Stephen Piscotty is going home.
The Cardinals traded Piscotty to the Athletics on Thursday morning, receiving minor league utilityman Yairo Munoz and second baseman Max Schrock in return.
Piscotty, a native of Pleasanton, Calif. and a Stanford alum, returns to the Bay Area and will be closer to his mother, who was diagnosed with ALS earlier this year.
Cardinals receive: Yairo Munoz, INF/OF (Triple-A Nashville) Age: 22
Munoz is a versatile utilityman who hit .300 with 13 homers, 68 RBIs, 22 stolen bases and a .794 OPS combined at Double-A and Triple-A in 2017. He spent the most time at shortstop (46 games), but also saw notable time at third base (36 games) and center field (20 games) and made cameos at second base, left field and right field. Munoz has a plus-plus arm and the athleticism to play any position on the field. While he put up strong offensive numbers, evaluators don’t love his pitch recognition or general plate discipline. As a result, Munoz generally projects as a oft-used bench piece who can play multiple spots rather than an everyday player, although may get a full season’s worth of at-bats bouncing around the diamond at his peak. For now, he gives the Cardinals needed middle infield depth and has a strong chance to make his big league debut in 2018.
Max Schrock, 2B (Double-A Midland) Age: 23
Schrock has been an under-the-radar favorite of many for a long time, consistently performing at a high level despite lacking electric tools. Acquired from the Nationals for Marc Rzepcynski in Aug. 2016, Schrock hit .324/.382/.420 at Double-A Midland in his first full year in the A’s system in 2017. He has a simple swing that yields a lot of contact, and his offense plays up with excellent strike-zone discipline. He doesn’t have a ton of power, however, and his stolen base totals declined from 22 to four as he ran into better catchers in the upper minors who could mitigate his average speed. Schrock a rock-solid defender at second base with decent range and reliable hands, but his below-average arm precludes him from playing shortstop or third base. Most evaluators don’t see a carrying tool to lead Schrock to great success in the majors, but his solid all-around game and track record of production have him on the path to possibly exceed those expectations. He is ticketed to start 2018 at Triple-A Memphis.
Athletics acquire: Stephen Piscotty, OF (MLB) Age: 26
Piscotty appeared to be a cornerstone of the Cardinals lineup for years to come and signed a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension before the 2017 season began, but he struggled through an injury-plagued year and hit just .235 with nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 107 games. Further contributing to his struggles, his mother Gretchen was diagnosed with ALS in May. He left the team briefly to be with her. The Cardinals let it be known after the season they were willing to trade Piscotty to be closer to his mother. Two years ago Piscotty hit .273 with 22 home runs, 85 RBI, a .343 on-base percentage and a .457 slugging percentage, and he is generally seen as a strong right fielder, even though advanced metrics are mixed in their reviews of his outfield play. With a season of health and being closer to home, there is a sense Piscotty has a strong chance to bounce back and return to his previous level of production.