The off-season trades of Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk had a positive impact on the St. Louis Cardinals. They were intended to relieve the congestion in the outfield, strengthen the bullpen, and provide additional depth to the minor league system.
Relieve the congestion in the Cardinal outfield
The trades of Piscotty and Grichuk, has allowed the Cardinals to play Tommy Pham everyday and allow him to hit in the two spot in the lineup. Pham has produced by having a slash line of .318/.444/.455 going into this week’s series with the Mets and Pirates. His .444 OBP is highest among the everyday players and his .899 OPS only trails Jose Martinez and Yadier Molina.
Instead of being assigned to AAA Memphis, if Piscotty and Grichuk were still with the club, Harrison Bader has had an extended tryout as the Cardinals fourth outfielder. Thus far, he hasn’t disappointed the Cardinals with a slash line of .300/.432/.400 in 14 games.
It has also allowed the Cardinals to promote outfield prospect Tyler O’Neil on April 19, when the club decided it could make do with a seven man bullpen. O’Neil had a scorching hot start in Memphis with a .388 BA, 6 HR and 18 RBI in 12 games. Although, O’Neil has yet to record a hit, with the struggles of Dexter Fowler, more playing time is expected.
Strengthen the Bullpen
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Dominic Leone was added to the Cardinals bullpen after an impressive spring training. Although he had a couple of tough early outings, Leone hasn’t allowed a run in his last 2.1 innings of work. As a matter of fact in his last 5.2 innings, he has seven strikeouts and no walks.
Conner Greene has been assigned to AA Springfield and in 13 innings has a 2.63 ERA with 13 strikeouts. Greene is currently rated the number 23 prospect in the Cardinal minor league system.
Added Depth to the minor league system
The trade of Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics brought minor league infield prospects, Yario Munoz and Max Schrock, to the Cardinals minor league system.
Munoz played in 11 games with the Cardinals at the beginning of the season before being sent to Memphis, while Schrock has started the season in Memphis.
Munoz seemed uncomfortable at the plate and on the field during his brief tenure with the Cardinals. However, since his demotion to Memphis he has a .318 BA and a .855 OPS. Munoz’s ability to play four infield positions, makes Munoz’s return to the major league club likely if there is an injury.
Max Schrock had a quality Spring Training and has been impressive at AAA Memphis. In 17 games he has a .375 BA with a .888 OPS, while playing primarily at 2nd base. Although Schrock is not on the 40 man roster, a trade during the season could change that and fans could see him during the season.
The St, Louis Cardinals have not missed Stephen Piscotty or Randal Grichuk this season. Although Piscotty has played well in Oakland, his slash line of .271/.340/.376 doesn’t compare to Pham’s. However, Piscotty’s numbers are currently better than Dexter Fowler’s and Marcell Ozuna‘s. I don’t expect Ozuna’s current slump to last much longer, and Fowler could be replaced by the surging Harrison Bader.
Certainly, a case could be made that the Cardinals turned loose of Stephen Piscotty too soon. However, that’s not the case for Randal Grichuk. His .086 BA has earned him a spot on the Toronto bench. Without any options left for Grichuk to take a trip to the minors to straighten out his swing, Grichuk’s Blue Jay future is in doubt.
The trades of Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuk have positively impacted the St. Louis Cardinals this season. However, this is just one opinion. Let us know yours. Thanks for reading.