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C.J. Cron and Randal Grichuk traded to Los Angeles Angels for a pair of pitching prospects

Patrick Lyons Avatar
July 31, 2023

For the third time this summer, the Colorado Rockies have dealt away contributing veterans on expiring contracts for young, minor league pitching that could impact the roster for years to come.

1B C.J. Cron and OF Randal Grichuk were traded on Sunday to the Los Angeles Angels — the organization that drafted both players over a decade ago — while Colorado receives RHP Jake Madden and LHP Mason Albright.

Madden, ranked eighth by MLB Pipeline in the Angels farm system, was drafted last year in the fourth round out of Northwest Florida State College. The 6’6″ right-hander made his professional debut with the Low-A Inland Empire 66ers this season. The 21-year-old is 2-6 with a 5.46 ERA (64.1 IP, 39 ER) and 66 strikeouts through 14 starts.

Albright was a 12th round selection in the 2021 MLB Draft out of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The 20-year-old southpaw is 9-4 with a 3.62 ERA (79.2 IP, 32 ER) and 86 strikeouts in 15 games (14 starts) at Low-A. His earned run average is lowest amongst qualified pitchers in the California League and his nine wins are second-most. Ranked 28th amongst Angels top prospects by MLB Pipeline, he slots in at 21st in the Rockies system, one behind Madden. 

Originally a minor league invite in 2021, Cron followed up a solid first season with an appearance in the 2022 All-Star Game. He seemed destined for parts unknown ahead of last year’s trade deadline before an errant pitch to his left hand on July 8 in Arizona created questions for other general managers. They were right in having concerns: the first baseman saw his numbers at the plate drop drastically in the second-half. 

Two home runs on Opening Day in San Diego and a National League Player of the Week Award was a good start to the 2023 campaign for Cron. Though back spasms sidelined him for 39 games, he returned on June 27 to bat .319 (23-for-72) with five home runs and 12 RBI.

Even hotter than Cron is Grichuk, who entered Sunday batting .368 (21-for-57) with three doubles, six home runs and nine RBI in July. The 31-year-old started the season late following the recovery from bilateral hernia surgery.

His career highlights with the Rockies include a game-saving catch in Texas last season, which Charlie Blackmon called the greatest play he’d ever seen, plus a September performance where he became the first player in club history to tie a game with a home run in the eighth inning or later and then also hit a walk-off home run in the same game.

According to Jon Heyman, Colorado will also send $2 million to Los Angeles to cover part of estimated $5.53 million remaining to Cron and Grichuk for the remainder of the season.

This is the second trade in the last two months between the Angels and Rockies following the deal that sent INF Mike Moustakas to Anaheim to RHP Connor Van Scoyoc.

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