UPDATE: ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian is now reporting that the chances of Storen/Span deal less than 50-50 and that the Nationals may pivot to B.J. Upton in their search for a center fielder. Are the Nats really that afraid to give up Drew Storen? Seems kind of nutso to me, but then again, I just work here.
9:17 AM: When last we heard of the Denard Span-to-the-Nationals negotiations, it appeared as though the hangup was that the Twins wanted Proven Closer Drew Storen, whereas the Nationals were more inclined to included Proven Setup Man Tyler Clippard.
That has changed, however, as Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Nats have agreed to give up Storen, and that the hangup on the trade right now is the other player or players the Nats would include in the deal. Perchance the Twins realized that Roger Bernadina is no good. Hard to say.
Whatever the case, this makes it appear that the second annual “Nationals trade the Twins a relief pitcher for a promising player at a key defensive position” deal is on track.
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.