The St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday struck a deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks that will bring slugger Paul Goldschmidt to St. Louis.
St. Louis will send catcher Carson Kelly, pitcher Luke Weaver, and infielder Andy Young, and the club’s Compensation Round B pick, to Arizona.
Goldschmidt, 31, gives the Cardinals a legitimate power bat for the middle of the lineup, something St. Louis has lacked in recent seasons.
But what does this move mean in regards to the rest of the offseason?
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First, it doesn’t necessarily take St. Louis out of the running for Bryce Harper, though Goldschmidt should lessen the blow if Harper chooses to sign elsewhere.
The trade does likely signal an end to any possible deals involving the Colorado Rockies all-star third baseman Nolan Arenado.
The Goldschmidt trade likely means the Cardinals’ infield is set for 2019: Goldschmidt at first base, Kolten Wong at second, Matt Carpenter at third and Paul DeJong at shortstop. While some Cardinals fans may cringe at the thought of Carpenter as the permanent third baseman, the numbers indicate that he’s one of the more reliable players in baseball at the hot corner.
Though Goldschmidt has long been rumored to be a Cardinals target, no move had been expected until at least the start of the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Those start Sunday, Dec. 9.
Here are some details on the players St. Louis is sending to Arizona:
Carson Kelly was long considered to be Yadier Molina’s heir apparent, but has struggled in limited action in the major leagues. In 117 career at bats, he’s managed just 18 hits. He also seemingly fell behind another top Cardinals prospect, Andrew Knizner, on the depth chart. The Cardinals will need to find a backup catcher for the 2019 season, but it appears they’ve settled as Knizner as the catcher of the future.
Luke Weaver was considered one of St. Louis’ top pitching prospects before being called up to the majors during the 2016 season. But in 52 games — 43 starts — he’s managed just a 4.79 ERA and carries a 15-17 career record. He did go 7-2 for St. Louis in 2017, but regressed in 2018 and was demoted to the bullpen during the season.
Andy Young is a minor league infield who was promoted to Memphis in September. He spent most of the season with the Palm Beach Cardinals in Class A where he hit .276 with 12 home runs in 84 games. He also played 35 games for the Springfield Cardinals in 2018, where hit another 9 homers and batted .289.
According to Ken Rosenthal, of FOX Sports, other major league executives were not high on what Arizona got in return. One said “Where is the star power?”
Five things to know about Goldschmidt
▪ Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com reports that since Goldschmidt’s first full season in 2012, he has a .934 OPS — .400 on-base and .534 slugging. All three of those percentages rank in the Majors’ top seven. His career batting average is .297. He’s listed at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds.
▪ ESPN said the first baseman nicknamed “Goldy” is set to earn $14.5 million next year and then he becomes a free agent. He bats and throws right. The Diamondbacks drafted him in the eighth round in 2009.
▪ Cardinal fans will like to hear about this Goldschmidt MVP-type moment: The Arizona Republic compiled Diamondback highlights for 2017 and one of them included the Aug. 3, 2017, game when Goldschmidt hit three home runs in a 10-8 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley. The newspaper said each homer came after a rain delay and one of them sailed out of the park.
▪ Wayne G. McDonnell Jr. of Forbes.com praised Goldschmidt’s durability. “With only one appearance on the disabled list in the summer of 2014 due to a fractured left hand, it almost seems automatic to pencil Goldschmidt in for nearly 700 plate appearances and 155 games a season,” McDonnell wrote.
▪ Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com last year wrote about Goldschmidt’s family ancestry. His great-grandparents escaped Nazi Germany prior to the Holocaust and eventually settled in the United States. Goldschmidt, whose father is Jewish and mother is Catholic, told Bloom that he grew up in the Catholic faith but respects his Jewish heritage as well.
“We know our Jewish history and we respect those beliefs,” Goldschmidt said. “We had both sides of it as kids. My dad’s side, my mom’s side. We were exposed to all of it.”