St. Louis Cardinals: Randal Grichuk’s comments polarize Cardinal Nation

ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 26: Randal Grichuk
ST. LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 26: Randal Grichuk /

Yesterday, Randal Grichuk spoke on his time with the St. Louis Cardinals after being traded to the Blue Jays last Friday.

Yesterday afternoon, former St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Randal Grichuk made some comments regarding his former club and his time spent in St. Louis. After four very frustrating years, the Cardinals traded Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays last Friday for pitchers Dominic Leone and Conner Greene. The trade certainly polarized many in Cardinal Nation, but Grichuk’s comments yesterday might have sent many over the edge.

Even within our Redbird Rants writer group chat there was some debate after seeing Grichuk’s comments. Blue Jays play-by-play announcer Mike Wilner even noticed how polarized Cardinal fans were after the comments were made.

Nothing says frustration like taking a shot at your former manager to blame your own inconsistencies, right? Here are my two takeaways from Grichuk’s comments.

Consistently inconsistent

Don’t get me wrong. I get why Randal is frustrated. I’d be upset too if I didn’t receive playing time like I thought I deserved. It messes with your hitting and overall psyche. It really can make or break players. However, just because you hit well for one week, doesn’t mean you’re a lock every single day.

Take this last season for instance. Through his first forty-six games in 2017, Grichuk hit an abysmal .222 and racked up a whopping fifty-four strike outs in 181 plate appearances. He was on pace to strike out 191 times, but thankfully the St. Louis Cardinals showed him some mercy by demoting him to the minors.

Then Grichuk makes his return on June 25th and goes off on a tear his next six games by batting .269 with three home runs and nine RBI. He still struck out at his season’s rate, but it was arguably the most productive Grichuk we saw. I specifically remember talking about this week with a fellow writer and said he will fall off again. Just wait.

Related Story: Cards trade Grichuk

Sure enough, in his next seventy-one games, Grichuk batted .242 with seventy-three strike outs in 237 plate appearances (finishing with 133 K on the season). It was like everything he forgot during that one brilliant week of baseball just decided to rear its ugly head back towards us. And to think, Grichuk was demoted to single-A and triple-A to work on his approach, only to revert back to what he was doing prior to getting sent down.

Even in 2016, Girchuk was not the same player we expected him to be. At the end of his first game of the 2016 season, Girchuk’s average sat at .250. he didn’t come within five points of that until his 121st game. Oh yeah, the St. Louis Cardinals demoted him that year too.

But you can cite inconsistent playing time all you want. The fact is Grichuk had FOUR years to be a productive player and didn’t get it done. Yet here we are arguing about a player who has a career .249 average, a miniscule .297 career OBP, a career THIRTY percent strike out rate, and a career 5.9% walk rate.

Related Story: Saying goodbye to Grichuk

Remember when Kolten Wong’s .321 OBP was low enough for everyone wanting him to be traded? The difference between Wong and Grichuk is Wong is getting better and playing consistent ball.

Baseball is all about production. Girchuk’s inconsistencies at the plate have nothing to do with Mike Matheny. Matheny isn’t the one at the plate swinging at every breaking ball low and away. Matheny isn’t at the plate swinging at high fast balls. Grichuk was, and still is, in control of his destiny, but it’s obvious that he was better at being inconsistent than he was consistent.

No matter where you go, expectations await

Grichuk’s comments also struck the nerve of what exactly Mike Matheny’s expectations were. I’m sure Grichuk is exaggerating somewhat, but for the most part I believe he really thought he had to get two hits in order to play more. Unfortunately, that is one of the silliest things to say, especially when playing a game based on more failures than successes.

But here is the thing. Whether he thinks Mike Matheny’s expectations were unreasonable or not, Girchuk has to be able to meet those expectations in order to succeed. It doesn’t matter if you think Matheny is the worst manager in the world either. If you can’t produce, then you don’t play. That is the nature of baseball.

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I don’t know any other time anyone has ever won or been successful with how inconsistent Grichuk has been at the plate.

I don’t know how you feel, but complaining about expectations being too high is admission of failure on your own part. You are saying you can’t do it.

Well, guess what.

No matter where you go, no matter the team you play for, there will always be high expectations awaiting you.

Some teams may have different expectations for the season, but when you’re in a town like St. Louis, Boston, Chicago, L.A. , or New York, the stakes are always high. I promise that is never going to change either.

Our friends on Twitter @birdsonabatshow said it best late last night:

Sometimes in STL, me and other Cardinal fans thought you would adjust your approach at the plate and get two hits, maybe even a walk. But you consistently struck out instead, and that’s not good for anybody.

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There is NOTHING good about this tweet at all. Maybe Grichuk will pull a Wilson Contreras and clarify what he is trying to say, but come on man. This just REEKS of hypocrisy by the former Cardinal outfielder.