TORONTO – Randal Grichuk is the latest piece added to the Toronto Blue Jays outfield mix, the slugger acquired Friday from the St. Louis Cardinals for reliever Dominic Leone and prospect Conner Greene.
The 26-year-old right-handed batter slashed .238/.285/.473 last season, with 22 home runs and 25 doubles in 442 plate appearances, but walked only 26 times versus 133 strikeouts.
A good defender who has played 162 of his 346 big-league games in centre field, Grichuk joins a group of outfielders that includes Kevin Pillar, Ezequiel Carrera, Steve Pearce and Curtis Granderson, who reached agreement on a $5-million, one-year deal with the club earlier this week pending a physical.
He’s due to earn $2.6 million this year and is said to be very excited about the move north.
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The Blue Jays now have between $148 and $148.9 million in guarantees this season – depending on how an arbitrator rules in the club’s cases versus Marcus Stroman and Roberto Osuna – leaving them an estimated $13 million to work with on a payroll of $165 million.
Losing Leone, due to earn $1,085,000 in 2018 after posting a 2.56 ERA in 70.1 innings over 65 games, removes a known element from the Blue Jays bullpen and his departure suggests there might be another relief add to come.
On Thursday the Blue Jays reached agreement on a minor-league deal with Al Alburquerque, but they’ll surely want to build out further set-up depth than that behind closer Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera and Danny Barnes.
Greene is an intriguing prospect who struggled with both command and an ability to harness his triple-digit velocity. At double-A New Hampshire last year, he posted a 5.29 ERA in 132.2 innings with 83 walks and 92 strikeouts.