Having failed last year in their attempt to trade for Giancarlo Stanton after he refused to be shipped to St. Louis, the Cardinals may have their sights set on another elite hitter. According to Ken Rosenthal, the Redbirds and Astros “have had the most meaningful discussions” about a trade for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
#Astros, #STLCards are the two teams that have had the most meaningful discussions with the #DBacks about a trade for Paul Goldschmidt, sources tell The Athletic. No deal is close; talks not yet advanced.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 20, 2018
Rosenthal didn’t specify, but we can reasonably assume that the Cardinals are actually having their own talks and not just spying on the Astros’ conversations. In all seriousness, the Cards make a lot of sense as suitors here. Not only might their prospects be burning a whole in their proverbial pocket after being spurned by Stanton, but their lode of young arms could be very enticing to a team that has lost Patrick Corbin and is actively shopping Zack Greinke.
The Cardinals being successful in landing Goldschmidt wouldn’t suddenly move them ahead of the Cubs and Brewers, but it’d sure get them a lot closer. After all, we’ve seen what kind of impact the acquisition of an MVP-level player can have on the Central. Goldschmidt is five years older than Christian Yelich was at the time of last year’s trade and has never had a season quite as good as the 7.6 fWAR the NL MVP put up in 2018, but he’s due only $14.5 million in 2019 and might experience a contract-year bump.
Even if he only performs on par with Steamer projections that spell the worst full season of his career, we’re talking about a .277/.387/.499 with a 135 wRC+ and 4.1 fWAR. For the sake of reference, Matt Carpenter led the NL MVP race for a while this past season and ended up hitting .257/.374/.523 with a 138 wRC+ and 5.0 fWAR. Carpenter should regress in his age-33 season, but having those two batting at the top of the Cardinals’ lineup would be a little scary.
Goldschmidt’s age (31) and limited club control factor heavily here, giving the D-backs plenty of motivation and minimal leverage. So it’s almost assured that he’ll be moved this winter, and the Cardinals seem to possess more than enough prospect depth to make a deal work without significantly depleting the farm system.
As Rosenthal notes, however, nothing is close and talks are not in advanced stages. Which gives Cubs fans plenty of time to hope really hard that the Astros or some other team presents a better offer.