Colorado Rockies reach deals with pitcher Antonio Senzatela for five years, 1B C.J. Cron for two years

Right-hander Antonio Senzatela and first baseman C.J. Cron reached agreement on multiyear contracts with the Colorado Rockies on Tuesday.

Senzatela agreed to a five-year deal that ties the right-handed control artist to the organization through at least 2026 and Cron agreed to a two-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed but, sources told ESPN that Senzatela’s deal is worth $50.5 million. The deal involves a $14 million club option for 2027 and gives the Rockies four potential free-agent seasons, the sources said. The cost is significant: $7.25 million for each of the next two seasons and $12 million each for the 2024-26 seasons.

Cron’s deal is worth $14.5 million, according to multiple reports.

Senzatela, 26, is a modern baseball anomaly: a pitcher who doesn’t strike out reams of hitters. His strikeout rate this season of 6.0 batters per nine innings ranks 117th of 120 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings this season. Senzatela makes up for it with a walk rate of 1.73 per nine innings, which ranks fifth out of 120, and a ground ball rate of 51.6% — a figure rare among pitchers with so few walks.

Cron, 31, hit .281 with a team-leading 28 home runs and 92 RBIs for the Rockies this season after signing as a free agent. His three grand slams this campaign were the most in franchise history.

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He also earned NL Player of the Month honors for August when he led the NL in hitting (.387), home runs (11) and RBIs (34).

Traditional numbers don’t present Senzatela in quite as positive a light.

He was 4-10 this season with a 4.42 ERA over 156⅔ innings in 28 starts. Senzatela, whom the Rockies signed out of Venezuela for $250,000 in 2011, has thrown 579⅔ major league innings with a 4.84 ERA. His career ERA is actually nearly a quarter-run better at home — in the high altitude of Coors Field — than on the road, a trend that continued this season.

Senzatela is a sinker-slider pitcher who throws the two pitches a combined 87% of the time. The fastball, heavy and averaging 95 mph, is the sort of pitch Colorado, long wary of the thin air in its ballpark, has tried to develop among its pitchers. Teams have gravitated away from pitchers who don’t log gawdy strikeout numbers — and even rarer are the ones that reward such a player with a big-dollar extension.

Rockies officials have publicly praised Senzatela for embracing technology and trying to improve his stuff using it, and it was enough for them to seek the extension with Senzatela’s agent, Rafa Nieves of Republik Sports.

Colorado, which two years ago locked up ace German Marquez to a similar deal, faces the potential loss of star shortstop Trevor Story and right-hander Jon Gray to free agency this winter. Marquez and Senzatela now are the team’s only commitments beyond the 2022 season. The Rockies finished the season 74-87 and in fourth place in the National League West.

In 2020, Cron was limited to just 13 matches with the Detroit Tigers after undergoing left knee surgery. Cron has also played for the Los Angeles Angels (2014-17), Tampa Bay Rays (2018) and the Minnesota Twins (2019). He’s a career .261 hitter with 146 homers.

The deals come as Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association continue to discuss parameters for a new collective bargaining agreement that players hope will increase spending by teams. Rockies owner Dick Monfort is the chairman of MLB’s labor policy committee, which is negotiating the terms of the new basic agreement with the union.

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