St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook: Week of January 15-21

photo: Randal Grichuk (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Grichuk dealt to Toronto

On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals announced the trade of outfielder Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays for right handed pitchers Dominic Leone and Conner Greene.

Dominic Leone (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Grichuk was slated to report to Spring Training as the Redbirds’ fourth outfielder, a role to which Grichuk had expressed disappointment having been relegated.  With the acquisition of Marcell Ozuna, the starting outfield appeared to be set with Ozuna joining returnees Tommy Pham and Dexter Fowler.

The Cardinals are still awash in outfielders, with several prospects in the minor leagues, including Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill, knocking on the door for major league playing time.  The Cardinals also retained Jose Martinez, who plays both the corner outfield and first base.  In December, the Cardinals made the first move to start to address the logjam by dealing Stephen Piscotty to Oakland.  The trade of Grichuk likely created a bench spot for one of the youngsters.

Conner Greene (Butch Dill/USA TODAY Sports Images)

Grichuk was acquired by St. Louis in 2014, along with former Cardinal Peter Bourjos, in the trade that sent World Series hero David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels.  Grichuk’s time with the Cardinals was marred by struggles at the plate that required several trips to the minor leagues for the right handed hitter.  Though Grichuk’s power was an asset, his troubles with plate discipline and streakiness remained issues.

Reliever Leone is coming off a strong 2017, helping to address a need following the loss of bullpen arms Trevor Rosenthal, Seung-Hwan Oh, Juan Nicasio, and Zach Duke.  The Cardinals signed free agent Luke Gregerson earlier in the offseason and have proclaimed the right-hander as the new closer.  Greene is a hard thrower who pitched at Double-A last season.

The trade marks the second deal of the offseason with Toronto, as the Cardinals sent shortstop Aledmys Diaz to Toronto last month for minor league outfielder J.B. Woodman.

Molina to retire when contract ends

Veteran catcher Yadier Molina told reporters on Monday that he plans to retire after his three year contract expires in 2020.  Molina enters the first year of his 3 year, $60 million dollar contract in 2018, which marks his 15th season in the major leagues.

Yadier Molina (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Molina does not plan to reduce his workload, though his 35-year old body may have other plans. Molina’s backup, Carson Kelly, is just beginning his major league career after having been slated for some time to be Molina’s heir apparent.  The young backstop was recently named by MLB Pipeline as the No. 2 catching prospect in MLB, behind the Indians’ Francisco Mejia.

Molina enters his final contract having earned eight Gold Gloves, eight All Star appearances, and two World Series rings.  A third World Series ring is Molina’s stated goal before he puts the catching gear away.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Cardinals’ principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said on Monday that the Cardinals will not likely make any more major moves between now and Spring Training.  DeWitt expressed little interest in investing assets in an expensive free agent closer, or in players who would be entering their walk year, such as Josh Donaldson or Manny Machado, however the owner did not entirely close the door on additional moves.


The Cardinals traded OF Randal Grichuk to the Toronto Blue Jays for RHP Dominic Leone and RHP Conner Greene.

Injury Report

There is no injury news to report.

Looking Ahead

January brings arbitration season.  The Cardinals arbitration eligible players were Michael Wacha, Tyler Lyons, Randal Grichuk, and the newly acquired Marcell Ozuna.  The Cardinals have agreed to contract terms with all four players.

Spring Training begins in February.  Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report on February 13, with first workout scheduled on February 14.  Position players are scheduled to report on February 18 with first workout on February 19.  The first Spring Training game will be played on February 23 against the Marlins at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL.  Spring Training information, including the schedule, can be found here.

Blast from the Past

This week’s blast from the past centers on the St. Louis Cardinals team of 1989.  The 1989 season was the 108th season of the franchise, and the 98th in the National League.

The Cardinals ended the 1989 season with a record of 86-76, which put them in third place in the National League East.  The manager was Whitey Herzog, and Dal Maxville was the general manager.  The owner over the prior 36 years, Gussie Busch, passed away on September 29 at the age of 90.

The Opening Day lineup was Vince Coleman (LF), Willie McGee (CF), Terry Pendleton (3B), Pedro Guerrero (1B), Tom Brunansky (RF), Jose Oquendo (SS), Tony Pena (C), Tim Jones (2B), and Joe Magrane (SP).

1989 St. Louis Cardinals

The longest losing streak was six games, from September 9- 15.  The longest winning streak was also six games, from April 26-May 1.  The highest winning margin was three 12-run games; the first was a 15-3 defeat of the Phillies on April 9.  There was also a 12-0 victory over the Dodgers on May 4, and a 14-2 drubbing of the Dodgers on July 6.  The worst loss was a 13-1 defeat at the hands of the Mets on Sept. 7.  Splits that season were 46-35 at home and 40-41 on the road.

The top starting pitcher was Magrane, with a record of 18-9 and an ERA of 2.91.  The best offensive performance was by first baseman Guerrero, who slashed .311/.391/.477, with 17 home runs and 117 RBI.

Coleman was the NL stolen base leader with 65 stolen bases.  Pendleton won the Gold Glove at third base, and Smith was the Gold Glove winner at shortstop.  Guerrero finished third in the NL MVP voting.

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