Outfielder Randal Grichuk ended not only his 2017 season but possibly his Cardinals career with a solo home run on Sunday, writes Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The Cards have an oft-discussed glut of outfielders with Grichuk, Dexter Fowler, Stephen Piscotty, Tommy Pham, Harrison Bader and Magneuris Sierra all on the big league roster, plus prospect Tyler O’Neill in Triple-A Memphis. St. Louis will look to reduce its redundancies on the roster this winter, and Goold points out that the arbitration-eligible Grichuk carries a similar profile to the powerful-but-strikeout-prone O’Neill. Controllable through 2020, the 26-year-old Grichuk brings significant power (career .239 ISO) and a center-field-capable glove to the table but has also continually struggled to make contact. Through 1386 MLB plate appearances, Grichuk has a 29.9 percent strikeout rate. In 442 PAs in 2017, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 long balls and a 30.1 percent strikeout rate.
More out of St. Louis…
- Right-hander Sam Tuivailala will be out of options in 2018, and his strong finish to the season looks to have earned him a spot in next year’s bullpen, writes Rick Hummel of the Post-Dispatch. “He’s continued to move his way up in how we viewed him,” said manager Mike Matheny. The 24-year-old Tuivailala was optioned to the minors on three different occasions in 2017, his final option year, but wound up totaling 42 1/3 innings with a 2.55 ERA, 7.2 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, a 48.8 percent ground-ball rate and a strong 23.4 percent weak-contact rate. President of baseball ops John Mozeliak tells Hummel that he’s long been excited about “Tui,” but the righty simply hasn’t had consistent opportunities until late in the year. “I think he finished strong, and I think he helped himself,” said Mozeliak.
- While the Cardinals’ bullpen gets much of the blame for the team missing the postseason, Bernie Miklasz of ESPN 101 points out that St. Louis relievers ranked well in both ERA and Win Probability Added — even late in the year after the loss of Trevor Rosenthal. However, the starting rotation faltered significantly, Miklasz writes, failing to make it to the fifth inning in six of the team’s final 13 games and posting an ERA just shy of 5.00 over the Cardinals’ final 42 games of the year. While there’s undoubtedly work to be done in the ’pen this winter, the rotation indeed looks like an area in need of reinforcements as well. Lance Lynn is set to hit the open market, and Adam Wainwright is undergoing arthroscopic elbow surgery tomorrow — further creating uncertainty on the starting staff.