Dear lord, do I love Ozzie Guillen. If, for no other reason, than because he says what everyone else thinks but which no one in an official position besides him ever, ever says. Things like this, which Brent Ballantini of CSN Chicago reports Guillen said about White Sox reliever Will Ohman, who has had a rough go of it in the season’s first week:
“He’s here—I have to use him. We’ve got only 11 pitchers. I don’t have the luxury to [matchup Ohman to lefties]. Maybe later on I will. But he’s got to get his head out of his ass … We need him pitching. If he’s not going to help us, we’ll put people in his place that will …”
This wasn’t a rant. Guillen was supportive of Ohman and said he wants him to do well. But he’s not going to sugar coat it either. That’s the thing about honesty: it can hurt when someone tells you, you know, that you gotta get your head out of your ass. But it can also be comforting in that at least you know where you stand and you can trust that the good that comes with the bad — the part about Guillen wanting Ohman around — is genuine too.
Yeah, it’s rough. But as anyone who has ever worked someplace where they give you nothing but praise and disingenuous smiles only to kick you out the door later can tell you, the blunt stuff is rather refreshing.
The Blue Jays announced on Friday that the club acquired outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Dominic Leone and minor league pitcher Conner Greene.
Grichuk, 26, became expendable when the Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the Marlins. With veteran Dexter Fowler in right field and Tommy Pham — who finished 11th in NL MVP Award balloting last season — in center, Grichuk was effectively pushed to the bench. He will get a shot at regular playing time in an outfield corner with the Jays. Grichuk has had solid numbers since debuting in 2014, but he hasn’t been able to recapture the magic of his 2015 campaign. Last year, he hit .238/.285/.473 with 22 home runs and 59 RBI in 442 plate appearances.
Grichuk will earn $2.8 million this season and will be eligible for arbitration for two more years before becoming a free agent.
Leone, 26, posted an impressive 2.56 ERA with an 81/23 K/BB ratio across 70 1/3 innings last season. The right-hander will earn $1.085 million this season and then will become arbitration-eligible for the next three years. Leone certainly helps bolster the Cardinals’ bullpen and may work his way up to high-leverage innings behind closer Luke Gregerson.
Greene, 22, was selected by the Blue Jays in the seventh round of the 2013 draft. This past season, with Double-A New Hampshire, Greene compiled a 5.29 ERA with a 92/83 K/BB ratio in 132 2/3 innings. He throws hard, but control has been a big issue for the right-hander throughout his minor league career. The Cardinals may think they can help turn him around.