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Randal Grichuk, the St. Louis Cardinals' David Freese trade throw-in, is worth a second look

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He's not just a great name.

He's happier about it than he looks, I'm sure.
He's happier about it than he looks, I'm sure.
USA TODAY Sports

How you judge the St. Louis Cardinals’ decision to trade David Freese for Peter Bourjos out of the Angels’ absurdly fast center fielder surplus probably has nothing to do with Randal Grichuk. If you are an Imo’s-fearing St. Louisan there’s nothing Bourjos can do to win you over until the season starts; if you’re a VEB reader odds are reasonably good that you already have a bunch of highlight videos bookmarked.

Nevertheless, the Cardinals did get Randal Grichuk in the trade, and whether you’re for it or against it he will help you make the case. He’s a good guy like that.

Trade Haters: Randal Grichuk has awful plate discipline. Lots of strikeouts, no walks, and this is a recurring theme—he’s been this way since the Angels drafted him back in aught-nine.

Meanwhile, he’s not quite a center fielder, and his power numbers are good but not yet strikingly good.

Trade fans: The Angels have a very weak farm system, but Grichuk was one of the better players in it. He’s got a lot in common with his new farm system—he spent all of his age–21 season in AA, where he was good enough to compete but not dominate.

There’s actually not a lot of room left for the Cardinals to promote him aggressively, which has to make John Mozeliak a little sad. But he’s got clear skills: He’s an above-average right fielder, if not a center fielder, and his power production has been formidable given his age and competition.

He’s not Stephen Piscotty, but he’s another bat on the assembly line that produced Allen Craig and Matt Adams. And since his opposite number is Fernando Salas, for whom the Cardinals had absolutely no plans, it’s free value on top of a trade that already looks pretty good.

Everybody: But he doesn’t play shortstop.