The Red Sox, winners of 10 of their last 12, have exceeded all level of expectations this season, undergoing a momentous turnaround under manager Alex Cora (back after serving a yearlong suspension as penance for his involvement in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal). It’s been a tour de force first half for the Sox, who boast an MLB-best five All-Stars while ranking among the sport’s top five in virtually every offensive category.
But if you want to nitpick (which, unfortunately, is a requirement of all teams with World Series aspirations), first base could be identified as a potential shortcoming with Boston getting little production from second-year slugger Bobby Dalbec (.217/.264/.416 with 90 strikeouts in 226 at-bats). Marwin Gonzalez and Danny Santana have been similarly listless when called upon while Michael Chavis, who has spent much of the season at Triple-A Worcester, has steadily regressed since his breakout 2019 (18 HR, 58 RBI).
If the Red Sox decide to address first base at the upcoming trade deadline (scheduled for July 30th), Rockies veteran C.J. Cron could be a player worth exploring. Mark Feinsand suggested Cron as a potential match for the Red Sox in an article for MLB.com, pointing to Boston’s anemic .663 OPS at first base, which ranks 12th in the American League. Sitting at 12 games under .500 and a distant 16.5 back in the National League West, many suspect the Rockies will be sellers with Trevor Story, Jon Gray, German Marquez, Daniel Bard and Cron all thought of as potential trade candidates.
Cron would arguably be the least exciting of those options, though the 31-year-old comes with a proven track record (129 HR over 755 MLB appearances) and has absolutely raked at Fenway Park, where he is a career .328 hitter. The 6’4” Cron may not check every box—due to their glut of right-handed bats, Feinsand would argue the Red Sox are more likely to pursue a lefty at the deadline. But at the very least, he’d provide valuable depth at a position of need, much like former World Series MVP Steve Pearce, who filled a similar role when Boston acquired him from Toronto in 2018. Cron, who had to settle for a one-year, $1-million contract this past winter, would be a sensible, low-risk rental for a team already well-positioned for a deep October run.