Re-reevaluating the most impactful trade John Mozeliak made this past off-season, after sending away a fan favorite in Jon Jay and acquiring Jedd Gyorko.
On June 8th, my friend, and Cardsblog writer, Perry Gordon wrote an article evaluating the Jedd Gyorko/Jon Jay trade from this past winter. When he wrote the article, Gyorko was just another utility man on the St. Louis Cardinals roster and Jay was having a breakout season in his contract year. Perry boldly proclaimed that this trade “was extremely one-sided [for the Padres].”
Oh, how the tides have turned.
About a week after Perry’s article, on June 19th, Jay was hit by 89 MPH fastball and fractured his right forearm. Since that point, he has been sidelined and he likely won’t be able to play until the middle of September. With the Padres (53-74) 18 games back in the NL West, the team is in no rush.
Gyorko? All he has done is look like the NL’s 2nd half MVP. Since the All-Star Game, Gyorko leads the National League with 14 home runs in only 36 games. Though his average is suffering at .258, his power outburst combined with Brandon Moss’ hot bat might be the offensive spark that carries the Cardinals into the postseason.
Gyorko’s recent power surge is a pleasant surprise for the Cardinals. Last year, in his rookie season, he hit a modest 16 home runs in 128 games. That averages out to a home run every 27 at-bats. This season? After last night’s 9th inning home run, Gyorko has hit 21 in 307 at-bats, which averages out to one every 14.6 at-bats (!!!). According to FanGraphs, that is the 5th most frequent rate among all MLB players. Players ahead of Gyorko include typical home run hitters like Mark Trumbo, Moss, and Kris Davis.
When the Cardinals traded for Jedd Gyorko, all they wanted was a utility infielder who could play many positions. With this season being the year of the injuries, Gyorko has done his job and then some. He has played 37 games at 2nd base (due to Kolten Wong’s year long slump), 32 games at 3rd base (due to Peralta and Carpenter’s injuries), 10 games at 1st base (due to Moss and Matt Adam’s injuries), and 7 games at shortstop (due to Aledmys Diaz). Basically, Gyorko has been the duct tape who has filled the leaking holes to keep the Cardinals’ season afloat.
The best part of the Gyorko/Jay trade? Currently, the San Diego Padres are STILL paying for Gyorko’s contract. They had agreed to pay $7.5 million of the remaining $33 million on Gyorko’s contract.
It was as if Gyorko read Perry’s article and decided to flip the trade in the Cardinals fortune. Since that article Jay has played 10 games and Gyorko has been one of the best hitters on the Cardinals roster.
At 27 years old and with the ability to play every position in the infield, Gyorko could potentially be in St. Louis for a long, long time. With the way he has swung the bat this season, Mozeliak would be silly not to factor Gyorko into the Cardinal’s future plans. This trade is definitely one sided. For the Cardinals.
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports