Cardinals Acquire Paul Goldschmidt from Diamondbacks

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Paul Goldschmidt #44 of the Arizona Diamondbacks doubles in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on September 14, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

According to multiple reports, first basemen Paul Goldschmidt has been traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the St. Louis Cardinals. The six time All-Star will don a new cap for the first time ever in 2019.

Trade Details

Going back to Arizona, are pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andrew Young, and a 2019 draft pick. The Cardinals appear to operate with an ‘all-in’ mindset as they traded a haul of controllable, young talent for one year of an elite first baseman.

The Cardinals have lacked a true ‘big bat,’ in the middle of their lineup since Albert Pujols left following the 2011 season. Now, they have that bat in the form of a three time, top-three MVP finisher. Despite an ice cold start, Goldschmidt finished 2018 as one of the hottest hitters in baseball, cementing his status as an elite player.

The Diamondbacks benefit as they begin to retool their roster in hopes of staying competitive despite Patrick Corbin and AJ Pollack becoming free agents. In Kelly, they get a man who was the second best catching prospect in all of baseball entering the season. He is 24 years old and played in 19 games as a back up catcher in 2018.

Luke Weaver, 25, gives them a right handed starter who posted a 4.95 ERA with eight strikeouts per nine innings in 136 innings pitched. Weaver was once the Cardinals second best prospect and a top-100 prospect in baseball. A change of scenery may be what he needs to realize his upside.

Andrew Young has yet to reach the Major Leagues, playing as high as AA ball. The draft pick should fall in the mid 70s range.

The Outlook

A trade can never be accurately evaluated right after it happens, but this one looks great for both teams. The Cardinals get a gold glove winning first basemen, who has produced a .301/.406/.541 slash line over the last six years. His .947 OPS over that span is accompanied by an average of 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.

Goldschmidt’s slow 2018 start and 20.2% career strikeout percentage are two things to keep an eye on. Despite that, the main concern is that he is 31 years old and in the last year of his contract.

The Cardinals need not worry about this. Best case scenario, they can resign him. Worst case scenario, he rejects a qualifying offer, and the Cardinals receive a compensatory draft pick in the same range as the pick they gave up in the trade.

On paper, the Cardinals look to have shrunk the gap between them and the Cubs and Brewers, who both made the playoffs last season.

The Diamondbacks were in the playoffs in 2017 and led the NL West most of 2018 before collapsing. They will take a step back in 2019, but they knew they would need to retool with the departures of Corbin and Pollack, and other players approaching free agency as is Goldschmidt.

They are currently handcuffed by Zack Greinke‘s contract, which accounts for 43.17% of the teams current payroll commitment heading into next year. Attempting a Greinke trade will be the next order of business. If they can do that, then they will be set up very well in the long run, but they hope to have just taken a big step towards long term success.

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