Stratton welcomes new challenge in closer-to-home MLB address

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Aug. 4—With the MLB trade deadline closing in on Monday Chris Stratton found he had a new work address.

And it's closer to his home than any previous address in his seven-year career.

The Pittsburgh Pirates sent starting pitcher Jose Quintana and Stratton, a reliever, to the St. Louis Cardinals for two younger prospects, a relief pitcher and a corner infielder.

Stratton, a former Tupelo High School standout, was named SEC Pitcher of the Year as a junior at Mississippi State in 2012.

He went 11-1 with an SEC-low 2.21 ERA that season being drafted by San Francisco in the first round.

He was with the Los Angeles Angels briefly in 2019 before being traded to Pittsburg that season.

With the Pirates Stratton became a high-leverage option out of the bullpen.

"I just want to say how much I appreciate my time in Pittsburgh," Stratton told The Daily Journal. "They took really good care of me, and I will miss the people the most."

Stratton was 15-7 with a 3.98 ERA in 163 games over four seasons with the Pirates.

He made his Cardinals debut Tuesday in a 6-0 win over the Cubs. He gave up a hit and recorded a strikeout in a scoreless ninth.

Stratton was coming off his best season with the Pirates after going 7-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 79 1-3 innings in 2021.

He had been less consistent this season prompting Pirates manager Derek Shelton to suggest to the Pittsburg Tribune-Review that Stratton change how he attacked hitters, particularly against division opponents who had greater familiarity with him.

At the time of the trade the Pirates were working with Stratton on improving fastball location.

Stratton says he welcomes whatever challenges he might face in St. Louis.

"I'm not sure what my role will be, but the only thing that matters to me is trying to help this team win. This is a team that's full of guys who have been there and done it at the highest level, so I'm going to try to learn as much as possible from them and be a great teammate," he said.

And being closer to Tupelo is a bonus.

"The ability to travel back and forth from home is something my wife deserves for all the years of traveling all over the country and being the one that keeps the family together," he said.

PARRISH ALFORD is the college sports editor and columnist for the Daily Journal. Contact him at parrish.alford@journalinc.com.