The San Diego Padres have immediately transformed themselves from a team that was scraping the bottom of the free agent barrel into an organization that has shocked the league with some of the high-priced acquisitions they have made in the offseason via trades and the open market.
With Manny Machado, Xander Bogaerts, and Fernando Tatis Jr. all locked up long-term, the addition of Juan Soto to the lineup goes to show how lethal this team can be when clicking. The presence of Jake Cronenworth roaming the infield is also not to be trifled with.
Even though he was originally an afterthought in the Tommy Pham/Hunter Renfroe swap, Cronenworth has quickly become one of the most consistent and versatile infielders in the game. After moving to first base this season, Cronenworth has been compensated like a high-end corner infielder.
The Padres agreed to terms with Cronenworth on a seven-year contract extension worth around $80 million. This seems like a fair move for both sides. San Diego locks up a starter for the next seven years at slightly more than $11 million per season, while Cronenworth gets the biggest deal ever for a 29-year-old with less than four years of service.
Padres sign Jake Cronenworth to seven-year extension.
Cronenworth has only sat out 14 games in the last two seasons, and the fact that he can play every day likely influenced San Diego's decision-making when consummating this deal. A quality middle and corner infielder, Cronenworth's bat is likely what got the deal done.
In the last two seasons, Cronenworth has piled up just under 300 hits, 63 doubles, 11 triples, and 38 home runs. His offensive showing was impressive enough for him to be named an All-Star in consecutive seasons.
The Padres likely let first baseman Josh Bell, who signed a nice deal with the Cleveland Guardians, walk in free agency because of how impressed they were with Cronenworth over the last few seasons. All indications point to him remaining in Padres colors for a very long time.
While he may not have the power of Soto, the electricity of Tatis, or past history of success that Machado has, Cronenworth has come through time and time again when the Padres have needed him to do so. The Crone Zone is not going anywhere for the next half-decade, which makes the Renfroe trade yet another trade win that Preller can add to his arsenal.