John Mozeliak made an interesting move this past offseason in acquiring Jedd Gyorko. Has it paid off thus far?
This past offseason, the Cardinals traded outfielder Jon Jay to the San Diego Padres for utility infielder Jedd Gyorko. Gyorko is owed $33 million through the 2019 season, of which the Padres will pay $7.5 million.
At the time that this trade was made, it did not seem like the worst trade of the offseason. Cardinals fans knew Gyorko still has tons of potential. The 27 year old had a tremendous rookie campaign and has shown signs of regaining that form. Many thought that Gyorko would benefit by being on a winning team for the first time in his career.
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) June 5, 2016
Jon Jay was coming off a historically bad 2015 season when he lost his starting job to a rookie in Tommy Pham. Jay hit .210 with only seven extra base hits. On the other hand, Jay is a proven veteran who can play all three outfield positions. He can pinch run in late game situations and, most importantly, he only had one more year left on his deal worth almost $7 million.
Both players have the ability to become above average players but the biggest difference is the risk that each player holds. Jay is a very low risk player with only one year left on his deal, it is easy to designate for assignment and pay the rest of his contract. On the other hand, Gyorko is very high risk. If he does not play well, the Cardinals are stuck with him and his contract through the 2019 season.
Now that we are well on our way into the 2016 season, we can properly evaluate the impact of this trade. Gyorko had a huge opportunity early in the season to prove that he is the player that everyone expected him to be. With the injury to Jhonny Peralta, Gyorko was first in line to take over the starting shortstop role.
Almost immediately, Gyorko showed that he is the same player as he was in San Diego. He did not hit nor field and the responsibilities were given to rookie of the year candidate, Aledmys Diaz. On the season, Gyorko has hit .250 in 40 games but sees very little time and is one of manager Mike Matheny’s last options off the bench.
On the other hand, Jay has been having a career year in San Diego. Jay is hitting .296 on the season and is leading the National League with 19 doubles. Jay has had more extra base hits already this season than he had all last season. Unlike Gyorko, Jay is in a contract year and has shown consistent effort this season partly because of the important offseason that is looming.
So far, this trade has been extremely one sided. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they are stuck with Gyorko for many years to come and are hoping he can turn his play around sooner rather than later.