The St. Louis Cardinals have traded 3B Patrick Wisdom to the Texas Rangers in exchange for IF/OF Drew Robinson according to the Rangers.
Wisdom, 27, was drafted by the Cardinals in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft and made his long awaited Major League debut last season. In 32 games, he hit .260/.362/.520 with 4 home runs and a 141 wRC+. In the minors, Wisdom hit .288/.363/.480 with 16 home runs in 107 games with a 120 wRC+.
Robinson, 26, is not the Las Vegas native most were hoping the Cardinals would acquire this week, but he’s an interesting addition. The left handed hitting Robinson has hit .204/.301/.366 with 9 home runs and 75 wRC+ in 95 games in the Majors over the past two seasons with the Rangers. He has made the Rangers’ Opening Day roster in both 2017 and 2018, the latter as a starter, starting 26 of Texas’ first 34 games. He hit .303/.379/.569 with 10 home runs and a 144 wRC+ in 53 games for Triple A Round Rock last season between MLB stints.
In Mo’s favorite jargon, this is a bit of an arbitrage move turning a right handed hitter into a left handed hitter. Wisdom, unfortunately for the Cardinals, has all the markings of a late bloomer. A change in his approach two seasons ago led to back to back best years since he debuted in short season A ball. And then when he came up to the Majors last winter, he did nothing but rake. But he plays third and first base, two positions that are clearly taken by Matt Carpenter and Paul Goldschmidt next season. That made him available.
Robinson, to use another piece of Mo jargon, checks a lot of the boxes. The Cardinals were on the lookout for a left hand hitting utility player and Robinson is that. So far in the Majors he has logged time in all three outfield positions, third base, second base, and shortstop. Throughout his pro career he’s played every position except catcher and pitcher.
He’s had more opportunity in the Majors than Wisdom has, but still has yet to find his stroke in the Majors and out-slugged Wisdom in the minors.
In a 2017 look at Robinson over at Minor League Ball for SBNation, his scouting report boasts average speed and arm strength, but good instincts all around. He gets good marks for his ability to be a solid fielder at multiple positions. As far as his hitting skills, “He’s not going to hit .300 and may not break .250, but he’ll draw walks, hit for some power, steal bases, and provide excellent defensive versatility.” And when you’re talking about your 24th or 25th guy on the roster, that’s what you want.
Robinson will get an opportunity to compete for a spot on the Opening Day roster this spring depending on what other moves the club makes this winter. But if the Cardinals trade Jedd Gyorko and Jose Martinez, as is expected, Robinson should be on the short list for one of those open roster spots.