By: Jim Tsapelas
Since the early tease where the Cardinals made a legitimate play for hurler David Price, General Manager John Mozeliak has been his usually quiet self during this off-season. Earlier Mozeliak traded back-up catcher Tony Cruz to the Kansas City Royals and picked up Brayan Pena from the Cincinnati Reds via free agency; but since then the Redbirds did not appear to be too invested nor too involved in the Winter Meetings.
Tuesday, Jon Jay was traded to the San Diego Padres for utility infielder Jedd Gyorko. I am an unbiased baseball writer, however, I unapologetically have gone on record previously to state I like Jon Jay. If you get close enough to your monitor, and put your ear close to your screen, you may be able to hear me murmuring under my breath about losing Jay.
I have followed Jay during his minor and major league career. Jay has demonstrated his skill and ability at the major league level. He was drafted in the second round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. Jay made his MLB debut with the Cardinals on April 26, 2010; he has a lifetime batting average of .287.
The Cardinal organization is the only professional organization Jay has known. Last season, due in part to injury, Jay appeared in seventy-nine games and batted .210.
I for one shall miss Jon Jay, and wish him a bright future with the Padres.
During his MLB career, Jedd Gyorko’s defensive positions have been second and third base; he has also had limited exposure at the shortstop position. With Kolten Wong and the productive Matt Carpenter already entrenched in those positions, I am somewhat curios as to Mozaliek’s thinking in singing Gyorko. There is a possibility Gyorko may be platoon player with the left-handed hitting Wong. At times last season, Wong had a fair share of difficulties and struggled defensively at second.
As I have written earlier, the Cardinals needed to sign an infielder who could spot Jhonny Peralta in particular and the other infield positions in general. In my opinion, Gyorko does not fill that need.
At the time of this story’s publication there were conflicting reports on the money involved in this transaction. Dennis Linn of the San Diego Union-Tribune Tweeted $7.5 million dollars will come to St. Louis from San Diego as a part of this trade. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports put the amount at $7 million. Scott Miller of Bleacher Report puts the number at $6.5 million.
Gyorko is owed $33 million under the salary clause of a 2014 extension. That amount covers four years of salary as well as a $1 million dollar buyout on a $13 million dollar club option for 2020.
I would certainly hope it is not Mozeliaks’s intention to shop Carpenter or Wong in the Winter Meetings; using one or both as trade bait. Regardless, Gyorko’s salary makes him a fairly costly utility player.
I continue my belief the Cardinals need to make a genuine effort to sign Jason Heyward. Mozeliak may also be shopping for a second tier starter, especially following his earlier Tweet in which he mentioned being able to start the season with Marco Gonzales, Tyler Lyons, or Tim Cooney.
Cardinal Nation got excited about the David Price news. Since then it has been Mozeliak as usual at the Winter Meetings.
Thanks for Reading!