The Cardinals acquired Marcell Ozuna from the fire-selling Marlins in a trade on Wednesday, a deal essentially forced St. Louis to trade an outfielder to carve out an everyday spot for Ozuna.
Stephen Piscotty, a 26-year-old from Pleasanton, Calif., was the outfielder the front office decided to move. St. Louis traded Piscotty, who hit nine homers and drove in 39 runs in 107 games last year, to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for two minor league prospects.
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The move means Piscotty will be closer to his mother, who was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) during this past season and lives in California. Piscotty missed time during the year as he returned home to be with his family.
“There were certainly some other opportunities to move him elsewhere,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said, per MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch. “When you’re looking at how to break a tie, clearly that did play into it.”
In his three seasons in the majors, Piscotty has a .262 batting average with 38 homers and 163 RBIs. After playing collegiately at Stanford, Piscotty was selected 36th overall by the Cardinals in the 2012 draft. He signed a six-year, $33.5 million contract that runs through the 2022 season in April.
The Cards had made it clear in recent days that if it made sense for them to deal Piscotty and if they could send him to the Bay Area, they would do so. Many scouts believe that being close to home will help Piscotty.
“I like this deal for Oakland,” an American League scout said. “I think Piscotty will really benefit from being back in the Bay Area and with his family; I think his mom’s situation was a major reason he had a down season last year.”
Piscotty, 26, fits the bill that Oakland was seeking this winter: He’s a right-handed hitter signed through 2022 with a team option for 2023; his deal is worth $33.5 million.
The deal took several days to coalesce; general manager David Forst said transactions sometimes take longer to come together than media reports might suggest in the frenzied atmosphere of the meetings.