Randal Grichuck was looking for a starting role heading into the 2018 season. It appears that his wish has been granted…… except he probably didn’t expect to trade in his red bird jersey for a blue one. With the Cardinals making a move for Marcell Ozuna at the winter meetings, there wasn’t a clear spot for Grichuck clearing the way for a trade. St. Louis has agreed to a trade with the Blue Jays sending Grichuck to Toronto in exchange for Dominic Leone and prospect Conner Greene.
We've acquired OF Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for RHP Dominic Leone and RHP Conner Greene.
Last season, Grichuk hit 22 home runs with 59 RBI and 25 doubles in 122 games. pic.twitter.com/624iYWvEx2
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) January 19, 2018
There was a clear outfield need in Toronto as the incumbent group prior to the transaction included Ezekiel Carerra, Steve Pearce, Kevin Pillar, and Curtis Granderson. The longtime face of the franchise Jose Bautista is likely headed elsewhere after a tough 2017 campaign. Grichuck, 26, appears to be a safe gamble for Toronto. They didn’t give up a whole lot to acquire a former first-round pick who has an above average defensive pedigree as well.
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
This isn’t the first time these two organizations struck a deal this winter. The Blue Jays got the better end of the Cardinals when they snagged 2016 All-Star infielder Aledmys Diaz to sure up the depth around injury-prone Troy Tulowitzki. The Blue Jays stole another solid player from the Cards giving up Dominic Leone and Conner Greene. Leone is coming off a breakout year tossing a 2.84 ERA but relievers tend to be inconsistent from the year to year. Greene, 22, threw a 5.24 ERA in AA last year and was ranked as the 11th best prospect in a weak Toronto system.
The Cardinals will turn to Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, and Marcell Ozuna to round out their outfield. The outfield depth has taken a massive hit after shipping out Stephen Piscotty, Mags Sierra, and now Grichuk. Maybe a bigger trade will eventually come as St. Louis seems to be persistent about the expiring contract of Josh Donaldson at the hot corner.