Goldschmidt to the Red Birds: Cards ready for the playoffs?
Yesterday, the hot stove was ignited as another offseason blockbuster trade was completed, sending 6-time all-star Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals. The return the Diamondbacks received for this trade centered around young right-handed pitcher Luke Weaver, catching prospect Carson Kelly, second baseman prospect Andy Young, and future considerations.
This trade came surprisingly, as rumors between Goldy and the Cardinals circulated an hour or so before the trade occurred. There had been rumors about the Diamondbacks trading him, as one of their main starters in Patrick Corbin was expected to leave and their money concerns with guys like Zack Greinke were starting to arise. Not to mention he is a free agent after the 2019 season, and will likely command a mega-deal that easily will cost 250M at a minimum.
As a Cubs fan, this trade happening was like a punch to the stomach. It knocks the wind out of you, and this trade concerns me to a higher degree than when they acquired Marcell Ozuna and when the Brewers acquired Christian Yelich. In my opinion, this trade will work out well for St. Louis, even if it comes without playoffs and if Goldy leaves. For one, he is one of the best players and likely the best first baseman in the league. Last season, he hit for a .290 BA, 33 HR, .389 OBP, .533 SLG, and a .922 OPS in 690 PA. Not to mention he has been an all-star for the last 6 years consecutively and he’s easily one of the most consistent players in the MLB.
Although the Cardinals already have a consistent .300 hitting first baseman in José Martínez, Goldy is still a good upgrade over him. For one, Goldy is a big power upgrade over him in the lineup, as he consistently hits over 30 homers a year compared to Martínez who has not hit over 20 once. He is still valuable, as he can play outfield and sub in case of struggles, or be traded for a good haul of young players. The Cardinals have struggled in the areas that Goldy excels, as the Cards have a .249 team BA compared to his .290 and they have a team .409 SLG compared to his .533. His huge bat will create an extremely deadly cleanup hitter, especially with contact bats like Harrison Bader and Martínez.
From the Diamondbacks’ perspective I really don’t think you can argue any positives that they saw with this trade. Weaver hasn’t really given the Cardinals much to work with. Although he had a decent season in 2017, posting a 3.88 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 72 SO, 17 BB, and a .254 BAA in 60.1 IP, although his first full season in 2018 he saw a 4.95 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 121 SO, 54 BB, and a .277 BAA in 136.1 IP. While he still has some potential, I don’t see him unlocking some big stuff, and I see his ceiling as a 4 or 5 starter. Kelly has given horrible numbers however, he has career 131 PA over the last 3 seasons, so not a lot of playing time. His career stats include a .154 BA, 0 HR, .227 OBP, .188 SLG, and a .415 OPS. I don’t see Young being a big piece in this trade, possibly a bench bat in the future for Arizona.
I’ll be honest, I was very disappointed with the return the Diamondbacks scraped for Goldy. You can argue Weaver has some upside and will pitch better at Chase Field, but I don’t see him being a high-impact starter regardless, as he haw some big struggles in 2018. This trade clearly was because of the money concerns with Arizona. They are locked into a mega-deal with Greinke that pays him over 30M a year for the next couple of years. Not to mention that Goldy is a rental, and they didn’t see them giving him another mega-deal.
No matter what happens, I can’t see the Diamondbacks winning this trade. The impact bat that Goldy has to any team, being able to hit good pitching very well consistently and having a lot of pop, he’s not someone who’s easily replacable. Again, you could argue that Weaver could develop into a decent future starter, but I just don’t see him panning out a whole lot in Arizona, although I could be wrong since they developed Robbie Ray and Taijuan Walker very well. No matter what happens, the impact bat Goldy has could be something the Cardinals haven’t seen in years, and could really help their team.