The Toronto Blue Jays have made yet another offseason splash, this time acquiring outfielder Randal Grichuk from the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for reliever Dominic Leone and prospect Conner Greene.
Shi Davidi of Sportsnet broke the news:
— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) January 19, 2018
Grichuk (26), brings a handful of tools that could make him a bigger impact player in Toronto. He’s hit 46 home runs over the last two seasons, brings excellent speed and has a career UZR of 7.0.
A knock against Grichuk is his inconsistency at the plate. He batted just .238 in 2017 and struck out a whopping 133 times in 412 plate appearances. The Jays scored the fewest runs in the American League last season, so they’ll hope that Grichuk can bring more to the plate than we’ve seen so far.
Grichuk will compete with other platoon players like Steve Pearce, Teoscar Hernandez, Ezequiel Carrera and the recently signed Curtis Granderson for the corner outfield spots. Center fielder and defensive wizard Kevin Pillar is sure to keep his spot.
The addition of a young and controllable Grichuk didn’t come without costs, though. Leone pitched 70.1 innings for the Jays, and struck out 81 batters while posting a 2.56 ERA. He also finished the season with a 2.2 WAR, and will be a great addition for a Cardinals rotation that was leaky at best in 2017.
As for Greene, he was picked up by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 MLB Draft. He struggled for New Hampshire of the Eastern League in Double-A. Greene had 83 walks against 92 strikeouts and posted a 5.29 ERA.
But with young pitchers Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez on the roster – plus other young arms in the system – Greene was expendable. No doubt that Leone was the big piece in this trade for the Cardinals.
Thus far, the Jays have traded for versatile infielders Aledmys Diaz (from the Cardinals), and Yangervis Solarte from the San Diego Padres. With a projected payroll expected to be at around $165 million for opening day, the Jays have just over $10 million remaining to add another player or two.
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