On Friday, the St. Louis Cardinals acquired outfielders Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk from the Los Angeles Angels for David Freese and Fernando Salas. There already have been some great articles breaking down the impact of the trade. Joe Schwarz of StlCupofJoe.comhad this great breakdown of Grichuk and Bill Ivie at I-70 Baseball examines what this trade does for the shortstop search. I am going to give you five minor league prospects that are affected by this trade.
Taveras was slated for either right field or center field in 2014, and the timing was tricky. With the loss of Carlos Beltran, would the Cards want to push him and have him ready for opening day? Also, how would he be able to compete in center field? luckily, those questions can be tabled for a while as Bourjos will anchor center field, allowing Allen Craig to play right field and Matt Adams to start the season at first. John Mozeliak echoed these sentiments in a press conferences on Friday. This trade allows Taveras to ease into right field and not have to worry about being a full-time center fielder in 2014.
Piscotty’s breakout party came during the 2013 Arizona Fall League season, which showed Cardinal fans he will be ready for the major leagues very quickly, most likely in 2014. The Bourjos/Grichuk trade muddies Piscotty’s future somewhat. With Taveras’ immediate future most likely in right field, where does that put Piscotty? With his developing glove and a strong arm, right is the best spot for him. The Cards will have some tough choices to make very soon. Does the trade make Piscotty more expendable? The Cardinals have many too many options in the outfield, which is a good problem to have.
I believe this trade affects Ramsey more than any other player on this list. For me, Ramsey was slated as the future center fielder for the Cardinals. Like Piscotty, a solid Arizona Fall League showed that the Florida State product was pretty close to breaking through. Ramsey and the newly acquired Grichuk are about on the same level of prospect status in my eyes. Grichuk has the better bat while Ramsey is better defensively. You have to wonder if Ramsey could now be part of a package for a shortstop?
Presumably, Peter Bourjos will be the everyday center fielder on this team that was lacking a quality glove in that spot in 2013. While he is a big upgrade defensively over Robinson and Jay, I am not so sure he is much better at the plate. A career .306 on base percentage is rough, thus he will probably be hitting out of the 8 spot in the lineup. Its hard to imagine both Jay and Robinson staying on the roster for the majority of 2014, so who would I take? I would take the platoon advantage of having Jay on the bench and available for a spot start here and there.
While both of these guys were probably not ticketed for a starting spot in St. Louis, they could be in line for a future bench spot. I think this trade hurts Pham more than it hurts O’Neill. Early indications say that Pham and Bourjos have very similar traits both offensively and defensively. I could see O’Neill getting time on the roster late in the season due to his ability to reach base. I don’t, however, believe that either would be good trade material due to Pham’s injury and O’Neill seemingly only having one tool.
Where does Grichuk fit in the Cards top prospect list?
This is a question I have received a lot today, and for me he is around 8-12. I think he is the third best outfield prospect in the organization behind Taveras and Piscotty with Ramsey really close to him. With him lost likely advancing to Memphis, there will be a crowded outfield in Auto Zone Park as Grichuk, Piscotty, Ramsey, Pham, Taveras, and O’Neill will all be battling for outfield playing time. That is, assuming there are no more moves made…
- Cardinals Make a Great Move; Freese Traded (turnerstwist.com)
- Cardinal Nation, Meet Randal Grichuk (stlcupofjoe.com)
- Angels trade Peter Bourjos, Randal Grichuk to Cardinals for David Freese, Fernando Salas (minorleagueball.com)