Unpopular Blue Jays Opinion

Unpopular Opinion: Blue Jays Need to Deal Grichuk

If the Toronto Blue Jays are serious about improving for a 2022 run, they need to find a trade partner for Randal Grichuk


Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase


 


The Toronto Blue Jays are determined to get better. Despite missing the Wild Card spot by a single game, they should be focused solely on winning the AL East. In order to do that, their determination will have to bear fruit. There are a few spots the club could look to for improvements. The bullpen is one. The rotation could lose a couple important pieces and an everyday third baseman is needed. However, if they are going to get better, they need to figure out how to have Randal Grichuk playing elsewhere.

 

Before we continue, I will acknowledge that the “Unpopular Opinion” part of the headline may or may not apply, depending upon the reader. There may be an equal number who agree with this idea as there is who disagree. However, anecdotally, it would appear that most fans are in love with Grichuk and want him to stay. I am not one of those.

 

Grichuk signed an extension that would keep him in Toronto through the 2023 season. Five years and $52M for a guy who provides power and defense certainly seemed like a good idea at the time. That, coupled with the fact that Toronto’s outfield looked rather bleak back in the spring of 2019. We know the club didn’t exactly believe in the likes of Anthony Alford or Jonathan Davis, so extending Grichuk made sense. However, with the team now performing at a level that the front office may not have expected, it is time for better.

 

Standard Batting
Year Age PA R H 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2014 22 116 11 27 6 3 8 5 31 .245 .278 .400 .678
2015 23 350 49 89 23 17 47 22 110 .276 .329 .548 .877
2016 24 478 66 107 29 24 68 28 141 .240 .289 .480 .769
2017 25 442 53 98 25 22 59 26 133 .238 .285 .473 .758
2018 26 462 60 104 32 25 61 27 122 .245 .301 .502 .803
2019 27 628 75 136 29 31 80 35 163 .232 .280 .457 .738
2020 28 231 38 59 9 12 35 13 49 .273 .312 .481 .793
2021 29 545 59 123 25 22 81 27 114 .241 .281 .423 .703
8 Yr 8 Yr 3252 411 743 178 156 439 183 863 .245 .293 .473 .765
162 162 597 75 136 33 29 81 34 158 .245 .293 .473 .765
STL STL 1386 179 321 83 66 182 81 415 .249 .297 .488 .785
TOR TOR 1866 232 422 95 90 257 102 448 .243 .289 .461 .751
AL ( AL ( 1866 232 422 95 90 257 102 448 .243 .289 .461 .751
NL ( NL ( 1386 179 321 83 66 182 81 415 .249 .297 .488 .785
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/24/2021.

 

Grichuk is a guy who may hit 25-30 home runs and the idea of giving that up might scare some people, particularly with Marcus Semien potentially leaving town. The Blue Jays will need production. Grichuk produced 8.8 fWAR from 2015 through 2018 and it would be nice if he could return to that. However, from 2019 through 2021, he only produced 1.4 fWAR, including a full season career low 0.4 fWAR in 2021.

 

But, wait. There’s more. 2021 saw him produce a full season career low in OPS (.703), wRC+ (85) and SLG (.423). Looking a little deeper, we see that, after a decent April/May, Grichuk’s production feel off the face of the Earth: June: OPS: .666/ wRC+: 73, July: OPS: .646/ wRC+: 64, August: OPS:.550/ wRC+: 50. He saw slight improvement in September, but only to an OPS of .659 and a wRC+ of 75. In total, Grichuk hit 22 HR and a WPA of -1.83. In short, that is not good enough on a championship team, which Toronto should be aiming for.

 

An argument for keeping Grichuk is his defense. For a right fielder, he is good and is an adequate CF if the need arises. He put up 6 DRS in RF and an OAA of 0. In CF, he saw -2 DRS and -1 OAA. Statcast ranks outfielders by OAA and Grichuk sits 24th in baseball, 6 spots ahead of Teoscar Hernandez. So, his defense certainly brings value, but is it enough? No. Should Toronto be using a roster spot for a guy who has become a bench outfielder? No.

 

When I first thought of writing this, I checked Blue Jays Aggregator to see if anyone else had written about Grichuk in this way. As someone who writes about the Blue Jays, this should be a regular step in the writing process, something that some people ignore. Anyway, that quick pit stop led me to a great piece by Andrew Stoeten about the Blue Jays’ potential trade chips. Stoeten broke the roster down to different levels and WAY down at the bottom, Grichuk is in a tier of his own. I highly recommend reading the rather thorough and thoughtful piece. Regarding Grichuk, Stoeten had this to say: “I suspect, though, that the Jays will probably just take the loss and have Grichuk come back for at least one more year. Their other fourth outfielder options aren’t exactly great, and unless they’re eating the vast majority of the money or taking somebody else’s problem back, they’re not getting out from under this deal. Not great!

 

Not great, indeed. Stoeten may have a point, after all who would really take Grichuk and his nearly $20M remaining after the season he just put up? However, it says here that Toronto should be looking to unload Grichuk as quickly as possible. They may have to eat some salary to do so, but if they’re serious about winning, they need to. And, it wouldn’t be the craziest idea since they did the same thing with Tanner Roark earlier this season, DFA-ing him at the end of April. So, they’re not above eating money to get rid of guys who aren’t producing. In fact, the situation in which they find themselves almost dictates that they have to do so.

 

The real challenge will be to find a match. Might Toronto need to take on someone else’s bad contract? Maybe. There’s no guarantee that will result in anything positive. But, it could be worth the risk. Randal Grichuk is a known commodity for Toronto, a commodity that has reached its best before date. Time to move on. Trading him may prove to be near impossible and he could be back in Toronto next season, but if the Blue Jays are eyeing a championship, they need to exhaust every ‘trade Grichuk’ avenue they can find or invent.

 

 

 

 

*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.

*****
HEAD ON OVER TO THE JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS STORE AND GET SOME GREAT SWAG THAT YOU WILL LOOK GREAT IN AND YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAD TO OUR JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS FUNDRAISING PAGE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION DIRECTLY TO ALS CANADA.
*****

THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO

 

 

 

Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.