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Rockies sign Antonio Senzatela, C.J. Cron to contract extensions

The Rockies bring back their best hitter in 2021 and lock up a key rotation piece.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Colorado Rockies Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After having his interim tag removed over the weekend, Rockies GM Bill Schmidt is off to a quick start in his quest to restore the franchise to competitiveness. The Rockies have agreed to a five-year, $50.5 million extension with right-hander Antonio Senzatela and a two-year, $14.5 million deal with first baseman C.J. Cron. ESPN’s Jeff Passan first reported news of the extensions, which were announced Wednesday, while MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported the financial details on the Cron contract.

Senzatela’s contract contains a $14 million club option for 2027. His numbers have been all over the place since he broke into the big leagues in 2017, but that’s pretty much to be expected for any pitcher who makes his home starts at Coors Field. Senzatela has an above-average 102 ERA+ for his career and has posted an above-average ERA+ in four of his five big-league seasons. Senzatela was unable to follow up on a stellar pandemic-shortened 2020 season in which he posted a 3.44 ERA with a 1.21 WHIP in 12 starts, but he still had a respectable 4.42 ERA and 1.34 WHIP over a career-high 28 starts and 156.2 innings in 2021.

Senzatela was arbitration-eligible for the first time in 2021 and was due to become a free agent following the 2023 season. He’ll settle into a Rockies rotation that is also expected to include German Márquez, Kyle Freeland, and Austin Gomber for the foreseeable future.

Cron brought a level of offensive consistency to the first base position that had been missing from the Rockies’ lineup since Justin Morneau starred for Colorado in 2014 — and really, since franchise icon Todd Helton was in his prime. In 142 games, Joe posted a 130 OPS+, the best of his career over a full season, while slashing .281/.375/.530 with 28 homers and 92 RBIs. The 31-year-old’s extension is still a little surprising since Connor Joe broke out to the tune of an .848 OPS in 63 games this season and likely fits best defensively at first base. But with the designated hitter likely coming to the NL in 2022, the Rockies can give Cron and Joe some reps at DH, and Joe can play a decent left field as well.