Blame it all on Alek Manoah. When the Blue Jays' burly right-hander accidentally hit Angels outfielder Taylor Ward in the face with a pitch this weekend, it ratcheted up the urgency of Los Angeles's pursuit of a bat to round out their lineup. Already committed to 2023 contention, the team got ahold of both Randal Grichuk and C.J. Cron in a trade with the Rockies, sending them two pitchers with considerable upside who are (nonetheless) ages away from contributing to a big-league team.
Grichuk is a capable corner outfielder with good power, and was a much-discussed possible upgrade over the likes of Tyrone Taylor in that role. Cron is a first baseman and designated hitter, and became less attractive a target once the Brewers landed Carlos Santana, but he was still a plausible fit at the right price. Speaking of the price, the most interesting thing here might be that both pitchers Colorado acquired are in Low A right now. Even understanding that they have a chance to mature into something valuable, getting both of these players for that kind of return is underwhelming, from the Rockies' perspective, and looks like a win for Perry Minasian of the Halos.
There are two ways to read that. Maybe it means that the heavily seller-friendly market pundits forecasted is not quite as robust as expected. In that case, it could augur well for the Brewers, as they continue to seek more help offensively. On the other hand, two viable options just came off the board, and the cost only increases the feeling that the team might have missed an opportunity.
There remain a few good right-handed hitters who will change teams over the next 44 hours, but this put a dent in that market. It was a good weekend for the Brewers' bats, but the NL Central race is tighter than ever, so they can't afford to miss out altogether on the chance to further improve.
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