LAS VEGAS -- It took six years for Patrick Wisdom to work his way to St. Louis. Now, after 32 games with the Cardinals, his tenure with the club has come to an end.With a deal that turned roster redundancy into a needed left-handed bat, the Cardinals traded Wisdom to
LAS VEGAS -- It took six years for Patrick Wisdom to work his way to St. Louis. Now, after 32 games with the Cardinals, his tenure with the club has come to an end.
With a deal that turned roster redundancy into a needed left-handed bat, the Cardinals traded Wisdom to the Rangers on Tuesday for utility man Drew Robinson. The club's desire to better balance its heavily right-handed roster prompted the swap.
The acquisition does not necessarily end the Cardinals' search for left-handed position players. But it does give them an option in the form of a player who can play anywhere in the infield or outfield. During his nine years in the Rangers' organization, Robinson started at seven different positions.
"Drew will certainly come to camp with a chance to have that [utility] role, but I don't think it necessarily limits us from pursuing something else if there's a fit," Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch said. "I don't think this closes the door on anything."
Robinson, 26, made his Major League debut in 2017, seven years after being selected by the Rangers in the fourth round of the MLB Draft. He appeared in 48 games for the Rangers in his first season and another 47 in '18.
Robinson hasn't had much success at the Major League level, where he's posted a 40 percent strikeout rate and slashed .204/.301/.366 over 246 plate appearances. But he slugged .569 with a .948 OPS in 53 games at the Triple-A level last season and has historically hit right-handed pitchers well.
"I think any time guys get small samples of big league time spread out across time and they are utility guys not getting plate appearances on a consistent basis, it's tough for a lot of guys to get settled into the big leagues," Girsch said. "He's had a history of being a very good performer at Triple-A. We're excited about him."
Wisdom tallied 50 home runs over the last two seasons, split between Triple-A Memphis and St. Louis. He posted an .882 OPS over 58 plate appearances with the Cardinals.
Reeling in relievers
The Cardinals are continuing to spend a significant amount of their time in Las Vegas canvassing the free-agent and trade markets for relief help. There was not a sense on Tuesday, though, that the club was likely to complete that pursuit before departing the Winter Meetings.
The progress made has come at a more foundational level -- determining which relievers other teams would entertain trading, as well as what potential acquisition costs might be.
"We're sort of honing in on smaller numbers of players and teams to deal with each day," Girsch said. "But, again, it's a slow process."
The Goldschmidt effect
Though it's been nearly a week since the Cardinals completed a trade for perennial All-Star Paul Goldschmidt, the former D-backs first baseman remains a popular topic of conversation at the Winter Meetings.
There are some who celebrated the move.
"Goldy, he can say in the Central as long as he wants," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "Trying to work on getting him to the American League next. … To get him out of our division is great. I hope he's happy. I have to send him flowers."
Others, like Cubs manager Joe Maddon, cringed.
"I don't like the Diamondbacks right now at all, I really don't," he said. "Did you ever see them play against us? Against everybody? … [The Cardinals] have gotten really good. He's kind of like, when he sashays into the clubhouse and everybody sees him walking in there, they all become better. That definitely makes them much more difficult to beat next year."
Goldschmidt arrives in the National League Central having posted a 1.170 career OPS against the Cubs and 1.130 OPS against the Brewers.
Then, there was D-backs manager Torey Lovullo, who, along with Arizona general manager Mike Hazen, delivered news of the trade to his former All-Star first baseman. Lovullo acknowledged trying to talk Hazen out of trading Goldschmidt, but also noted that he understands the organization's intent.
"Inside of my baseball life, it was probably one of the hardest days I ever had," Lovullo said. "One of the things [Goldschmidt] did share is that he felt like there was so much unfinished business in Arizona. He felt bad about that. So I had to reassure him that he left everything he had on the field. The culture that he helped us and me create will be carried on, and one day, when we do win a world championship, he's going to be a part of that, even though he won't be there physically."
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.