St. Louis Cardinals: Jedd Gyorko’s worth is key to future deals

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 17: Jedd Gyorko /

In all the move the St. Louis Cardinals have made, are considering, and might potentially make this offseason are very much tied to the players already on the roster. On in particular seems to be a sticking point.

The St. Louis Cardinals have benefited greatly from the presence of the stolen third baseman from the San Diego Padres. Jedd Gyorko, with his partially-paid salary, has grown into an amazing player during his days with the St. Louis Cardinals. Did Mozeliak know what he was getting when he convinced the Padres to part with Gyorko?

In Gyorko’s first season breaking onto the scene- 2013- He was paid a mere $490K and produced a WAA (wins above average) of 0.6. This means the value he was paid in ’13 was appropriate for the output that he generated. In ’13 his slash line was .249/.301/.444 in 125 games across second and third.

Jedd’s salary increased to $510,900 in 2014. In this his second season with the Padres, one in which he played second base exclusively, he posted a WAA of -1.9. This was attributable to a slash of .210/.280/.333 in 111 games. This below-average performance showed that he was potentially overpaid in 2014, thus knocking his value lower.

The below-average performance of ’14 did not slow his salary progression as he was paid $2M in 2015 which would prove to be his final season in California. In 2015, Gyorko produced a slash of .247/.297/.397 for a WAA of -0.9. Two seasons of below-average performances based on salary had San Diego ready to part ways.

Enter the creative John Mozeliak and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals saw in Gyorko an ability to play multiple infield positions at a highly discounted price. This gamble certainly paid off as Mozeliak was able to convince the Padres to send Jedd to the St. Louis Cardinals and pay portions of his remaining contract.

2016 was Gyorko’s first year with the St. Louis Cardinals. He appeared at all infield positions that season save pitcher and catcher. In 2016 he was paid $4M– all by the St. Louis Cardinals. But this would be the final season the Cardinals would pay the entirety of the contract. This was the critical piece in the Gyorko deal, that the Cardinals would save San Diego $4M immediately.

In 2016, Gyorko produced a slash of .243/.306/.495 for a WAA of 1.6. Mozeliak was winning already.

The real win for the St. Louis Cardinals came in 2017 when the Padres were required to pay portions of Gyorko’s annual salary. In 2017, San Diego paid $2M of his owed $6M. During this season, Gyorko produced a slash of .272/.341/.472 in 125 games for a WAA of 2.1. Mozeliak wins again.

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Enter now the thinking and planning of the St. Louis Cardinals for 2018 and beyond. In all of the moves made thus far it seems that Gyorko may have been in the background of each. The question, to me at least, seems to focus on whether the Cardinals want Gyorko with his $9M owed in ’18 ($2.5M from the Padres) as their super utility backup or whether they want to move him while his value is good.

If the St. Louis Cardinals were to move Gyorko, a team could grab a super utility player who has posted a career .734 OPS with two seasons of control in which a different team is providing $5.5M across these two years. Additionally, the receiving team would get the team option for 2020 that Gyorko brings.

That said, the St. Louis Cardinals may decide this value is something worth keeping. If they do, what does this mean for another such as Matt Carpenter?

I am very torn on the issue. I would love to see the St. Louis Cardinals keep Gyorko but I can also understand if they ship him off. I think I would rather see Carpenter depart but I doubt that his salary has the appeal of Gyorko.

I guess the real tell will come depending on who the Cardinals receive. Should they get say Josh Donaldson, then Gyorko is expendable. If the Cardinals decide that they would rather invest in pitcher or pitchers, then Gyorko is more likely kept.

Time will tell.

Next: How the Cardinals can win the winter

What do you think? Is Gyorko the best value the Cardinals have going into 2018? Or is he better shipped off for some return?