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Gold for Goldschmidt: Analyzing the extension

Paul Goldschmidt was never exactly going to be on the first train out of Arizona. But he is now locked up, with his cost controlled, forever. Or perhaps it just seems that way...

Rich Pilling

Let's start by updating my favorite chart.

2013 2014 2015 2016
C Montero $10m Montero $10m Montero $12m Montero $14m
1B Goldschmidt min. Goldschmidt $1m Goldschmidt$3m Goldschmidt$5.75m
2B Hill $5.5m Hill $11m Hill $12m Hill $12m
SS Pennington $1.75m Pennington $3.25m Gregorius min. Gregorius min.
3B Prado $7m Davidson min. Davidson min. Davidson min.
LF Kubel $7.5m Prado $11m Prado $11m Prado $11m
CF Eaton min. Eaton min. Eaton min. Eaton Arb1
RF Ross $6.5m Ross $9.5m Ross $9.5m Ross $9.5m
Tot $39.25m $46.75m $49m $53.25+Arb1

It's just another piece of cost-certainty. for the Diamondbacks, who it basically appears, no longer need to worry about any position players until 2017. Well, I'm sure we'll be worrying about them regardless, but the team we'll see on Monday is not going to be losing much to free agency before that point. It does get more costly each season, but the increase seems manageable, especially with a new TV deal looming in the second-half of that period. There will likely be some tough decisions to be made later on, because there's no way everyone can be retained, but it seems like a well-balanced mix of youth and experience.

As we already discussed, the most obvious comparison for this deal is the one recently signed by Allen Craig with the St. Louis Cardinals. There's a slight difference in that Allen's starts immediately, while Goldzilla's won't kick in until next year [he reached an agreement with the team at the start of the month [the exact salary for 2013 isn't known, but it's likely close to half a million]. However, both contracts cover the first year of pre-arbitration, the three arbitration campaigns. and one year of free agency, with a team option for a second year. So, let's stack the two deals alongside each other, matching each player's season up.

Allen Craig Paul Goldschmidt
Year Value Buyout Value Year
2012 [$0.495M]
Servitude [$0.5m] 2013
2013 $1.75M Servitude $1.00M 2014
2014 $2.75M Arbitration $3.00M 2015
2015 $5.5M Arbitration $5.75M 2016
2016 $9.00M Arbitration $8.75M 2017
2017 $11.00M Free Agency $11.00M 2018
(2018) ($13M/$1M) (Free Agency) ($14.5M/$2m) (2019)

Goldie's contract also includes a $500K signing bonus, not included above. If we throw that on to the 2014 salary, you can see that the breakdown matches Allen's deal very closely, with no more than a quarter-million dollars difference, until the option year. It's probably the case that Goldschmidt is slightly cheaper, on the basis of his deal starting a season later, so will be offset by an additional year of inflation. But they're basically strikingly similar, though even with that additional campaign, Goldschmidt is close to two years younger.

Will it be worth it? Over the course of the contract, it's kinda hard to see how it won't be. $32m over five years probably doesn't require much more than one WAR per year to be credible. Last season, Goldschmidt proved 2.8 fWAR or 3.3 bWAR, and that was while hitting right-handed pitching at a mediocre .739 OPS, the knock on his numbers noted by just about everyone. Really, as long as he keeps destroying southpaws like his fire-breathing Japanese namesake, and playing good defense, he need to be little more than "barely competent" against righties, and we can take two WAR or more to the bank.

Of course, it is worth bearing in mind that this isn't someone the team was going to lose anytime soon: even before the deal, Goldschmidt was under team control through 2018, and the Diamondbacks could easily have gone through until then, paying him season to season, based on his performance to date. It would certainly have been cheaper in 2014 to do that. However, beyond that? Who can tell. There was only a single first-year arbitration 1B in this year's crop, and Daric Barton is not a credible comparable for... well, anyone save Daric Barton. But I would take the over on Goldschmidt's performance being worth $3 million in 2015, and hopefully good value beyond that too.