Jon Heyman of Fancred Sports broke the news, and the Cardinals were quick to confirm the deal, which includes three players and a draft pick going back to Arizona. It’s another big-name move in a week where baseball’s Hot Stove season has seen Robinson Cano get traded to the New York Mets and top free-agent pitcher Patrick Corbin sign with the Washington Nationals.
The #STLCards have acquired six-time NL All-Star 1B Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for C Carson Kelly, RHP Luke Weaver, INF Andy Young and the club's Compensation Round B selection in the 2019 MLB Draft. #TimeToFly pic.twitter.com/65SThIrDli
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) December 5, 2018
The two teams have been linked for a few days and seemed like a strong fit — with Goldschmidt entering free agency after the 2019 season, the D-backs looking to rebuild and the Cardinals looking to keep up with the Cubs and Brewers in the NL Central.
Goldschmidt, 31, is a two-time MVP runner-up who has averaged 31 homers and 105 RBIs per 162 games throughout his career. He’ll immediately take over at first base in St. Louis and hit in the middle of the order. Matt Carpenter, St. Louis’ versatile MVP candidate, will move back to third base. With a nucleus of those two, plus Marcell Ozuna, Harrison Bader and Paul DeJong, the Cardinals are hoping to do better than 2018’s third-place finish in the NL Central.
Promising youngsters Carson Kelly and Luke Weaver headline the package going back to the D-backs. Kelly is a former second-round pick who was stuck behind Yadier Molina as St. Louis’ catcher and figures to be a frontline backstop for the D-backs. Weaver, 25, came into 2018 with a lot of hype and ultimately disappointed with a 7-11 record and 4.95 ERA, but he was quite good in 2017 and still has a lot of upside. Young, meanwhile, is a 24-year-old infielder who hit .289 with 21 homers across two levels of minor-league play last year.
The next question for the D-backs is who else is on the block. If they’re willing to part with Goldschmidt, their face of the franchise, then are they willing to go into full rebuild mode now that Corbin is gone and A.J. Pollock is also a free agent? If so, is Zack Greinke a trade candidate? Would another team take on his contract?
The trade means that the Cardinals are likely out of the competition for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, but will still be looking to improve elsewhere. They’ll also probably want to consider what it would take to sign Goldschmidt long-term, as he’ll be one of the top free agents next offseason and they have a year to lock him up before anybody else does.
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