Blue Jays: There is a great deal to like about Randal Grichuk

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: Randal Grichuk
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 21: Randal Grichuk /

The Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals pulled the trigger on their second deal of the offseason with one another and much like the Aledmys Diaz trade, there is a great deal to like about the Jays acquisition of 26-year old outfielder Randal Grichuk.

The trade all but rules out the Blue Jays chances of acquiring or signing the likes of Christian Yelich or Lorenzo Cain as there is now a plethora of outfielders looking for playing time on the Jays payroll.

However, Randal Grichuk is an athletic, plus defender who like many of the recent additions offers Manager John Gibbons some versatility when filling out the lineup card during the dog days of summer and everyone is banged up.

The former 1st rounder was selected 24th overall in 2009 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Angels. The halos also had the subsequent pick and selected a guy named Mike Trout with the proceeding 25th overall pick. In 2013, Grichuk and Peter Bourjos would then be dealt to the Cardinals in exchange for David Freese and Fernando Salas.

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Grichuk has hit over 20 homers the previous two seasons and could see that number jump to the 35 home run echelon in the homer-friendly confines of the Rogers Centre. According to Matt Kelly of Statcast, Grichuk had the second highest barrel percentage among 135 National League hitters with a minimum of 200 plate appearances last season. The only person he trailed in squaring up balls was none other than Giancarlo Stanton.

Grichuk will fill the power void left by slugger Jose Bautista while also offering more on defence than the aging Bautista could. According to Ross Atkins, Grichuk will see the lions share of the work in right field in 2018.

The outfielder will earn $2.6 million next season and will be arbitration eligible in 2019, however, will not see free agency for the first time until 2021. A much cheaper outfield option than some of the names being tossed around this offseason and a move that will still afford the Jays financial flexibility to address their starting rotation.

In 346 career games, Grichuk has seen action at all three outfield positions- 162 games CF, 116 games LF and 99 games in RF. He has only made 9 errors 655 chances and owns a .986 career fielding percentage.  In parts of four seasons with the Cardinals, Grichuk has a 25 Defensive Runs Saved and a 14.5 Ultimate Zone Rating.

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There is no denying that Grichuk strikes out a lot and struggles at times to make consistent contact but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives and for what the Blue Jays gave up, this is a deal that had to be made.

There is a ton to like about Grichuk, now let’s go get some pitching.