On April 3, Stephen Piscotty and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed on a six year contract extension that guaranteed the rightfielder 30 million dollars.
Wednesday night, the Cardinals traded Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics for two minor leaguers.
That is how fast things can change in sports. One moment, you could be a 25 year old coming off a 2.9 WAR season. The next year, you're riding the bench while young guys like Harrison Bader play the field.
When I remember the Piscotty era, I'll remember a guy who amassed 86 extra base hits in his first 216 games. After making a swing adjustment prior to the 2015 season, Piscotty made the big club in July, and wasted zero time garnering the spotlight. He hit .305 in those 63 games, and fared the best in the short-lived playoff run against the Cubs.
In 2016, Piscotty didn't disappoint in his first full season. He smashed 22 home runs, maintained a healthy slash line that topped out at .800, and earned himself an extension before the 2017 season could even unfold. It was a premature promise delivered by a team that had become too quick to hand out extensions.
After all, Piscotty closed 2016 with a .247 average in the second half. 2017 didn't start any better. hitting .229 in April and finishing with a .222 mark in September and October.
The power left Piscotty's bat, and he was easily overpowered by 90 mph fastballs. It wasn't exactly an Allen Craig like descent, but rough enough to earn him a trip back to Memphis.
A midseason jolt in Piscotty's personal life didn't help matters. On June 1, Piscotty walked back into the Cardinals clubhouse and told the media his mom had ALS (. I remember it well because I had made a snide remark on Twitter about his need to soul-search and find his swing again. The revelation was that the Piscotty family was in for the fight of their life.
June did reveal a return to prominence for Piscotty, as he compiled an .829 OPS and hit four home runs in 28 games. He would hit just three home runs the rest of the season, putting up an OPS that didn't climb over .700.
Oakland was the best possible spot for Piscotty, who will now be closer to his mom as she fights a terrible disease. I have a feeling the Cardinals tried extra hard to get this deal finalized. Sure, A's fans won't get too excited about a guy who lost his swing, but there is a chance for a comeback out West.
General Manager Billy Beane will get him cheap, too, with Piscotty set to earn 1.3 million dollars in 2018 before his extension kicks in. The A's can see what they have before his salary jumps to seven million dollars annually.
It won't be easy. The Coliseum is known for swallowing up bats and spitting them out, so Piscotty will have a hard time rediscovering the power he once had. However, if he starts using the entire field again, there's a second phase out there for him.
I'll remember Piscotty colliding with Peter Bourjos in San Francisco, causing jaws to drop and hearts to skip a beat.
I'll remember smoking home runs off the Cubs in the playoffs.
I'll remember the rare moments where he showed emotion.
I'll remember the profanity that sprung from his mouth after a call didn't go his way at the plate.
The man had a quiet dignity about him that commanded respect.
Now it's time to say goodbye and step away. Stephen Piscotty is heading west. Whether he finds his swing or not, I hope he finds a sense of peace.