Blue Jays trade Randal Grichuk to Rockies for Raimel Tapia, prospect Adrian Pinto
DUNEDIN, Fla. – Centre-fielder Randal Grichuk was traded Thursday by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Colorado Rockies.
Toronto got left-fielder Raimel Tapia and infield prospect Adrian Pinto in return, the Blue Jays have confirmed. Cash considerations of US$9.7 million were also sent to Colorado by Toronto.
“Tapia is exciting. He’s extremely talented,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins told reporters at the team’s spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla. “There’s a lot of tools, a lot to like about how he complements us is the contact ability, the defensive ability, the run tool.”
Grichuk became expendable with George Springer beginning the season healthy and the Blue Jays’ presumptive starter in centre. Springer injured his quadriceps at spring training last year and missed the first 23 games of Toronto’s season.
Teoscar Hernández and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. will bracket Springer in the outfield.
Tapia, who can play in left or centre field, also adds some flexibility and a different skill set to the Blue Jays lineup.
The right-handed Grichuk hit .241 last season with 22 home runs, 81 runs batted in, and a .703 OPS. Tapia, a lefty, had a .273 batting average with six home runs, 50 RBIs and 20 stolen bases last season with a .699 OPS.
“It’s just a better complementary piece,” said Atkins. “Randal Grichuk is a great baseball player, but his skill set was very similar to our other outfielders so this is a more complementary piece for us.”
Removing Grichuk’s contract from the Blue Jays payroll may also be a benefit.
The $9.7 million Toronto is sending with Grichuk to Colorado will offset a little more than half the $18.7 million the 30-year-old is owed over the final two seasons of his $52 million, five-year contract.
Toronto will pay the Rockies $9,716,333 — $5,383,333 this year and $4,333,333 in 2023 — covering a little more than half the $18,666,666 owed to Grichuk, who has salaries of $9,333,333 in each of the next two seasons.
Tapia, 27, avoided arbitration with Colorado last week and signed a one-year, $3.95 million deal. Tapia is arbitration-eligible in 2023 and can reach free agency in 2024.
Grichuk played four seasons for the Blue Jays after starting his career with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2014. He’s a career .245 hitter with a .765 OPS.
Tapia has played all six seasons of his Major League Baseball career in Colorado, with a career .280 average and .721 OPS.
The 19-year-old Pinto hit .360 with three home runs and 27 RBIs with a 1.029 OPS last season in the Dominican Summer League. The Venezuelan started 35 games at second base, 11 at shortstop, and five in centre field.
— with files from The Associated Press
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 24, 2022.