Third base, the place Jedd Gyorko usually patrols, was considered by most people to be one of the biggest needs for the St. Louis Cardinals this offseason. With Goldschmidt rearranging the lineup, where does this leave Gyorko?
As my fellow writer Russ Robinson detailed in his piece, Matt Carpenter will most likely end up as the starting third baseman for the 2019 St. Louis Cardinals, so Jedd Gyorko suddenly finds himself without a clear role.
He is a solid hitter, but his WAR dropped below 2 and his OPS finished under .800 for the first time with the St. Louis Cardinals.
At 29 years old, this isn’t a huge red flag, but enough to raise eyebrows. Even though he is expensive on the surface in 2019, the fact that San Diego Padres are paying 5 of the $13 million he is owed definitely lightens the load.
He has a team option for 2020 with a $1 million buy out, which is even more valuable than an expiring contract. With the option to keep Gyorko if performs, a team who would start Gyorko would find this far more valuable and the price potentially far more worth it than the Cardinals can.
However, a big part of this lies in the glove of Munoz. He was, simply put, atrocious on defense this past season, and if he doesn’t show any improvements, it would be nice to keep Gyorko as backup who is at least serviceable defensively at second, third, and short.
Many people, including several of my fellow writers, are optimistic on Munoz’s defense, Assuming that happens, Gyorko would serve as an interesting trade piece. He is an interesting breed as a utility player with decent pop, and his ability to fit into a variety of teams will certainly garner some suitors.
Under the assumption that Munoz is at least playable at more than just third base this season, Gyorko’s flexibility and team friendly contract situation might get you more value than one would expect based on his numbers.