Since he got the news on Friday of his trade from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Toronto Blue Jays, it’s been a whirlwind for Randal Grichuk, who will now have to get used to wearing blue instead of red.
“Going into the off-season, I thought most definitely I was going to get traded,” said Grichuk. “Then as the off-season kind of progressed, I saw that they got rid of Piscotty and landed Ozuna. Things were starting to fall into place, it almost looked like I was going to go into the year as the fourth outfielder.”
And even though he cautioned someone at the Winter Warm-Up that there was still a long month of the off-season left and a trade could still be made, Grichuk felt it was less likely.
“I actually didn’t think I was going to be traded leaving the Winter Warm-Up,” he shared. “I kind of thought it was getting down to crunch time and I was going to be down in Jupiter in a few weeks. But got that call on Friday. Mo gave me a call and very excited.”
The excitement comes from the opportunity to move from being a fourth outfielder with the Cardinals to the chance to be the everyday right fielder in Toronto.
“Yeah, that’s what it sounds like going into the year,” said Grichuk. “I’m super excited. Going into St. Louis, I would’ve been the fourth and like Mo said, playing time would’ve been hard to come by. It’s going to be a fresh start and I think everybody in the big leagues wants to play. Kind of regardless of where they are at, they want to be in the lineup. They want to show what they can do and it’s going to be good.”
“I get that sense, just looking at the lineup. They traded for Solarte, bringing in me, bringing in Granderson–there’s been rumors that they’re still looking for another starter and some more pitching. To me, it looks like they’re trying to make a run. Obviously, there’s a lot of hype on Boston and New York. New York especially with getting Stanton, but I look at our team around the diamond and it looks really good.”
Grichuk also has the confidence of the work he’s done this off-season after purchasing a pitching machine to work on his pitch recognition.
“I have been getting after it when it comes to the machine,” he shared. “I would presume it’s going to help. Mostly just in the sense of pitch recognition. Haven’t been able to see all off-season ever and now four or five times a week for three months, I would imagine that’s going to help. I’ve also been doing some vision training courses.”
The courses have focused on training his eyes with five different tests based on depth perception and how fast you can recognize or pick up an object coming at you and then how well you react after picking it up.
“It’s going to be different to see when it comes to in-game feel and instincts take over and everything else,” said Grichuk. “But it’s been feeling good, looking good, and it feels great right now.”
So as Randal Grichuk embarks on his way to Toronto, what stands out about his time in St. Louis?
“Being able to make the post-season my first two big league seasons, that was big,” said Grichuk. “Guys go their whole career without being able to make the post-season and that was something I was thankful for. Hopefully, I can get back there. Haven’t been in the last two years and that’s disappointing.
“Just being in the post-season. Obviously, my first post-season at-bat–a home run against Kershaw. Just being able to see Opening Day in St. Louis and know that you’re part of something bigger than yourself. So many things I’m thankful for in St. Louis. A lot of good memories.”
photo credit: eff Curry-USA TODAY Sports, Bill Greenblatt/UPI