St. Louis Cardinals: Jedd Gyorko 2017 Expectations

Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports
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St. Louis Cardinals
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Jedd Gyorko was a key piece for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016. What should fans expect from him next season?

Recently, our own Josh Brown revisited the trade which brought Jedd Gyorko from the San Diego Padres to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016. This move cleared the way for Randal Grichuk to take over as the full-time center fielder and added necessary depth to the Cardinals infield.

The St. Louis Cardinals saw Gyorko as a utility man capable of serviceable play at any spot on the infield. This was especially important to the team for a few reasons.

Most obvious were the second half slumps from Jhonny Peralta and Kolten Wong the season prior in 2015 as manager Mike Matheny rode the middle infielders into the ground.  Their heavy usage was necessitated by a lack of viable options behind them.

Additionally, at first base the St. Louis Cardinals were counting on a position change from Matt Holliday, as well as incumbents Brandon Moss and Matt Adams. Holliday at first was a complete unknown, Moss was coming off a down year in 2015, and Matt Adams had yet to show the consistency required to play every day.

In a season which featured a revolving door of injuries, Gyorko was constantly the “next man up.”

Finally, at third base, the Cardinals were depending on Matt Carpenter. While Carpenter’s yearly production provided little reason for concern, his capacity to play every day was a reason to worry: Carpenter suffered from dehydration at the end of 2014 and fought a bout of “extreme fatigue” early in 2015.

Jedd Gyorko gave the St. Louis Cardinals a backup option at every one of these positions, and his team-friendly contract (of which the Padres will pay $7.5 million) made him a low-risk option controlled through 2020.

Gyorko came with some upside as well, making two appearances on the Baseball America Top 100 prospect lists before his strong rookie season in 2013. While he had struggled through two sub-par seasons since, the St. Louis Cardinals were hopeful that a change of scenery might provide a spark to the infielder.