After a few weeks of dancing, and an uptick in rumors this week, it looks like it’s actually happening: the Cardinals are likely getting Paul Goldschmidt.
The Diamondbacks could be closing in on a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals involving Paul Goldschmidt – could happen today.
— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) December 5, 2018
Cards r close to getting Goldy
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 5, 2018
The fit here for the Cardinals in 2019 – Goldschmidt’s only year under contract – is rather perfect, as Michael recently noted: “There’s enough talent there to compete in the Central if they make some upgrades, a still-very-good Matt Carpenter could slide across the diamond back to third base, the Cardinals have plenty of prospects to ship over for Goldschmidt, and the commitment isn’t long-term or overly onerous.
On top of that, Goldschmidt, still only 31, is under control for just one more season, same as Marcell Ozuna, Miles Mikolas, Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright, and a number of other Cardinals (to say nothing of the guys leaving just one year later). In other words, if the Cardinals wanted to push quite a number of chips into the center of the table next season, it would make sense given their roster, and would be doable with someone as talented and impactful as Goldschmidt.”
Even at 31, Goldschmidt remains one of the most valuable players in the National League, and it’s hard to overstate how much he, alone, upgrades the Cardinals’ lineup.
We’ll see if this goes down.
UPDATE (Michael): It’s happening and we already know the return, per Ken Rosenthal …
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 5, 2018
That’s a pretty solid return for just one year of Goldschmidt, even if he’s awesome, as Luke Weaver, arguably the center piece, is only 25 and looked excellent in 2017. He took a bit of a step back last year, but is still a young starter with plenty of upside, who’s not going to be a free agent until 2024. Meanwhile, Carson Kelly, a catcher, is still only 24 and won’t be a free agent until 2025(!), but hasn’t shown anything at the plate in the big leagues (and wasn’t that much of a hitter in the minors, either). However, with Yadier Molina still around – albeit old – the Cardinals probably won’t sweat that one too much.
Andy Young, 24, was selected by the Cardinals late in the 2016 draft and I don’t know much about him, as he’s not generally considered a top prospect (at least, according to Baseball America and MLB Pipeline). But he did slash .319/.395/.556 in 35 games at Double-A last year as a second baseman, and that’s really good, so I’m guessing that might hurt more than it appears.
And as for the draft pick, that’s likely to be the Cardinals Supplemental second round pick, which comes 78th overall in 2019. Those are the only picks that can be traded, so that’s just an educated guess.
Ultimately, unlike most Cardinals trades, this one actually feels fair. Kelly and Weaver are not huge losses, but they are interesting young players at premium positions. And beyond that, the D-Backs might get lucky with Young and be happy to have an additional top-100 pick.
Good return or not, this is such a scary-good move for the Cardinals, who now have Matt Carpenter at third and Goldschmidt at first, in 2019. They’re clearly not ready to let the Brewers and Cubs own the NL Central and figure to be a very tough opponent. Remember, Goldschmidt isn’t just pretty good, he’s VERY good:
From 2013-2018, Paul Goldschmidt was arguably the 3rd most impactful player in MLB:
1. Trout: 54.0 WAR
2. Donaldson: 35.6
3. Goldschmidt: 32.9
4. Betts: 30.5
5. Altuve: 29.4
He was great last year, too (5.1 WAR, 17th). If he went to the Cardinals, it would be a big deal.
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) December 4, 2018
Reminder: Goldschmidt is a free agent after 2019, but the Cardinals have indicated their desire to extend him. Whether that happens this offseason – or at all – remains to be seen, but they will certainly try. Just something to keep in mind.
Michael Cerami contributed to this post.