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Rays designate C.J. Cron for assignment

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 26: C.J. Cron #44 of the Tampa Bay Rays rounds the bases on his two-run home run against the Baltimore Orioles in during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 26, 2018 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

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The Rays announced on Tuesday that 1B/DH C.J. Cron was among the players designated for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 draft.

Cron, 28, is coming off of a great offensive season for the Rays, batting .253/.323/.493 with 30 home runs and 74 RBI in 560 plate appearances. However, Cron is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. Cron was due a raise on his $2.3 million salary from 2018. MLB Trade Rumors projects him to earn $5.2 million in 2019.

Designating Cron is an odd move until you realize it’s the Rays, who have really milked the “small-market” brand for all it’s worth. Earlier this year, the club controversially designated outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment in order to create roster space for Cron when they acquired him from the Angels. Dickerson ended up getting traded to the Pirates and had a fine year himself, earning $5.95 million.

It’s also worth noting that bat-only 1B/DH types have been devalued across the league over the last several seasons as teams have become legitimately acclimated with analytics. As a result, another team -- likely a fellow American League team -- can attempt to work out a trade with the Rays for Cron’s services and could acquire him very cheaply.

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