Outfielder Randal Grichuk and the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday avoided an arbitration hearing as Grichuk agreed to terms on a one-year contract.
The deal is worth $2.6 million. It was first reported by Bob Nightengale. The Cardinals have not yet confirmed the signing.
Grichuk, 26, will enter spring training as a backup in left, center and right field. Newcomer Marcell Ozuna will play left, Tommy Pham will take over in center and Dexter Fowler will shift to right. Stephen Piscotty was traded to the Oakland A’s on Dec. 14 for minor-leaguers Yairo Munoz, an infielder and outfielder, and Max Schrock, a second baseman.
Grichuk batted .238 with 22 home runs and 59 RBIs in 122 games last season. Strikeouts again were a problem, as he fanned 133 times in 442 at-bats.
Grichuk was arbitration-eligible for the first time in his career. He can be a free agent at the end of the 2021 season.
The Cardinals also have come to terms with their other three players who were arbitration-eligible: Ozuna, right-hander Michael Wacha and left-handed reliever Tyler Lyons.
The Cardinals have gone to arbitration with just one player since 1999. Last year, they defeated Wacha in a hearing, with Wacha receiving $2.8 million in 2017 instead of his requested $3.2 million. Wacha finished 12-9 with a 4.13 ERA in 30 starts.
Arbitration hearings this offseason are scheduled for Jan. 29 through Feb. 16.
Last February, St. Louis avoided arbitration with right-hander Carlos Martinez, who signed a five-year, $51-million extension with club options for 2022 and 2023. It was the richest contract for a pitcher that was arbitration-eligible for the first time.