Although the Cardinals have allowed two former players to land in the hands of a division rival, the team has made some good moves that may have gone unnoticed.
First, the team signed FA catcher/first baseman Brayan Pena to a two year, $5m contract. I think this was a smart move by General Manager John Mozeliak. Pena provides little power, but will serve as the primary backup to four-time Platinum Glove winner Yadier Molina. The other upside to Pena is he can fill in at first base if needed. I think the $2.5m per year will be worth it in the end.
The second move, which may have been more noticeable to fans, was the trade that sent fan favorite Jon Jay to the San Diego Padres for Jedd Gyorko. A lot of people thought this was a head scratcher, but those are people who like Kolten Wong. Wong isn’t a vacuum glove, and last year he committed 17 errors. I think Gyorko will be a great addition to the team, especially defensively. Last year Gyorko was sent down to AAA to readjust a bit, but then played strong after being recalled to the majors.
A lot of people are sad to see Jon Jay go, and understandably so. However, in past years he’s just looked a little lost to me at the plate. He’s also had a nagging wrist injury which is never good for a hitter. I think a change of scenery and a chance to play everyday heading into his free agency year, which is something the Cardinals couldn’t give him. One thing nobody can deny is Jay gave his best effort each day he played wearing a Cardinals uniform, and he really made some jaw dropping catches in centerfield.
The last move was one that saw the team bring back a somewhat familiar face. The Cardinals picked up relief pitcher Jonathan Broxton in August from the Milwaukee Brewers via trade. On Thursday, the team re-signed him to a two year, $7.5m deal. Broxton posted a 2.66 ERA and struck out 26 with the Cardinals in 26 appearances. I think re-signing Broxton was a smart move to anchor a spot in the bullpen behind closer Trevor Rosenthal.
Check back here for more updates regarding the Cardinals offseason.