The Toronto Blue Jays have added to their outfield by trading for Randal Grichuk. Dominic Leone and Conner Greene go to St Louis
The Toronto Blue Jays have added yet another outfielder to their roster by agreeing to a trade with the St Louis Cardinals for Randal Grichuk.
We've acquired OF Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for RHP Dominic Leone and RHP Conner Greene.
Last season, Grichuk hit 22 home runs with 59 RBI and 25 doubles in 122 games. pic.twitter.com/624iYWvEx2
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) January 19, 2018
Grichuk is a 26 year old righty who possesses nice power potential, but found himself expendable as the Cardinals have themselves a plethora of outfield talent. It got to the point where Grichuk himself acknowledged that he would likely not return to the Cards. The former first round pick will bring his career .239 ISO to the AL East where there are plenty of walls over which he can deposit some baseballs.
Power aside, Grichuk also comes with a nearly 30% K rate, which is something that Blue Jays fans have grown tired of witnessing over the past couple of years. That will be the biggest knock against Grichuk in the coming days. And, it is valid. But, Toronto was trading for a guy who put up 6.7 fWAR over the last three seasons, a career wRC+ of 108 and 20+ HR potential. He brings the added bonus of playing all outfield positions rather well. For his career, he’s put up positive DRS in all three positions for a total of 25. This is something that fans will be very happy to watch as the outfield defense, outside of Kevin Pillar, was rather suspect. Oh, and Grichuk has three more years of control left.
Giving up Dominic Leone will hurt a little bit since he was rather effective last season, putting up 1.5 fWAR on his way to adding some stability to a revolving door. In 70 innings of work, Leone struck batters out at a rate of nearly 30%. Losing such an impactful part of the bullpen is certainly something that might not sit well. However, Ross Atkins has stated that he feels very comfortable with the stable of arms he has at his disposal. That group extends past the big league roster. With the likes of Tim Mayza waiting in Buffalo, the hit mightn’t be so bad once the season gets going. A Carlos Ramirez or a Matt Dermody could now be bumped up to soften the blow.
As for Conner Greene, this might seem like a high cost, but in reality there are mixed feelings about what Greene is at this point. His potential is not in question as his fastball is rather tantalizing. But, in AA New Hampshire, he put up less than stellar results, going 5-10 with an ERA of 5.29 in 132.2 innings. The jump to AA is often the most difficult jump in an organization and sometimes called a litmus test for the big leagues. While we shouldn’t assume that is 100% correct, the results of 2017 certainly imply that Greene has some work to do. He very well could become a big league starter one day, but this is a play for today.
The logical question now becomes what the Blue Jays do with such a crowded outfield. After acquiring Curtis Granderson, the group looks pretty claustrophobic. Moving Steve Pearce out of the mix is likely more difficult given his salary ($6M+) and his history of injuries. That puts Ezequiel Carrera on the hot seat. But, the Blue Jays feel very strongly about having him on the roster. So, the most logical situation is that Teoscar Hernandez and Anthony Alford continue to marinate in AAA while Pillar, Grichuk, Granderson, Pearce and Carrera make up the outfield mix. That still is one player to heavy, really.
So, perhaps there is more left this offseason. The Blue Jays still need a starter…maybe. That depends on if you believe Atkins when he says that Joe Biagini can start. Pulling off the impossible and trading Kendrys Morales would certainly free up a roster spot, but don’t hold your breath for that. In the mean time, we’ll have to sit back and watch how the Blue Jays navigate this roster situation.
For his part, Randal Grichuk could be a nice addition to this roster. And, hey! What could go wrong trading for a power hitting, strike out prone outfielder from the St Louis Cardinals?
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