This season didn’t go like most seasons. The Cardinals were terrible. I stopped writing here very much, with nothing after the blog anniversary. However, some things must go on and that includes the Exit Interview series! Now in its 12th year, it’s our look back at each player that made an appearance in a game for the St. Louis Cardinals. We’re approaching it a little different this season, a little more literary and a little less statistical, but hopefully you enjoy it just the same. As always, I am grateful that cardinalsgifs has agreed to use his talent for the header image!
Player: Richie Palacios
Stats: 32 G, 102 PA, 9 R, 6 2B, 6 HR, 16 RBI, 2 SB, .258/.307/.516, 0.5 bWAR
Statcast: 7.1% barrel, 29.8% sweet spot, 106.8 max exit velocity, .346 wOBA, .309 xwOBA, 10.8% K, 5.9% BB
When the Cardinals acquired Palacios from the Guardians for cash at the end of June, it seemed to indicate that the club was trying to put the pieces in place for the trade deadline to come. Seeing this move, you started thinking are Paul DeJong‘s days numbered or does this give them the flexibility to trade Tommy Edman. Then, when Edman started playing center, it seemed like Palacios could be Memphis depth for the middle infield. What we had no idea about is that the Cards had acquired one of the only reasons to keep watching this team past August 1.
Palacios made his debut August 17, just a day before Masyn Winn was also promoted, and he took to St. Louis like a duck to water. He was 9-30 in August and while the hits trailed off in September, the ones that came were more potent, with nine extra-base hits in just 70 plate appearances. Add in some spectacular defensive plays and an infectious personality and it’s no wonder that fans took to him so readily.
So how much was flash and how much was substance? You have to like the low strikeout rate but the walk rate is disturbing. His maximum exit velocity is on the low side but he also didn’t have many opportunities to pump it up. He won’t turn 27 until six weeks into next season, so there’s a possibility that the prime is starting. He hit about .300 in 40 games at Memphis, so his major league production wasn’t completely out of nowhere. No matter if he fades into oblivion, though, he’s one of the few bright spots of 2023 and you can’t take that away from him.
What’s in store for 2024: Palacios did enough to stay on the roster this winter and it appears likely he’ll have a role as a fourth or fifth outfielder next season, assuming the club moves on from Tyler O’Neill or Dylan Carlson. He’s probably not the next Ryan Ludwick but he’s definitely not the worst player received in a trade from Cleveland.