The San Diego Padres have struck gold, signing former Michigan baseball standout Jake Cronenworth to a seven-year, $80 million extension.
At 29, Cronenworth’s remarkable ascent to MLB prominence is rewarded with a deal that keeps him in San Diego until he’s 36. For the Padres, the extension locks in a core player at an extremely reasonable annual salary. The commitment to Cronenworth brings stability to their lineup and their infield for the foreseeable future.
When Cronenworth made his MLB debut at 26 years old, he immediately made his presence felt, hitting .285/.354/.477 as a rookie. He followed up with two All-Star appearances in 2021 and 2022. Given that he wouldn’t have hit the free-agent market until 32, Cronenworth opted for long-term stability with the Padres.
Michigan Roots – A St. Clair Native
Before dazzling the MLB, St. Clair native Cronenworth played college baseball at the University of Michigan for three seasons. As a two-way player for the Wolverines, he was their primary closer, boasting a mid-90s fastball and a sharp slider. This arsenal supported his rise to second place on Michigan’s all-time saves list with 27. When he wasn’t pitching, Cronenworth was the team’s sure-handed fielder capable of playing all eight positions. His 211 career hits are tied for 13th on U-M’s all-time list.
Cronenworth’s character, coupled with his unwavering determination to make it to the big leagues, have won him many fans in Detroit and all over the state Michigan.
Padres Hit Home Run with Cronenworth Acquisition
Cronenworth’s signing is arguably the Padres’ most significant scouting win in recent memory. Drafted in the seventh round of the 2015 MLB Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays, he wasn’t initially considered a standout prospect in the eyes of MLB GM’s. However, after a breakout 2019 season in Triple-A, the Padres acquired him as part of a five-player deal. As he has continued to improve while consistently producing, his value in the MLB has become unquestionable.
Cronenworth’s versatility is a key asset for the Padres. He has played first base, second base, shortstop, and third base in the majors already. He has even seen some time on the mound, pitching a scoreless 2/3 of an inning. His work ethic and commitment to baseball are highly valued by the team and the Padres organization.
Padres Strengthen Core with Extension
The Padres have further solidified their core, which includes Xander Bogaerts, Yu Darvish, Manny Machado, and Joe Musgrove, all signed through at least the 2027 MLB season. Now, the Padres have secured a versatile player that they can plug into the lineup every day for the next seven years. It sure seems like this provides both the team and Cronenworth the stability they desire.
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