The Cardinals traded Randal Grichuk to the Blue Jays this past Friday. To offset the logjam in the outfield, the Cardinals get reliever Dominic Leone and starter Conner Greene from Toronto. Maybe you don’t like it, maybe you have an undying love for Grichuk, but overall this was a good and necessary move for the Cardinals to make.
Randal Grichuk. The man that all us Cardinal fans seem to adore. The man who struck out about every other at bat but we still thought he could do it. Grichuk mesmerizes me. Maybe it was his promise or potential, but I’ve never seen this fan base give as many second chances as we did to Grichuk. That aside, he was a good player, he did have a ton of potential, but this trade was the right move for the Cardinals to make.
First we need to see Grichuk’s main problem, strikeouts. Plain and simple, this guy had terrible plate discipline. He took so many bad swings you can close your eyes and envision it in your head. What do all the analysts in the world provide to help prove their point? Stats. So here’s some stats to back up that statement from last season.
Last season Grichuk struck out 133 times. That placed him in the top 50 in strikeouts. That’s not bad, right? Not if you forget about his mid-season hiatus that found him all the way down in A ball at one point. He played in 122 games. Only four players had more strikeouts while playing 122 games or less. (Hunter Renfroe – 122, Michael Taylor – 118, Matt Davidson – 118, Miguel Sano – 114)
That being said, only one of those players had less at bat’s than Grichuk
Hunter Renfroe – 445 AB, 140 K
Miguel Sano – 424 AB, 173 K
Matt Davidson – 414 AB, 165 K
Randal Grichuk – 412 AB, 133 K
Michael Taylor – 399 AB, 137 K
Of that list, you can make the argument that he would probably still have less strikeouts than all but Renfore given the same number of AB’s. But the point here is this list isn’t placing him in elite company.
Ignoring Grichuk’s main flaw, this was just a move that made sense. With the addition of Marcell Ozuna, the Cardinals outfield is set. Aside from Ozuna, Pham, and Fowler, they’ve also got Jose Martinez and Harrison Bader ready to play at any given moment. There wasn’t much room for a guy like Grichuk and I’ve believed all offseason that he’s a very expendable guy.
So what about the return? Dominic Leone is a stud. In 70.1 innings for Toronto last season, he posted a 2.56 ERA. That’s more innings than any pitcher in the Cardinals bullpen last season. Only three pitchers in the bullpen had a better ERA, but none of them were close to 70 innings.
Juan Nicasio – 1.64 ERA, 11.0 innings
John Brebbia – 2.44 ERA, 51.2 innings
Sam Tuivailala – 2.55 ERA, 42.1 innings
Conner Greene has had a tough go thus far in his career. He played at the highest level in his career last season, AA affiliate for the Blue Jays, where he posted a 5-10 record with a 5.29 ERA. His stats aren’t promising, but he’s only 22 years old. He’s a 2013 7th round draft pick straight out of high school, so the potential is certainly there.
Randal Grichuk certainly had his moments in a Cardinal uniform. He had the pop to go yard any time he stepped up to the plate. But with a crowded outfield and lacking a truly effective reliever, this is a good move by the St. Louis Cardinals.