St. Louis Cardinals: Randal Grichuk’s struggles continue

PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 27: Outfielder Randal Grichuk
PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 27: Outfielder Randal Grichuk /

St. Louis Cardinals’ outfielder, Randal Grichuk, continues to struggle at the plate since his return to St. Louis.

Since his return to the St. Louis Cardinals, Randal Grichuk has not done much to persuade me he is a starting outfielder again. For a moment, Grichuk looked normal again, hitting .318 with three home runs and nine RBI. It was the Randal Grichuk Cardinal Nation fell in love with a couple of years ago.

However, much like the Cardinals’ season, lack of consistency has doomed Grichuk once again.

I’ll start by giving @CrashSTL credit for bringing this to my attention. Since his return to St. Louis, Grichuk is a meager 9-43 (.209 BA), with fifteen strikeouts and four walks. In those games, his OBP, SLG, and OPS sit at .277, .465, and .742 respectively. In other words, Grichuk’s first five games back were more fluke than not.

After the five games of his return, Grichuk racked up an uninspiring TWO hits in twenty-three at-bats for a BA of .095, a .174 OBP, a .143 SLG, and a .317 OPS. In those same twenty-three at-bats, Grichuk has nine strike outs and two walks. For those who want to say he is hitting into bad luck, his BAbip is .167.

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How much longer are the St. Louis Cardinals going to give Grichuk? It is very clear he cannot stay consistent in his hitting. The only way you get any results out of him is if you send him down to Memphis in the middle of the year.

How can the Cardinals ever expect any consistency from Grichuk if he needs to be sent down every year to get going? You can’t.

For weeks now, on our podcasts, fellow contributor, Josh McDonald, and I have debated on Grichuk’s place on the team. He is a self-proclaimed Grichuk apologist, and I cannot stand Grichuk.

The St. Louis Cardinals have neglected this, but they have a very important question to answer: What is Grichuk’s value to the team?

For a second, after his rookie season, I thought the Cardinals found the next big thing in Randal Grichuk. I even went as far as to say he was one of the best outfielders in the NL Central. Since then, though, it has been one inconsistency after the other. Now, I look like Cubs’ fans saying Kyle Schwarber is the next Babe Ruth.

At this point, and as far as I’m concerned, Grichuk is at best a fourth outfield option. If not, he is on the fast track out of St. Louis. His inconsistencies are becoming too big of an issue for a team that dedicates the cleanup role to him, only to see him strike out. No one can convince me different either. At this point, I would rather have Jose Martinez as my fourth outfielder.

Back to my question though.

The St. Louis Cardinals essentially have two options for Randall Grichuk. You can either keep him or trade him. Unfortunately, the Cardinals find themselves in limbo between these two options. I’ll do my best to help them with their decision.

Let’s start with keeping Randal Grichuk. If the Cardinals decided to keep Randal Grichuk on the roster, then it needs to be strict playing time. The Cardinals, right now, are a better team with Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, and Stephen Piscotty in the outfield. Keeping Grichuk means two things for the team.

The first is Grichuk becomes your fourth outfielder. He is better defensively than Jose Martinez, and has more potential than Martinez. While this season doesn’t necessarily show that sentiment, it’s the truth. The second thing, as a result of the first, would be to send Jose Martinez down to Memphis. It will keep him fresh and ready for a call up due to injury.

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The problem then becomes Grichuk’s playing time. As a fourth outfielder, he’ll get spot starts. However, there shouldn’t be any need to get him regular at-bats. It’s already proven he can’t do anything with them anyway. So if you are concerned about his playing time, then let me direct you to the only other option the Cardinals have.

At this point, Tommy Pham has an outfield spot on lock down. Grichuk will not outplay Piscotty or Fowler either, so what other option is there? I know for people like Josh, trading him is the last thing you want to do, but I’m not sorry. The Cardinals should sell as high they can on Grichuk’s potential and move him. Why?

The St. Louis Cardinals have a prospect in Harrison Bader that has nothing left to prove in Memphis. His time is coming and Grichuk is on the short end of the move to bring him up. If you are going to give prospects like Paul DeJong and Alex Mejia shots at the big leagues, its only a matter of time till Bader is in St. Louis. Bader is batting .303 with sixteen home runs and forty-one RBI.

That is more than good enough for a call up to St. Louis, especially in the wake of what Grichuk hasn’t done.

Next: Possible roster moves ahead

The St. Louis Cardinals need to decide Grichuk’s fate before it is too late. I know I’m not the only frustrated with his play, but there is no sense on playing him right now. He has no confidence in his swing and lacks plate discipline. I believe he can be a good player, but it’s just not in St. Louis.