Parting ways may be best for both parties
It was a tale of two seasons for the Blue Jays, as they treaded water for better than half of the year before finally hitting their stride and finding their potential down the stretch. Unfortunately things worked the opposite way for Randal Grichuk.
With George Springer on the IL for most of the first half of the season, Grichuk played an important role as the everyday centre fielder. As he often does, he started the season as one of the better hitters in the lineup as well, and was hitting right in the middle of the order for the early part of the schedule. Unfortunately he also followed a career norm as he regressed after he hot start, and by the end of the year his role had been greatly reduced. He essentially became a platoon outfielder, and occasional late-inning defensive replacement.
Grichuk has spoken out about a desire to play every day before, and I can’t imagine that’s changed for the 30 year old. I’m sure he was excited about the strides the Blue Jays made in 2021, but I’m also willing to bet that he felt a bit left out. In a lot of ways he became a forgotten man, and he really struggled to contribute much with the bat with sporadic playing time.
With two years at an average of 9.33 million (including another million as part of his bonus), I’m sure the Blue Jays would be motivated to get rid of that money from the payroll so they can hopefully allocate it somewhere else. It’s not that Grichuk couldn’t have a role with this team going forward, especially after Springer’s precarious season in the health department, but he’s an awfully expensive part-time player, and someone who is capable and wants more at this stage of his career.
The Blue Jays likely can’t expect to get much of anything in return unless they’re willing to eat a decent chunk of his contract, but if they can dedicate his portion of the payroll to the effort to retain Semien and Ray, or even just to boost the bullpen, it might be a wise decision. If there’s one player I expect to be dealt, it’s likely Grichuk.