Grichuk may be the real prize in the David Freese deal

By Corey Noles

When the St. Louis Cardinals traded away hometown boy David Freese to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, few balked at the deal.

Sure, it stinks to see a local boy, just recently on top of the world, struggle and eventually leave town to search for success in a new uniform. It's just part of the game.

The trade that brought in Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk was largely considered a win-win for the Cardinals. While I agree with that statement, it's for a different reason.

Bourjos was considered to be the centerpiece of the deal--a centerfielder who has yet to live up to his potential.

In all reality, Grichuk may have been the real highlight of the trade. Given the recent promotion to the big league club, I thought it would be a good time to share a little background information.

When the Angels drafted Grichuk, they took him with the pick before they selected Mike Trout. Clearly they saw something they liked.

Grichuk has suffered a few injuries in the past (torn ligament, broken wrist and fractured knee cap), but all appear to be things of the past without lingering residual effects.

He has a quality bat capable of hitting for power and for average.

In 2012, Grichuk batted .298/.335/.488 with 18 home runs, 71 RBI and 79 runs scored over 135 games.

In 2013, he earned a promotion to the Angels Double-A squad in Arkansas where he again put up respectable numbers batting .256/.306/.474 with. 22 HR, 64 RBI and 85 runs scored over 128 games. He didn't quite match 2012 in terms of average, but his 2013 start is making up for it.

After only 21 career games playing Triple-A ball with the Memphis Redbirds, Grichuk got the call-up on Monday.

Over the course of those 21 games, he amassed 17 RBI, three home runs and eight doubles. He batted .310/.351/.529--a linescore worthy of the promotion.

The Cardinals hope is that Grichuk will add a needed spark to the offense. While the offense got moving on Sunday, the key is to keep it rolling.

For those questioning why to take Grichuk over Stephen Piscotty and Oscar Taveras the answer is simple: he has experience in center field.

In all likelihood, options and roster slots played less into the decision than the fact that he's a quality defender at the position and the other two are more corner outfielders.

Either way, Grichuk has the talent to succeed at this level.

With that said, when you watch him don't forget that he has virtually skipped Triple-A with only three weeks experience. He may make the jump just fine.

Just be patient. You might find you like what you see more than you expect.

Corey Noles is a Cardinals Writer and Columnist for The Daily Statesman. Contact him at or on Twitter @coreynoles.


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