Toronto acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday for reliever Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
“I think he’ll have the best chance of our group to take that position over for us in right field,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told reporters. “The fact that we have options and we’ll have some balance in today’s game, asking someone to get 700 plate appearances is a lot. There’s very few players that are doing it day in and day out. So where that number ends up, we’ll see, but I think he’ll have the best chance at the outset to be that regular for us.”
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The 26-year-old Grichuk appeared in 122 games for St. Louis in 2017, batting .238, with 22 home runs, 59 runs batted in and an on-base plus slugging percentage of .758.
Grichuk has played 57 games in left field, 55 in right and five in centre. He has a career batting average of .249, with 66 homers and 182 RBI’s in four seasons with the Cardinals.
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.
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.
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