Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)
Tuesday was a busy day for the Blue Jays to say the least.
They started off the day by shipping off Kevin Pillar to San Francisco in exchange for infielder, Alen Hanson, relief pitcher, Derek Law, and pitching prospect, Juan De Paula. This was the biggest news of the day and a lot of people gave their take on it. Personally, I like the deal, since the Jays were able to get 3 pieces back for a player who is declining in basically all areas of his game right now. I’ll miss Pillar as a Blue Jay, but I’m happy with the return that the team got back for him.
In addition to that, the team announced Tuesday that they’d signed Randal Grichuk to a 5 year, $52 million contract extension. The extension will take Grichuk into his age 31 season (he’s 27 right now).
Grichuk backed up his new contract with a great day at the plate in Tuesday’s game. He went 3 for 4 with 2 home runs and a double in the Blue Jays’ 5-3 win over Baltimore. He’s had a slow start to the season, so hopefully that jump starts him into a good couple of weeks here.
That game sort of encapsulated Grichuk career to this point. He’s a big hit-or-miss guy, meaning he has the potential to hit the ball as far as anyone in the league, but also strikes out quite a bit. He’s played 4 full seasons in the big leagues so far (3 with the Cardinals, 1 with the Blue Jays), and over that span, he’s averaged 22 home runs per season, 59 RBIs, and 127 strikeouts. It’s also worth noting that his strikeouts have gone down in each of the past 2 seasons, which is a good sign for the Blue Jays.
By giving him a 5-year deal, the Jays are banking on breaking out and surpassing some of his previous totals. They’d probably like to see him move up from a 20-25 homer, 60-65 RBI guy, to a 30 homer, 75-80 RBI guy. And I think that if he continues to hit this high in the order, those numbers are realistic. Grichuk’s batting average and on-base percentage are never going to blow anyone away. But if he can hit for power and provide some above-average defense in centre field, I still see him as an upgrade to Kevin Pillar, considering how little power Pillar brought to the lineup.
Another important thing to recognize here is that the Blue Jays have very little money committed to their players past this year. Grichuk’s extension puts him with only Lourdes Gurriel as players on the Jays' to have a long-term contract. They’ve got very little money committed to the team right now, so even if this is a slight over-payment, I don’t see it as being a big issue.
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