Twins claim C.J. Cron after breakout season at the plate

The Twins have added another option to play first base in the wake of Joe Mauer’s retirment from MLB.

The team claimed C.J. Cron off waivers on Monday, the club announced.

Cron was a member of the Rays last year, but they made a surprise move to DFA Cron following a 30-homer season in which he hit .253/.323/.493.

Offensively, it was the best season of Cron’s career in the Majors. He had previously spent 4 seasons with the Angels before joining Tampa Bay. New Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was on the staff in Tampa last year for Cron’s best season at the plate. His career batting line is .260/.311/.461 in more than 2,000 plate appearances. But last year he set career highs in games played (140), home runs (30), RBIs (74), walk rate (6.6%), and Weighted On-Base Average (.347).

Cron has two more seasons before free agency, so the Twins likely would be looking to give him a raise in arbitration this season as he fights for a roster spot.

From the outside looking in, it looks like Cron should have a clear path to plate appearances at first base. If he can sustain his breakout performance from last year, that would be a good add for the Twins, especially for the price tag. (He made $2.3 million last year and will be worth more this season.)

Other first base candidates could include Tyler Austin or maybe even Miguel Sano. Perhaps the Twins could even toy with Mitch Garver or Max Kepler or some other non-traditional approach to first base.