Blue Jays acquire outfielder Randal Grichuk in trade with Cardinals
St. Louis Cardinals' Randal Grichuk returns to the dugout after making the final out during a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2017. (Chris Lee/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)
The Canadian Press
Published Friday, January 19, 2018 4:39PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 19, 2018 9:08PM EST
TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays feel as though they've found their replacement for Jose Bautista in right field.
Toronto acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday for reliever Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
"I think he'll have the best chance of our group to take that position over for us in right field," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told reporters. "The fact that we have options and we'll have some balance in today's game, asking someone to get 700 plate appearances is a lot. There's very few players that are doing it day in and day out. So where that number ends up, we'll see, but I think he'll have the best chance at the outset to be that regular for us."
The 26-year-old Grichuk appeared in 122 games for St. Louis in 2017, batting .238, with 22 home runs, 59 runs batted in and an on-base plus slugging percentage of .758.
Grichuk has played 57 games in left field, 55 in right and five in centre. He has a career batting average of .249, with 66 homers and 182 RBI's in four seasons with the Cardinals.
Toronto has been seeking a replacement for Bautista after not picking up the option on his contract, making the longtime Blue Jay a free agent.
The Blue Jays also picked up veteran outfielder Curtis Granderson on Monday, according to several media reports. The team has yet to confirm that deal.
Atkins said he likes a lot of elements that Grichuk can bring to Toronto, including athleticism, youth, control, his power and the fact that he plays multiple positions.
"Actually our objective and subjective information is very very good on him defensively, so I think there's a lot to like," Atkins added.
The move works out for both sides as Grichuk wasn't overly thrilled with being a fourth outfielder for the Cardinals this season.
St. Louis had acquired left fielder Marcell Ozuna in a trade with Miami last month while Tommy Pham has also emerged for the team in centre.
"Knowing my role going in as the fourth outfielder and getting that pinch hit off the bench, it's going to be difficult," Grichuk said Monday. "I'll have to give it all I got when I get the opportunity. You can't let it get to you. This game is tough if you don't get every day at-bats. The fourth outfielder, that utility job, it is a tough job."
Last month, the Cardinals also traded outfielder Stephen Piscotty to Oakland.
Leone, 26, had a 2.56 earned-run average, with 81 strikeouts over 70 1/3 innings pitched for Toronto in 2017.
The 22-year-old Greene spent the 2017 season at double-A New Hampshire, posting an ERA of 5.29, with 92 strikeouts over 132 2/3 innings. He was a seventh-round pick in the 2013 draft.
-- With files from The Associated Press