Randal Grichuk, the odd man out in the St. Louis Cardinals’ outfield, was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for right-handed reliever Dominic Leone and pitching prospect Conner Greene.
Grichuk became the fourth outfielder on the depth chart when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. Ozuna is expected to play left field with Tommy Pham in center and Dexter Fowler in right.
Despite durability questions around Pham, who had a breakout season in 2017, and Fowler, the Cardinals moved Grichuk on Friday with a move that bolsters a bullpen without an established closer.
“We’ve got 37 outfielders between Double-A, Triple-A and the big leagues. We knew there would be a possibility,” Grichuk said over the weekend of the possibility of a trade. At the time, he was discussing the move that sent Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics for a pair of middle-infield prospects.
Grichuk, 26, has potential to be a “power bat,” according to Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. But one issue has been consistent contact. He has a strikeout in one out of every three at-bats in the big leagues: 383 whiffs in 1,181 at-bats. He hit just .238 last season with 22 home runs.
Leone posted a 2.56 ERA with 81 strikeouts over 70 1/3 innings for Toronto in 2017 and has a chance to play a significant role in St. Louis. The 26-year-old had 11 holds in 65 games last season and owns a career mark of 11-8 with a 3.48 ERA in 160 outings (all in relief) with Seattle (2014-15), Arizona (2015-16) and Toronto (2017).
Greene, 22, was a seventh-round pick in 2013.
–Field Level Media