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Rays acquire CJ Cron, designate Corey Dickerson

The Rays make a fairly minor trade but a very major corresponding roster move.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays
Corey Dickerson will be suiting up for another team this upcoming season.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Rays have acquired first baseman C.J. Cron from the Angels, while designating outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson for assignment, as first reported by Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. Cron was acquired for a player to be named later.

Dickerson was an All-Star for the Rays in 2017 but stumbled badly in the second half; despite that, he still finished with a .815 OPS and 27 home runs, worth 2.7 WAR according to Baseball-Reference. More notable than Dickerson’s poor end to the season, though, is his salary for 2018, as he had been set to earn $5.95 million after his second year in arbitration. If the team is unable to find a taker to pay Dickerson’s entire salary (which seems quite likely), the cost-cutting Rays will only have to pay Dickerson one-sixth of that which he is owed, a savings of almost $5 million. I currently project the Rays payroll (albeit still including Dickerson’s salary) at about $88 million, well above what they ended last season with, and the team has made it no secret that they were still looking to pare down that number.

As for Cron, the righty-swinging first baseman played in just 100 games in 2017 due to injury, and OPSed a below-average (99 OPS+) .741, with 16 home runs. Due to the signing of Shohei Ohtani, the Angels have said that Albert Pujols will spend more time at first base during the 2018 season, and having Cron along with Pujols and lefty Luis Valbuena would further muddle an already crowded picture. The Rays are now fully responsible for Cron’s $2.3 million contract, and he is under team control through 2020.