St. Louis Cardinals: Old Cards Faces in Brand New Places

Mar 17, 2014; Fort Myers, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tony Cruz (48) and center fielder Jon Jay (19) and shortstop Daniel Descalso (33) talk with former teammate Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Edward Mujica (54) before the game at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 17, 2014; Fort Myers, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Tony Cruz (48) and center fielder Jon Jay (19) and shortstop Daniel Descalso (33) talk with former teammate Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Edward Mujica (54) before the game at JetBlue Park. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
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May 8, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Jon Jay (19) runs the bases against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 8, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; St. Louis Cardinals pinch hitter Jon Jay (19) runs the bases against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the seventh inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Jon Jay

Yet another castaway from that 2011 World Series squad. Jon Jay was taken in the 2nd round of the 2006 MLB draft out of the University of Miami.

Jay made his way through the Cardinal system quickly. He spent most of the 2007 and 2008 seasons in AA Springfield, hitting well over .300. Jay hit .345 in 58 at-bats with Memphis over the last 16 games of the 2008 season.

Before being called up to the big club at the end of April in 2010, Jay slashed .299/.359/.435 in a season and a half with Memphis.

During Jay’s rookie season with St. Louis, he slashed .300/.359/.422 over 323 plate appearances. When the Cardinals traded Colby Rasmus in late-July of 2011, Jay took over full-time center field duties in St. Louis.

Apr 5, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay (19) catches a fly ball off the bat of Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (not pictured) during the second inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals center fielder Jon Jay (19) catches a fly ball off the bat of Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (not pictured) during the second inning at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

As the Cardinals starting center fielder, Jay slashed .290/.357/.382 from 2012 through 2014. Lackluster defense in 2013 led the team to acquire center fielder Peter Bourjos as a push on Jay, and he responded in 2014.

Jay took control of the center field job, virtually from day one, and finished the 2014 campaign with a .303/.372/.378 slash line.

Jay played in just 79 games in 2015 due to left wrist issues. He turned in a measly .210/.306/.257 slash line with one home run and 10 runs batted in last season.

With the emergence of young outfield talents like Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk and Tommy Pham, as well as the anticipated presence of a name like Jason Heyward for years to come, Jay became expendable during free agency this year.

In exchange for power-hitting utility man Jedd Gyorko, Jay was dealt to the San Diego Padres this past December. In the deal, the Padres will send $7.5 million cash to the Cardinals over the next two seasons and will absorb the remaining $6.225 million Jay is owed in 2016.

Jay will be one of the Padres Opening Day starters in the outfield, likely either in left or center field. Assuming he is healthy, Jay will look for production similar to his 2012-2014 years, hopefully as a key contributor at the top of the San Diego order.

Like Descalso, Jay will also be in a contract year this season. Jay’s value in 2016 free agency could swing wildly, depending on his performance. A season similar to any of his time in St. Louis (outside of 2015) could earn the 30-year-old a multi-year deal.

If Jay struggles in 2016, whether it is due to injury or some other circumstance, he could be caught looking for work on somebody’s bench in 2017, or possibly even worse than that.

Next: Pete Kozma