a Maryland native, but he finished his high school career at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Last year, he went 1-0 with no runs in eight innings in the Arizona Complex League. This year, he entered Sunday second in the California League in ERA at 3.62, and he is 9-4 with 86 strikeouts in 79 2/3 innings. He is tied for first in wins and ranks fifth in strikeouts.

Grichuk, who turns 32 on Aug. 13, has hit .375 with six home runs since July 2. The deal came a day after the Angels lost outfielder Taylor Ward when he sustained facial fractures when hit in the face by a fastball from the Blue Jays’ Alek Manoah.

Cron, 33, has batted .319 with five home runs since returning from a 39-game absence because of a back injury. He missed five games recently with low-back tightness, but the slugger returned and went 4-for-12 with a double in the three-game weekend series against the Athletics.

Grichuk, obtained by the Rockies last spring from the Blue Jays for outfielder Raimel Tapia, missed the first month of the season while rehabbing from offseason bilateral sports hernia surgery, but he is batting .308 -- a higher average than any season of his career -- with eight home runs and 27 RBIs. He is at the end of a five-year, $52 million deal he signed with the Blue Jays, who are paying a chunk of his salary.

Cron, in the last year of a three-year, $14.5 million contract, was an All-Star in 2022, but he struggled in the second half of last season. This year, he is hitting .260 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs. Teams waited until he was healthy to approach the Rockies.

This is the second deal between the clubs this season. The Rockies sent corner infielder Mike Moustakas to the Angels on June 25 for Minor League right-hander Connor Van Scoyoc, who is currently at Double-A Hartford.