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Today in Blue Jays history: Randal Grichuk traded from St. Louis to Toronto

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Photo credit:Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
Evan Stack
4 months ago
It’s another day where we highlight a Blue Jays trade, and, you guessed it, it was with the St. Louis Cardinals.
On January 19, 2018, the Blue Jays traded for a mainstay for their middle of the order during the rebuilding years. That man was Randal Grichuk.
Grichuk was acquired from the Cardinals in exchange for relief pitcher Dominic Leone and prospect Conner Greene. Grichuk, who was selected one pick ahead of Mike Trout in the 2009 MLB draft, was caught in a numbers game with outfielders in St. Louis. Furthermore, a little over a month prior to the deal, the Cardinals had acquired OF Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins, providing some more writing on the wall for other St. Louis outfielders. They would wind up trading Stephen Piscotty and Grichuk before the next season to help with that situation.
The Blue Jays didn’t necessarily have holes in their outfield; Curtis Granderson, Kevin Pillar, and Steve Pearce were slated to compete for outfield time ahead of the 2018 campaign. However, Jose Bautista had just wrapped up his Blue Jays tenure, and there was room for another outfield power bat on a team still looking to compete.
With that being said, a former first-round pick like Grichuk and his power had some teams attracted, and the Blue Jays were looking to capitalize. Across his four seasons in St. Louis, Grichuk slashed .249/.297/.488 with a .785 OPS, 66 homers, and 182 RBIs.
As far as what Toronto gave up, Leone was coming off one of the best seasons of his young career, posting a 2.56 ERA and a 10.4 K/9 across 68 outings. Greene was coming off a rough 2017 in AA New Hampshire, but before then, he had posted three consecutive seasons with an ERA in the 3.00s across multiple levels of Toronto’s minor league system.
Grichuk was with the Blue Jays from 2018 through the end of the 2021 season. He led or tied the team lead in home runs twice, and was in the top 5 in home runs in all four seasons. He became a pain in the side of multiple AL East squads; his 2019 numbers against the Orioles (1.119 OPS, 7 homers, 15 RBIs in 13 games) and the Yankees (.938 OPS, 8 homers, 15 RBIs in 19 games) were exemplary, and his career numbers against those opponents are still really good to this day.
He finished off his career in Toronto with a .243/.289/.461 slash line with a .751 OPS, 90 home runs, and 257 RBIs.
Those highs were certainly combatted by some lows, such as a 24% strikeout rate during his time in Toronto. However, the Blue Jays ultimately won this trade with the Cardinals. Leone posted a 5.15 ERA over two seasons with the Cardinals before being DFA’d at the end of the 2019 season, and Greene was DFA’d in November of 2018 and has bounced around a few organizations since then.
The Blue Jays actually signed Grichuk to a 5-year, $52 million contract extension at the beginning of the 2019 season, but he didn’t finish the contract with the Jays. He was traded during 2022 Spring Training to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Ramiel Tapia and prospect Adrian Pinto.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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