St. Louis Cardinals: The case for keeping Randal Grichuk

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Randal Grichuk
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 24: Randal Grichuk /

The St. Louis Cardinals should keep Randal Grichuk as the fourth outfielder going into the 2018 season.

Baring a trade between now and the start of spring training, Randal Grichuk is currently the best option for the St. Louis Cardinals as the 4th outfielder.  That’s right, I said, Randal Grichuk.

Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, and Marcell Ozuna are set as the starting outfielders going into the 2018 season.  One of the roster questions Mike Matheny and his staff will face is who will be the fourth outfielder.  The choices on the surface seem to be many, but are actually few.

With trades of Stephen Piscotty and Magneuris Sierra, the veteran options are Randal Grichuk and Jose Martinez.  Prospects that will be considered are Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neil and Jose Adolis Garcia.

Tyler O’Neil and Jose Adolis Garcia, although showing promise in the minor leagues, have yet to have any appearances in the major league.  Both have played all three outfield positions in the minors and have shown offensive power potential. O’Neil and Garcia have not seen any MLB time coming into 2018.  Also , their relative short time in AAA would likely see them return to Memphis for more “fine tuning”.

Jose Martinez played in 107 games in 2017 and saw time at first base, right field, and left field.  He had a defensive WAR of -1.1, with his strongest position being at first base.  In 272 at bats, Martinez hit .309 with 14HR and 46RBI.  He had a OBP of ..379, a .517SLG, and a OPS of .897. Jose Martinez would seem to be the best offensive option available.  However, Martinez would be used only in left field or right field due to his defensive limitations.

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This would seem to leave Grichuk and Bader as the remaining options for a fourth outfielder going into the 2018 season.

Harrison Bader saw major league time in 2017.  Playing in thirty-two games, Bader saw time in all three outfield positions, with twenty of those games in center.

Bader showed range and had a defensive WAR of .3 during his time with the Cardinals. In eighty-five at bats, Bader hit .235 with 3HR and 10RBI.  He also had a OBP of .283, a .376 SLG, and a OPS of .659.

Randal Grichuk played in 122 games in 2017 with the Cardinals.  In his career with the Cardinals, Grichuk has played all three outfield positions with a defensive WAR of 1.9.  In 2017, he hit .238 with 22HR and 59RBI.  Grichuk also had a OBP of .285, a .473SLG, and a OPS of .758, in 2017.

However on Tuesday, reports were that the Cardinals signed outfielder Granden Goetzman to a minor league deal.  Goetzman will be assigned to AAA Memphis.

This could be a move by the Cards to prepare for a trade of Grichuk or Bader.  Goetzman has spent the last seven years in the Tampa Bay Rays minor league system. In 457 games he has a .245BA, .290OPB and a ..363SLG.  He also had 24HR and 201RBI in 1797 plate appearances. Therefore, Geotzman would be highly unlikely to be a contender for the fourth outfield spot going into spring training.  But, this move could solidify who that next fourth outfielder would be.

However, if the St. Louis Cardinals go into the 2018 season with both Grichuk and Bader on the roster, Randal Grichuk should get the fourth outfield spot.


After only hitting .235 in eighty-five AB with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017, Harrison Bader needs more time in AAA Memphis.  His WAR, SLG, and OPS were all significantly lower than Randall Grichuk’s.  Starting the season at Memphis will allow Bader to further develop his offensive skills.

For those who would prefer Harrison Bader, I believe he will be called up during the 2018 season, sooner than later.  There are always injuries, and Dexter Fowler or Tommy Pham are likely candidates for the DL based on their history.

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Randall Grichuk, in spite of his love of the “low and away” breaking pitch, has power with his bat.  He also can play all three outfield positions comfortably. Until then, Randall Grichuk should be the fourth outfielder going into the 2018 season.