It was painfully obvious that Francisco Cordero’s toe was killing him while he was getting lit up in four of his six appearances for the Astros. Or at least, that’s what the team is going to tell anyone who asks.
Cordero was placed on the disabled list Friday after taking three blown saves and three losses in his first two weeks with his new club. He gave up 11 runs and 13 hits in five innings, making his 5.77 ERA with the Blue Jays look a whole lot better by contrast.
With Cordero out, the Astros have finally decided to close with their best reliever, Wilton Lopez. Lopez appeared to be the obvious choice to close this spring before the decision to move Brett Myers back to the pen resulted in his return to a setup role. Lopez has a 2.52 ERA in 39 1/3 innings to date, putting him on pace to finish under 3.00 for the third straight year.
Right-hander Mickey Storey was called up to replace Cordero in the bullpen.
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.