ST. LOUIS – The Cardinals traded struggling infielder Tyler Greene to the Houston Astros Thursday afternoon, giving the former first round pick a fresh start with a few familiar faces.
The trade comes a day after Greene went 0-for-3 and was booed loudly by the home crowd Wednesday night for booting a routine double-play ball that opened the floodgates in the Cardinals 15-0 drubbing by the San Francisco Giants.
Greene hit .218 in 77 games for the Cardinals this season and struggled to get much playing time in recent weeks.
“It’s bittersweet,” Greene said. “I came up through this organization, I lived and breathed with these guys for a long time. It’s sad in a sense of these guys are my friends and family and we’ve all grown up together.
“I’ve been nothing but thankful and grateful to the organization to give me the opportunity and have faith in me and stay confident in me throughout the years. But I’m also excited. I’m excited for a fresh start and a new opportunity.”
Greene will be reunited with former St. Louis scouting director and current Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who drafted the talented infielder out of Georgia Tech with the 30th overall pick in 2005.
The right-handed hitting Greene spent parts of four seasons with the Cardinals since making his big league debut in 2009. He hit a combined .218 (108-495) with nine home runs and 47 RBI. The speedster had 25 stolen bases and was caught just two times.
“Really it came down to just an opportunity for him,” said Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak. “We just weren’t finding the appropriate playing time in giving him a chance to contribute probably to his liking as well as when you look at what was sort of unfolding with our club as well.
“It became a real struggle, I think this is a good opportunity for him to play more and we’ll see if we get any return on the deal but ultimately just felt it was time to make the move.”
Greene appeared to fall out of favor with former manager Tony La Russa and never received much of a chance to crack the everyday lineup. He struggled to perform with the inconsistent playing time and was left off the postseason roster last fall.
A fresh start with new manager Mike Matheny had most thinking Greene would get things going this spring and take the available starting second base job and run with it. But Greene continued to struggle and his playing time slowly eroded as the season went on.
“I look back at it as great,” Greene said of his time in St. Louis. “This is a great organization. I was able to win a World Series with this organization. It’s been amazing and a dream come true. It’s an unbelievable franchise and the history has shown that.
“I’ve been nothing but thankful and hopefully I’ll be able to take things I’ve learned over here down there and hopefully get something started down there. I’m excited to be down there and contribute and play. It’s kind of a new beginning. I’m excited about that.”
Greene became an easy target for Cardinals fans in recent weeks when his struggled spread to more than just his offense. He entered a tie game as a pinch-runner in the 10th inning on July 25 and was promptly picked off first base.
He was booed Wednesday when his name was announce in the starting lineup and the negative reaction only got worse when a routine double-play ball went right through his legs with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
Asked if his time with the Cardinals had been a disappointment, Mozeliak said, “I don’t really want to characterize it that way. I think when you look at his tenure here, he brought excitement to the club. He was very useful to us last year in that exciting run and unfortunately it didn’t work out maybe the way we had envisioned it or the way he had.
“In fairness, this is a good spot for him to go. I think he’ll get an opportunity to play every day. St. Louis is a tough place to play. There’s high expectations and winning is demanded. Unfortunately we just never were able to get that right mix with him.”
Mozeliak said the Cardinals requested waivers on Greene a few days ago and that timing of the deal was a coincidence and not related to his performance in Wednesday night’s game.
Greene planned to travel to Houston Thursday night and be available for Friday night’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Minute Maid Park. The Cardinals will receive a player to be named later or cash considerations as part of the deal.
“It’s a new start, a fresh start,” Greene said. “Anything that has happened here in the past, it stays here. This is a fresh start for me with Houston. I’m excited about that and excited to meet all the new guys and new coaches and start forming friendships and bonds with them.
“I love this organization. I’ve never had any issues or bad influences. I’ve been thankful for everything that I’ve been given here and the opportunities. I’m just looking forward to this new start.”