On Friday afternoon, the Toronto Blue Jays and St. Louis Cardinals confirmed reports of a trade that sends outfielder Randal Grichuk to Canada in exchange for right-handed pitchers Dominic Leone and Conner Greene.
Grichuk is the headliner in the transaction, formerly the 24th overall pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft. The 26-year-old notched 22 home runs in 122 games in 2017, batting .238 and playing all three outfield spots for the Cardinals.
The 26-year-old Leone appeared in 65 games for the Blue Jays in 2017, compiling 70.1 innings and striking out 80 on his way to a 3-0 record. Leone, formerly with the Seattle Mariners and Arizona Diamondbacks, yielded 20 earned runs and 23 walks last season, garnering 2.2 WAR and a 2.56 ERA.
Conner Greene is a 22-year-old pitching prospect who struggled mightily in 2017, tossing a 5.29 ERA that resulted in a 5-10 record with Double-A New Hampshire. Greene allowed 141 hits in 132.2 innings, totaling a WHIP of 1.688.
These two teams are not unfamiliar trade partners, after the Jays and Cards swapped minor-leaguer J.B. Woodman for former All-Star Aledmys Diaz in early December. Similar to the Diaz trade, this was made out of necessity for each club.
Grichuk is far too skilled to be a bench player, a role he would have had to fill with St. Louis to comply with the previous acquisition of Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner Marcell Ozuna from the Miami Marlins. In addition to Ozuna, the long-term outfield anchors Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham will slot into the Cardinals starting three.
Whereas with the Blue Jays, Grichuk joins skilled prospect Teoscar Hernandez (acquired via Houston for Francisco Liriano) and defensive wonder Kevin Pillar in a highly-athletic outfield defense with serviceable hitting. Mix in veterans Curtis Granderson and Ezequiel Carrera to the outfield turf at Rogers Centre and a very formidable depth chart is established.
All things considered, the attainment of Grichuk continues a relatively busy offseason for the only team north of the U.S. border. In addition to the outfield depth gained over the offseason, Toronto added Yangervis Solarte from the San Diego Padres to further solidify a quality infield.
From a St. Louis perspective, Leone helps bolster a bullpen with Luke Gregerson added over the offseason and names like Brett Cecil headlining the bunch. Leone has setup-man potential as Gregerson looks to line up as the closer, and could be a spot-up, high-leverage bullpen arm for the Cardinals in 2018 and beyond.