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    Angels swing deal for two more bats: Randal Grichuk and C.J. Cron
    • July 31, 2023

    TORONTO — With a lineup decimated by injuries, the Angels swung a deal to pick up first baseman C.J. Cron and outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Colorado Rockies on Sunday night.

    The Angels sent the Rockies minor league pitchers Jake Madden and Mason Albright. Madden was the No. 8 ranked prospect in the system, according to MLB Pipeline, and Albright was 28th.

    Cron is hitting .260 with 11 homers and a .780 OPS for the Rockies. Grichuk is hitting .308 with eight homers and an .861 OPS.

    Both players are set to be free agents at the end of the season. They will make a combined $6 million for the rest of the season, further pushing the Angels above the luxury tax threshold. The Rockies reportedly included $2 million in the deal.

    Grichuk helps the Angels fill the void from the loss of Taylor Ward, who suffered facial fractures when he was hit in by a pitch on Saturday. Cron gives the Angels another option at first base. All of the Angels projected starting infielders are currently hurt.

    This is the second significant trade the Angels have made in the last five days, after adding pitchers Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo López last week.

    The Angels have made it clear that they intend to push for the playoffs in this final season before Shohei Ohtani is eligible for free agency, both in an effort to end the team’s eight-year playoff drought and prove to Ohtani the team is committed to winning.

    The Angels are four games back in the wild card race and five games back in the American League West.

    Cron, 33, and Grichuk, 31, were both originally drafted by the Angels, but traded away.

    Cron played in the majors with the Angels from 2014-17. The Angels traded him for Luis Rengifo in spring training in 2018, and since then he’s played for the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers and Rockies in 10 big league seasons. He was an All-Star with the Rockies in 2022.

    Cron has a career .260 average with a .795 OPS. He has a career .814 OPS against lefties.

    Grichuk, who was famously selected with the pick before Mike Trout in 2009, never played in the majors with the Angels. The Angels traded Grichuk, along with Peter Bourjos, to the St. Louis Cardinals for David Freese prior to the 2014 season.

    Grichuk has since played 10 years in the majors with the Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and Rockies. He has a career .251 average with a .766 OPS.

    Although the Angels offense has been among the top in baseball this year, they struggled over the weekend in Toronto, going 1 for 28 with runners in scoring position and scoring just five runs in the three games.

    Cron and Grichuk also give the Angels some right-handed power in the middle of the lineup. The Angels had four straight left-handed hitters in the middle of their lineup over the weekend: Shohei Ohtani, Mickey Moniak, Mike Moustakas and Matt Thaiss.

    The Angels are expecting infielder Brandon Drury, who has been out with shoulder inflammation, to be back by Thursday. Shortstop Zach Neto is currently day to day with back stiffness.

    Once Drury and Neto are back, the Angels could use an infield of Cron, Drury, Neto and Moustakas, and an outfield of Grichuk, Moniak and Hunter Renfroe.

    The Angels are also expecting to get Mike Trout and catcher Logan O’Hoppe back sometime in August.

    Madden, 21, is 2-6 with a 5.46 ERA at Inland Empire, with 66 strikeouts and 39 walks in 64-1/3 innings. He was the Angels’ fourth-round pick in 2022.

    Albright, 20, is 9-4 with a 3.62 ERA at Class-A Inland Empire, with 86 strikeouts and 20 walks in 79-2/3 innings. He was the Angels’ 12th-round pick in 2021.

    The Angels created spots on the 40-man roster by placing Ward on the 60-day injured list and designating Kevin Padlo for assignment.

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    ​ Orange County Register