The St. Louis Cardinals have announced the trade of Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for right-handed pitchers Dominic Leone and Conner Greene.
The move appears to clear up some of the logjam in the St. Louis outfield while at the same time add more depth to a bullpen which is likely to evolve during the season.
“We’ve tried to build flexibility this year into our bullpen first and foremost,” said Mozeliak this past weekend at the team’s Winter Warm-Up.
The 26-year old Leone brings some of that flexibility as he ranked 12th among American League relievers last season with a 2.56 ERA and recorded 11 Holds in 65 games pitched.
He struck out 81 batters in 70.1 innings of work. Leone also stranded 42 of 54 inherited runners, which ranked 4th among A.L. relievers (min. 50 inherited runners).
While Luke Gregerson would be the closer if the season started today, Leone also profiles as a pitcher who could see a larger role in the backend of games.
Drafted in 2012 by Seattle, Leone has pitched for the Mariners and Arizona. He has appeared in 160 career MLB games. Right-handed batters have a career .241 (101-419) and lefties have hit .262 (66-252).
The 22-year old Greene had a record of 5-10 with a 5.29 ERA in 26 games (25 starts) last season at New Hampshire (AA). He was an Eastern League (AA) All-Star and struck out 92 batters in 132.2 IP.
Grichuk appeared in 404 games over the last four seasons for St. Louis. He hit 66 home runs, had 182 runs batted in, and 415 strikeouts in 1291 at-bats. With the addition of Marcell Ozuna, Grichuk was likely to start the season as the fourth outfielder for the Cardinals.
“Obviously any time you lose a starting spot it’s disappointing,” said Grichuk at the Warm-Up. “I felt like last year was kind of up and down, it wasn’t consistent enough. We needed an impact bat in the middle of the lineup, and fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you want to look at it, it’s an outfielder. It’s good for the team, rough for me, but I’ll still roll with it.”
Able to play all three outfield positions, Grichuk is now likely to be the new everyday right fielder in Toronto.
Thank you to the @Cardinals organization and fans for all the love and support you gave me over the past 5 years. While I am going to miss St. Louis, I am excited to start the next journey in my career with the @BlueJays!!
— Randal Grichuk (@RGrich15) January 20, 2018
photo credit: Scott Kane, Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports