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Thinking the Unthinkable: Trading Paul Goldschmidt

The Diamondbacks just wasted another year of prime Paul Goldschmidt, should the team trade him to revamp a barren farm system?

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

No I'm not crazy, or at least I don't think I am. This season went all types of bad and placed most of our projectable future on the trade altar and sacrificed it to the baseball gods. Still, many will argue our core is solid and it probably is. Which means fans can get worked up again when we trade for another innings eater. The reality is this team will take the same core from a 69-win team and pray things get better. I guess it helps when your core contains a perennial MVP candidate.

Paul Goldschmidt is about as perfect a player you could wish for. He's an asset in every facet of the game, on and off the field. He hits for average. He hits for power. He runs the basepaths well. He fields his position and wins Gold Gloves. The only thing you can complain about is he makes you look bad when your parents find out he's only 27 and is conquering the world while you struggle being an adult. Combine all of that with one of the most team-friendly deals in baseball for the next 3 years, America's First Baseman is one of the most valuable players in baseball, despite the unexpected dip in batting this season. If he were on the free agency market, there would be a massive bidding war for his services, with an end total probably reaching $30 million annually. If we hang onto Goldy and Greinke, the D-backs will have $60MM+ pledged to only two players, with lots of other guys looking for payouts like Pollock or Lamb. So let's take advantage of these facts and trade him away now.

Let's find some comparable trades to know exactly what we should look for in return. An immediate comparison is Justin Upton, who also had 3 years of control remaining when the Diamondbacks shipped him off for a plethora of prospects. Critics panned the trade from the get-go, claiming the D-backs received a poor return for a talent like Upton. The return was as follows: Martin Prado, Randall Delgado, Zeke Spruill, Nick Ahmed, and Brandon DruryAccording to John Sickels at Minor League Ball, Delgado was considered a MLB pitcher with #3 potential, Spruill was a back-end SP, Ahmed was glove-first utility infielder, and Drury was a lottery-ticket, being so young. We all know how that turned out.

Another comparable is Miguel Cabrera, traded back in 2003 from the Marlins to the Tigers. His haul included: Cameron Maybin (6th ranked prospect), Andrew Miller (10th), Eulogio De La Cruz and Dallas Trahern (both top-10 prospects in the Tigers organization). While Dontrelle Willis was included, he was replacement level at that point in his career. At the time of the trade, the consensus was the Marlins received fair value for an All-Star with 2 years remaining. Unfortunately, the Marlins squandered the talent and failed to complete their development, leading them to dump each of them before realizing their potential. Both are now solid players.

Now that we have some comparables, let's figure out what we would want in return. Young pitching talent is our first target. After finishing dead last in ERA (bottom 5 for FIP) and no ToR type help in the prospect pipeline, we need to get as close to MLB ready pitching as possible. Next is an OF prospect, preferably one close to the MLB level. With Yasmany Tomas performing at a replacement player level and other starters unable to stay healthy, we need to support A.J Pollock in the outfield with some young talent. Add in an assortment of top-10 organizational prospects and we're starting to see a clear picture as to why trading Paul Goldschmidt is a decision we need to take into consideration.

Of course, trading Goldschmidt has negatives. Plenty of them. First, Goldy is an elite player. These don't just grow on trees. As an organization looking to get back to the playoffs for the first time in 5 years, it's clear trading Goldy adds years onto the no-playoff timeline. If the team currently constructed struggled to the 5th worst record in franchise history, how much worse would they be without their star player? Second, trading your best player gives the fans a vote of no confidence now and in the future. If you can't win with one of the best players in the world, how else are you going to win? And thirdly, Goldy is a fantastic leader and person. He's the face of the franchise and is becoming a key figure in the community. After seeing a pair of brothers almost single-handedly destroy a Valley franchise, it's refreshing to see events such as Goldy's Bowling Bash, which help children and families at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Goldy remains a quiet and calming influence and a sign of hope for the D-backs.

In the end, it'll be the new GM's responsibility to decide, if he's even given that option. Trading Paul Goldschmidt would jumpstart a rebuild that would set them up to compete in the future while sacrificing the present. Holding onto him means you need to stay on the path of competing for the playoffs and hoping you scout, draft and develop your prospects like you've never done before. It's a tough decision, and one the organization needs to be right about, otherwise we'll only be known as the franchise who wasted an MVP, and that's a claim no one wants.