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#pounditThursday, May 13, 2021

Rays drop All-Star Corey Dickerson after trading for CJ Cron

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The Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays made a trade on Saturday that led to a head-scratching move.

The Angels traded first baseman/DH C.J. Cron to the Rays for a player to be named. To make room for Cron, Tampa Bay designated outfielder/DH Corey Dickerson for assignment. In case you don’t actually believe the news — and we didn’t at first — here’s the Rays’ official Twitter account to confirm things:

Keep in mind that Corey Dickerson was an All-Star last season after batting .282 with 27 home runs. He’s a career .280 hitter who has averaged 26 homers per 162 games. But the Rays dropped him to add Cron, who will play first.

If finances were the motivating factor here, the move does save nearly $4 million for Tampa. Dickerson is under contract for $5.95 million next year, while Cron is set to make $2.3 million. Perhaps the Rays feel that Cron, given a full season, could produce similar numbers to Dickerson. He’s a career .262 hitter and had 16 homers each of the last three seasons, all while topping out at 407 at-bats in a season because he split time with the Angels.

The Angels are expecting to play Albert Pujols at first more this season and DH Shohei Ohtani, which apparently convinced them Cron was expendable. The Angels probably would have gotten better production out of Cron than Pujols in 2018, but they likely do not feel they can release him yet when he still has four seasons left on his contract.

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