As the St. Louis Cardinals mourn the passing of Oscar Taveras, management needs to decide soon about what to do about right field for the future. Does the team go with an internal option or sign a free agent? It was a topic that has been heavily debated by the United Cardinal Bloggers.
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It was only on October 21st in which I wrote that right field would show an improvement in 2015. At the time of writing the column, I couldn’t even fathom the idea that the long-term plans for the St. Louis Cardinals would change in a matter of a few days.
Everybody knew that the team was planning around Oscar Taveras as a key player of the team’s core. Allen Craig was traded away as a result.
This past season, Grichuk hit .259/.311/.493 in 108 games with the Memphis Redbirds and .245/.278/.400 in 47 games with the Cardinals. To top that off, he displayed a massive amount of power with 25 home runs with Memphis. However, he’s aggressive at the plate and this is an area where he could improve upon with his 108 strikeouts in AAA and 31 strikeouts at the Major League level.
As for Piscotty, who MLB.com lists as the Cardinals’ top prospect, he hit .288/.355/.406 in 136 games with Memphis. He didn’t have the power to go along with it like Gricuk but added 32 doubles and 9 home runs. For his part though, he struck out 61 times and walked 43 times. Piscotty is a player who hits for average more than power and that’s alright. Line drives won’t hurt if players are on base.
We know that manager Mike Matheny is loyal to the veterans but he could easily play both of these guys. I think Piscotty could very well be the right fielder of the future. He may split time with Grichuk and come off the bench.
It’s possible that general manager John Mozeliak could opt for a free agent in Michael Cuddyer, Corey Hart, or Michael Morse. The Cardinals would like to see a right-handed bat that can play first base and complement Matt Adams. Finding a player that could also play right field would be a plus.
Writing about the National League Central Division on MLB.com, columnist Anthony Castrovince says that Cuddyer “would be a terrific fit for the Cards’ roster and culture, with the clear caveats that he’ll be high priced and 36 on Opening Day.” He addeds that Hart “could be a buy-low option for the proposed Adams platoon.”
Cuddyer hit .332/.376/.579 this season but he was with the Colorado Rockies. His splits were .400/.455/.800 at home and .282/.316/.418 on the road. Cuddyer could be a good fit and could also serve as a mentor of sorts to both Grichuk and Piscotty.