Angels acquire C.J. Cron, Randal Grichuk in trade with Colorado for 2 minor leaguers

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Colorado Rockies' C.J. Cron is congratulated by teammates after he hit a home run scoring Jurickson Profar, during the first inning of a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Friday, July 21, 2023, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Los Angeles Angels reacquired slugger C.J. Cron and outfielder Randal Grichuk in a trade with the Colorado Rockies on Sunday, bolstering their injury-plagued roster with more veteran depth as they fight for a playoff spot.

Los Angeles sent minor league pitchers Mason Albright and Jake Madden to the Rockies in the deal that brought two former Angels first-round draft picks back to the team. Colorado also is sending $3,701,613 along with Cron and Grichuk, who are in the final years of their contracts before free agency. Cron is owed $2,540,323 in remaining salary and Grichuk $3,161,290, leaving the Angels in effect responsible for $2 million.

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The Angels (55-51) are desperate to end their MLB-worst streaks of seven consecutive losing seasons and eight consecutive non-playoff seasons, but their efforts have been endangered by injuries that have seriously compromised their big league depth.

Los Angeles has a major league-leading 17 players on its injured lists after outfielder Taylor Ward joined the group Sunday before an extra-inning victory in Toronto. Ward was moved to the 60-day injured list later in the day, effectively ending his regular season, with facial fractures after Toronto's Alek Manoah hit him in the face with a fastball on Saturday.

The 33-year-old Cron spent his first four major league seasons with Los Angeles, hitting 59 of his 186 career homers before getting traded to Tampa Bay in early 2018 for prospect Luis Rengifo, who is still a valuable contributor to the Angels. Cron is batting .260 with 11 homers and 32 RBIs this season for the Rockies as their power-hitting first baseman.

Grichuk was selected by the Angels one pick before Mike Trout in the 2009 draft. Los Angeles traded him to St. Louis before he reached the majors and began a 10-year career with the Cardinals, Toronto and Colorado.

Grichuk is batting .308 with an .861 OPS in 64 games this season for the Rockies. His positional flexibility in the outfield will be valuable for the Angels in the injury absences of Trout, Ward and Jo Adell, leaving Mickey Moniak and Hunter Renfroe as the only healthy outfielders on Los Angeles' 40-man roster.

Grichuk is making just over $10.3 million this season, while Cron is earning $7.25 million. The moves continue the Rockies' teardown for the final two months of what's almost certain to be their fifth consecutive losing season.

The 20-year-old Albright is 11-8 with a 5.36 ERA in three seasons in the low minors. The 21-year-old Madden, a fourth-round pick in 2022, is 2-6 with a 5.46 ERA in 14 starts for Low-A Inland Empire this season.

The Angels have traded a significant amount of minor league talent in recent weeks in their determined effort to make the playoffs during the final season of Shohei Ohtani's contract.

Los Angeles has acquired six veteran major leaguers — slugger Mike Moustakas, right-handed starter Lucas Giolito, reliever Reynaldo López and infielder Eduardo Escobar along with Cron and Grichuk — in four separate trades since late June.

Trout has been out since July 3 with a broken hand, and third baseman Anthony Rendon was sidelined one day later with a bone bruise after fouling a ball off his shin. Trout and Rendon are making roughly $75 million combined this season.

Ward and veteran infielder Gio Urshela are likely out for the season, while infielder Brandon Drury, rookie catcher Logan O'Hoppe and rookie shortstop Zach Neto have all missed significant time.

Los Angeles is in third place in the AL West, five games behind Texas. The Angels are four games behind Toronto for the final AL wild card, but the Red Sox and Yankees are also between them.

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