Outfielder Randal Grichuk became the first of the Cardinals’ four arbitration-eligible players to reach an agreement with the club, as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported on Thursday that the two sides settled on a one-year, $2.6 million contract for 2018. The club has not confirmed the report.
The deal comes one day before clubs and any remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players will exchange desired salary figures. In 2017, the Cardinals transitioned to a trial-and-file philosophy, meaning that once they swap salary figures with a player, they proceed with the intention of taking that case all the way to a February arbitration hearing.
Grichuk, who made $557,200 in 2017, entered the offseason eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career. While he’s no longer earmarked for a starting job, he does sit as the fourth outfielder on the Cardinals’ depth chart and should see semi-regular playing time given his ability to play all three outfield spots.
In 442 plate appearances last season, Grichuk slashed .238/.285/.473 for a .758 OPS. That latter figure has decreased each of the past three seasons while Grichuk has struggled to turn potential into consistent production.