Late Saturday night, the Cardinals gave fans the team’s first — and hopefully not last — trade for a Major League player in this deadline period. In a continuation of the weekend’s major bullpen overhaul, the Cardinals acquired LHP Chasen Shreve and RHP Giovanny Gallegos from the New York Yankees in exchange for Luke Voit and about $1 Million of international bonus pool cap space. Giovanny Gallegos has been a strikeout monster in AAA, with K% of 40% and 35% in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Under team control through 2023, he has been blocked by a stacked Yankees bullpen and could be a great piece, down the road. Shreve, on the other hand, could look like a steal right away.
Shreve is also a controlled arm that won’t reach free agency until after 2021. He fills an immediate need on the left side of the Cardinals bullpen. On the surface, his numbers may not cause much excitement, other than a very good career 10.4 K/9. His overall ERA’s during his career with the Yankees (starting in 2015) are 3.09, 5.18, 3.77, and 4.26. His overall platoon splits are okay, holding LH batters to a .233/.330/.442 in his Yankee career. However, I think there is more here than meets the eye. In his weekly interview with KMOX on Sunday, John Mozeliak cited an optimism in regards to taking Shreve away from the AL East and Yankee Stadium. There may actually be something to that.
The Bronx vs. The Field
Shreve’s home and road splits are incredibly telling as he has struggled at home but been very good on the road. These numbers have been consistent year-to-year, and are encouraging in regards to thinking that we may see an immediate uptick in overall performance. Here are how the home/road platoon splits have looked during his Yankee career:
Yankee Stadium is a haven for left-handed hitters, and they have done very well against Shreve, but it’s a completely different story on the road.
Away: .171/.295/.317, .271 wOBA
The differences also exist when facing RH batters. The reverse splits are solid at home, but the road numbers are just fantastic. Again, it is more significant improvement when he gets away from New York.
Away: .196/.284/.399, .296 wOBA
Overall — both handedness — this is how Shreve’s numbers compare, home and away since the start of 2015.
Away: 77.2 IP, .187/.288/.369, .287 wOBA, 2.90 ERA, 2.73 K/BB
The first line is basically 2017-18 Brett Cecil, the other is not-quite-but-aproaching 2014-16 Zach Britton. That is a huge difference. His HR and walk rates are still a little high, but for whatever reason he gets significantly better results when pitching anywhere but Yankee Stadium.
Considering that the Marlins are asking for a king’s ransom for a similarly controlled LHP in Adam Conley, the Cardinals did very well to acquire Shreve and Gallegos for a low cost. Considering that Shreve could take off now that he has exscaped the Bronx, it may end up looking even better.
In terms of what they gave up, it was a great trade. Voit was generally just a depth bat, unlikely to be much more than a 1B-only, bench bat in the future. The international dollars were inconsequential for the Cardinals. Due to overspending in the 2016-17 signing period, they are limited to a maximum of $300,000 bonuses for international signing through the end of June 2019. Rather than sign 3 16-year olds, they send that cap space to a team that can actually use it. That’s important to remember, the Cardinals didn’t send $1 Million cash to the Yankees, they just transferred the ABILITY to spend $1M internationally. So the value of that money to the Yankees is FAR greater than it was to the Cardinals, because it wasn’t even tangible money for St. Louis. They basically gave up Voit and got back two major league relief options with the upside to add a ton of firepower to an underwhelming unit.
That’s what I call a baseball trade.
Thanks for reading!
Thanks to Fangraphs for the Splits Tool and statistics!