Several hours after agreeing to a trade which will bring Miami Marlins outfielder Marcell Ozuna to St. Louis, the Cardinals agreed to a trade which will send outfielder Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics, as first reported by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. In exchange, the Cardinals will receive two not-yet-reported prospects.
Ed. Update: Jane Lee is reporting the deal is now done and the Cardinals will receive Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock. Those two prospects were first mentioned by Susan Slusser. Schrock has long been a favorite of Carson Cistulli at FanGraphs. He’s a second baseman who walks nearly as often as he strikes out, and he doesn’t strike out much. He doesn’t have a ton of power, but his high BABIP indicates strong contact ability. Yairo Munoz is a third baseman with a strong arm, who has struggled initially at Double-A in 2016 before finding success there last season, and then proceeding to struggle on his promotion to Triple-A. -CE
Piscotty, a former first-round pick who received Rookie of the Year votes in 2015 and was the starting right fielder for the 2016 team, struggled at the plate in 2017, with just nine home runs and a .235 batting average. Before the 2017 season, Piscotty signed a six-year, $33.5 million extension with the Cardinals.
With Ozuna slotted to a starting outfield spot, and with Randal Grichuk and Jose Martinez still on the roster, it was inevitable that the Cardinals would part with at least one of their outfielders, and this particular trade appears to be partially for the personal benefit of Stephen Piscotty himself. Piscotty took a personal leave during the 2017 season to tend to his mother, Gretchen, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Oakland is about a thirty minute drive from his hometown of Pleasanton, CA.
Stephen Piscotty fit every criteria that Cardinals fans demand of their favorite players—he was a solid player who made every effort to help the team (including occasionally playing in unnatural defensive positions such as center field or first base), he wore his heart on his sleeve (hot mics of him yelling four-letter words following strikeouts became a bit of a meme on Cardinals Twitter), and he appeared to really want to be there. As a fan of his, I might sleep in my Stephen Piscotty shirsey as a matter of principle tonight.
And yet, to editorialize in a way that is probably well beyond what I’m supposed to write on a news piece, I’m glad that he will get a second chance close to home. As a Cardinals fan, I hope the prospects turn out great. As a Stephen Piscotty fan, I don’t particularly care what the return is; I truly believe this move will be the best for his life and for his career.