LAS VEGAS -- The Rangers have acquired third baseman Patrick Wisdom from the Cardinals for utility player Drew Robinson in a trade involving two guys who were blocked in the depth chart with their former team.
Wisdom gives the Rangers a right-handed hitter with some power and the potential to spell switch-hitter Jurickson Profar at third base and left-hander Ronald Guzman at first base. He could also give the Rangers a right-handed-hitting option at designated hitter if Shin-Soo Choo needs a day off or is playing in the outfield.
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"Good roster fit for us," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Very good defender at third base, can play first base for us. Good baserunner, right-handed power. He has made some meaningful improvements offensively. We have always liked him some, we were looking for a right-handed fit. The positions he plays are of value to us, while St. Louis was looking for a versatile left-hander."
Daniels said the deal was not the prelude to a bigger one involving Profar. The Rangers view Profar as their starting third baseman, while Wisdom gives them depth and protection.
Wisdom has spent much of the past three seasons at Triple-A Memphis. He had a big year for the Cardinals affiliate in 2017, hitting .243 with 31 home runs, 89 RBIs and a .507 slugging percentage. He also had the highest fielding percentage for any third baseman in the Pacific Coast League. Wisdom can also play first base, but his path to the Cardinals was blocked by Matt Carpenter, Jedd Gyorko and Jose Martinez.
He was back at Memphis this past season and hit .288 with 15 home runs, 61 RBIs and a .480 slugging percentage in 107 games. Wisdom also made an impression on the Cardinals by raising his on-base percentage from .310 in 2017 to .363 this past season. He was finally called to the big leagues on Aug. 11 and played in 32 games for the Cardinals, going 13-for-50 with four home runs and 10 RBIs.
"It's just a better fit for our roster," Cardinals general manager Michael Girsch said. "We already had right-handed-hitting utility guys, and we were looking to find a place where we could provide Patrick a better opportunity and get us something that fit the roster a little better. It was tough giving up someone like Wisdom, who has been with us a long time. He finally got a shot, did a great job. But in order to make the roster fix, it made sense."
Wisdom was originally drafted by the Tigers with the 52nd overall pick in the 2012 Draft out of St. Mary's College. He played in the 2015 Arizona Fall League and was selected to the All-Prospect team.
Robinson has also put up excellent offensive numbers in the Rangers' farm system; he hit .303 with a .379 on-base percentage and a .569 slugging percentage at Triple-A Round Rock last season. He also developed into a valuable utility player by being able to play every position but pitcher and catcher.
But he has never been able to have the same success at the big league level while dealing with declining playing time and irregular use. He has a career .204 batting average and 99 strikeouts in 216 Major League at-bats. He was blocked in the infield by Elvis Andrus, Rougned Odor and Profar, and in center by Delino DeShields and Carlos Tocci.
Rangers hire McCarthy as special assistant
The Rangers have hired former Major League pitcher Brandon McCarthy as a special assistant to the general manager. McCarthy joins an impressive list of special assistants for Daniels, along with Michael Young, Colby Lewis, Darren Oliver and Ivan Rodriguez.
McCarthy recently retired after starting 15 games for the Braves and going 6-3 with a 4.92 ERA. He spent 14 years in the big leagues with the White Sox, Rangers, Athletics, D-backs, Yankees, Dodgers and the Braves before calling it a career.
"Everything hurts," McCarthy said. "Sitting through a four-hour meeting seemed easier than a one-hour workout. I wanted to go out on my own terms rather than being spit out by the baseball washing machine."
McCarthy was with the Rangers from 2007-09 before undergoing shoulder surgery and missing the entire '10 season. He refused outright assignment and became a free agent.
"We are just trying to add smart, driven people that can add a layer to what we are trying to do," Daniels said. "We've known Brandon since he played here, followed his career after he left, picked up different things from every stop both in terms of what he learned on his own and what he saw other teams had to offer."