Cardinals send Piscotty to A’s for two minor leaguers

Stephen Piscotty batted .268 with 38 homers and 163 RBIs in 323 career games with the Cardinals.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Piscotty is going home. The St. Louis Cardinals traded him Thursday to the Oakland Athletics.

Playing in the Bay Area, he’ll be close to his family in Pleasanton, California. Working closer to home became an issue for the right fielder last season, when he took a short leave of absence to be with his mother, who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

“You are never making a player trade simply for geographic or sentimental reasons,” John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, told St. Louis media. “It had to be something that made sense for us. There were certainly some opportunities to move him elsewhere. When you are looking at how to break a tie, clearly that did play into it.”

The Cardinals receive minor league shortstop Yairo Munoz and second baseman Max Schrock in the deal.

Munoz, 22, was placed on the Cardinals’ 40-man major league roster. He played for Double-A Midland and Triple-A Nashville last season, batting a combined .300 with 13 home runs, 68 RBIs and 22 stolen bases in 112 games. Now playing in the Dominican Winter League, Munoz was a 2015 Midwest League All-Star and a 2014 New York-Penn League All-Star.

The A’s originally signed Munoz as an undrafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic in January 2012.

Schrock will be assigned to a minor league roster. The 23-year-old batted .321 for Midland in 2017, the fourth-best average in the Texas League, and his .379 on-base percentage ranked third. He earned midseason and postseason Texas League All-Star recognition in 2017 and was a South Atlantic League All-Star the year before.

Schrock was a 13th-round draft pick in 2015 by the Washington Nationals, who traded him to the A’s in 2016 for former Cardinals pitcher Marc Rzepczynski.

Piscotty signed a six-year contract extension with the Cardinals in April 2017 after a strong 2016 season in which he batted .273 with 22 homers and 85 RBIs. He struggled in 2017, batting .235 with nine homers and 39 RBIs in 107 games. Piscotty, 26, was a supplemental first-round draft pick (33rd overall) by the Cardinals out of Stanford in 2012.