Arizona Diamondbacks: Paul Goldschmidt Goes The Cardinal Way
By TC Zencka
After weeks of speculation, the Arizona Diamondbacks have traded their face-of-the-franchise Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals.
The Arizona Diamondbacks traded Paul Goldschmidt to the St. Louis Cardinals today. In return, the Cardinals are sending pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andy Young and a Competitive Balance Round B pick in next year’s draft. That pick is likely to fall somewhere in the mid-80s.
The Cardinals, long-rumored Goldschmidt hunters for much of the offseason, did not appear to be close to pulling the trigger until earlier today when John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM (Twitter link) and Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post Dispatch (Twitter link), among others, began tweeting about increasing momentum as the two teams worked towards a deal.
The Cardinals are getting a true offensive centerpiece on a very reasonable one-year, $14.5MM contract. Last season, Goldschmidt started slow but battled back to finish the year with a Goldschmidtian .290/.389/.533 line with 33 home runs, 95 runs, 83 RBIs, and 5.4 rWAR. He was awarded yet another Silver Slugger.
He is one of the most well-rounded and consistent players in the big leagues who will look to lead the Cardinals back to the playoffs in a very competitive NL Central that featured two playoff clubs last season with the Brewers and Cubs.
For the Diamondbacks, it’s an interesting return. Luke Weaver has 1.112 days major league service time, so he is still a full five seasons from free agency and two away from arbitration. He will likely step right into one of Arizona’s vacant rotation spots. Weaver, 24, finished 2018 with a 7-11 record, 4.95 ERA in 136 1/3 innings across 25 starts and a handful of relief appearances.
Carson Kelly will take over the starting catching gig in Arizona, splitting time with incumbent Alex Avila. Kelly, 24, has 161 days major league service time, but his path was blocked in St. Louis by Cardinal icon Yadier Molina. He has a good defensive reputation, but he has yet to provide even average offense in very limited stints in the majors over the last three seasons.
As recently as 2017, Kelly was the Cardinals #2 prospect as rated by MLB.com, which had him as the #32 prospect overall in the MLB prior to that year. Baseball America had him as their #55 prospect in the MLB prior to this season.
Andy Young, 24, is not so heralded as the Weaver and Kelly, but he’s coming off a year in which he mashed his way through High-A (137 wRC+) and continued to rake in Double A (160 wRC+). Fangraphs recently ranked him as the #12 prospect in the Cardinals system.
The Competitive Balance Round picks are the only tradeable draft picks in June’s Rule 4 amateur draft, hence the Cardinals ability to include their Round B pick in this swap. It’s an interesting inclusion, as it allows the Diamondbacks to select their own guy at a relatively valuable spot after the completion of the second round.
This adds to GM Mike Hazen’s war chest of picks in the top 100 of next June’s draft. The Diamondbacks could end up with as many as five picks in the first one hundred.
Paul Goldschmidt ends his tenure in the desert as one of the greatest Arizona Diamondbacks of all time. Goldy leaves the Diamondbacks as the current all-time leader in offensive war (40.1 WAR), ten full wins above replacement higher than second place Luis Gonzalez (30.1 WAR).
With Patrick Corbin signing his new deal with the Nationals yesterday afternoon, the rebuild is on in Arizona. This trade of Goldschmidt leaves little doubt as to the direction of the Arizona Diamondbacks next season, though the ML-readiness of the pieces coming to Arizona at least hints at the possibility that ownership wants to get the Diamondbacks back into contention sooner rather than later.