SAN DIEGO – Obviously, it’s always extension season in San Diego.
On Saturday, Jake Cronworth became the latest player to tie his long-term future with the Padres.
The 29-year-old has agreed a seven-year contract extension that will keep him in San Diego through the 2030 season. Terms have not been announced, but a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand they are worth $80 million.
A two-time All-Star, Cronworth had two seasons remaining on his contract before he was eligible for access to free agency. The extension essentially buys out the remaining two arbitration years and five free agent eligible seasons.
In December 2019, Cronenworth arrived in San Diego as a fringe prospect widely seen as the starting pitcher in a deal with the Rays that also netted Tommy Pham, sent Hunter Renfroe, and sent Xavier Edwards to Tampa Bay.
It quickly became “Jake Cronnworth’s Trade”. He made it to the big league club in 2020 and then finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting. In each of his two consecutive seasons, he made it to the All-Star team, and composed a number of memorable moments in the 2022 postseason — none more so than the go-ahead hit that helped eliminate the Dodgers in Game 4 of the NL Division Series last October. .
In his three seasons with the Padres, Cronenworth hit a .256/.338/.430 slanted streak with superior defense across the entire field, though primarily at second and first base. His suitability for the long-term position with the club remains somewhat unclear.
Cronenworth is currently playing first base, with Ha-Seong Kim moving to second upon Bogaerts’ arrival. Cronworth is capable of playing all four positions – and he plays them well. But he was a Gold Glove finalist in second place last season.
To be clear, Cronenworth’s adaptability and versatility is exactly what made him so attractive to the Padres in the first place — and certainly part of the reason they decided to lock him up long-term.
Next on the extension tour? Josh Hader and Blake Snell are set to become free agents after the season. There’s no sign of attraction toward an extension with either of those two (although there was no indication that the Cronnworth deal would bear fruit until late Friday night).
A potential extension of Juan Soto looms, though general manager AJ Preller indicated Thursday that Soto has expressed a preference to focus on the season.
“With Juan, it was more about the baseball side of things than, frankly,,” Briller said.
With the season under way, it’s entirely possible that Cronenworth’s deal could signal the end of the Padres’ extension period. Perhaps, now, the focus is shifting toward the day-to-day of the season with unprecedented expectations in San Diego.
Then again, these are Padres of Preller and owner Peter Seidler.
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