Personally, I certainly don’t want to trade Paul Goldschmidt. I’d like to see him have a long, successful career with Arizona, which ends with him becoming the second Diamondback inducted into the Hall of Fame. But the bottom line is, I cheer for the name on the front of the jersey, not the one on the back, and so having a successful Diamondbacks team is more important to me. Sadly, we have had five Opening Day rosters with Goldschmidt on them, and not once has Arizona ended the year with a winning record. It seems worth at least considering an alternative approach. So first of all, let’s stress this, which appears to have been missed by more than one person:
Important note: there's a difference between THINKING about trading Goldschmidt and ADVOCATING it. We're doing the former.— AZ SnakePit (@AZSnakepit) October 11, 2016
Now, moving on...
I’m obviously reluctant to speak on behalf of Mr. Burt. But to my mind, trading Goldschmidt would only be done as part of a full-on rebuild. I can’t imagine any credible scenario in which we’d be able to deal him and make the team immediately better. It would be more about making the team better down the line, and might also involve moving other pieces heading towards free-agency, including A.J. Pollock and possibly even Zack Greinke. As for what we would get back, we’d be giving up one of the top 10 players in baseball, so as a starting point, should look for someone with that potential. Plus additional pieces, for potential is worth less than Paul’s actual, proven ability, though control is obviously a factor here.
The specifics would likely depend on the timeframe. In the shorter term, if the team is looking to reload rather than rebuild, then high-quality and controllable pitching, close to the majors, would be the most obvious things. However, if Arizona is looking further down the road, then we would want players further down the road. And probably more of them, due to the larger gap between potential and realizing it.
There were a broad range of reactions on Twitter. Some were willing to contemplate the possibility
@AZSnakepit completely dependent on what you would get in return, and what else you can get for others like Tomas etc— Gabby Dearth (@the_real_gabby) October 11, 2016
Others... Not so much:
@AZSnakepit if the Dbacks trade Goldschmidt ever, I would never renew my season tickets. That would be almost as stupid as the Miller trade.— Eric England (@eengland12) October 11, 2016
@AZSnakepit I'm sorry. But I don't even want to THINK about it. I understand that he had a down year and he deserves a pennant shot. But NO!— T Plaisance (@bayouplaisance) October 11, 2016
@AZSnakepit Absolutely not. He's the face of the franchise, legit superstar. We're not waiting for his "potential". Would be an awful move.— Kevin Collins (@AllHailBrak57) October 11, 2016
@AZSnakepit you have some valid points, but trading Goldy would be a bad idea. Sure his numbers were down but still ranked high. Fab fave. Great player— MaryEllen Meadows (@ManaMeadows) October 11, 2016
The last makes an interesting point: would trading Goldschmidt now count as “selling low”? There can’t be many players for whom a 134 OPS+ and 4.4 bWAR would be that, but both numbers were the lowest Goldschmidt has posted since his sophomore season in 2012. Holding on to him, say, until the trade-deadline in 2017, would both allow us to see whether the team as constructed for next season can compete, and possibly allow Goldschmidt to return to the form he showed from 2013-15, when only two players were worth more bWAR.
The thread also got some traction over on Reddit, led by this comment from Antarix
For right now, the only thing the team can do is bide their time.
Pretty much every pitcher on the staff had less than 2 years of service time, or were having career worst seasons. Next season, guys will have more experience, will be in position for bounce back seasons, and the entire staff will (HOPEFULLY) not have the curse of Mike Butcher upon them.
On top of the reasons listed above, Goldy’s contract is so UNBELIEVABLY team friendly, no team will be capable, let alone willing to deal away all of the prospects that it would take to come close to Goldy's market value. Getting a player that's a perennial Everything candidate is tough, getting one that's making $34.5million over the next three season's is INSANE.
But, if the team has a repeat performance in 2017, then I'd expect them to start exploring the possibility of doing a complete make over. I REALLY don't want to do that, and I doubt that it will come to that. You add a healthy AJ Pollock and David Peralta back to this roster, and that's at least a middle tier team, EVEN IF all of the pitchers lay an egg in 2017.
Given the new front-office, that would make sense. While there may be a temptation for whoever is the new broom to come in and sweep clean, the reality is, they likely won’t have an enormous amount to work with in terms of resources, either cash or prospects. Outside of Segura, there isn’t really anyone else significant who could be considered a “sell high” candidate, so sitting tight for a few months and seeing where the team lies, is possibly the wisest option. On the pitching front, every one of the seven pitchers who threw most innings for us, had an ERA higher than their FIP, by amounts ranging from 0.20 (Randall Delgado) to 1.42 (Zack Godley), so there is grounds to hope for a general bounceback. At 4.50, overall team FIP was 0.59 runs below their ERA; better outfield defense (hello, Pollock) should also help.
I would certainly be shocked if Goldschmidt was not part of his sixth consecutive Opening Day Diamondbacks roster come April. But if the team doesn’t show significant improvement over the months that follow, there will be a point beyond which we need to accept that the roster, as constructed, just isn’t good enough to compete. If we’re to change that, Goldschmidt would be one of the most valuable assets as a trade chip. But I refer you back the first paragraph, and let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.