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Arizona Diamondbacks 2017-18 off-season issues #10: First-base

The position of least concern? This is my unsurprised face...

MLB: NL Wildcard-Colorado Rockies at Arizona Diamondbacks Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to the 210 people who took our survey, which asked you how concerned you were this winter, about ten areas on the Arizona Diamondbacks (the eight positions, plus starting and relief pitching). Having now got all the impending free-agents and option players out of the way, it’s time to start looking at these areas. We’ll be going up the list, from 10th to 1st place. I don’t think there’s any shock at the spot on the diamond where Diamondbacks’ fans are least concerned...

I was almost tempted to presume all the votes at the top end of the chart were trolling, and exclude them. But in the end, it didn’t matter in the slightest. The overall score here was only 2.14, which made first-base the area of greatest satisfaction, as we enter the off-season, by a full 1.9 points. 86% of all voters had it down as a three or less on their concern scale.

2017 starters

  • Paul Goldschmidt: 150
  • Daniel Descalso: 8
  • Adam Rosales: 1
  • Chris Herrmann: 1
  • Christian Walker: 1
  • Kristopher Negron: 1


  • 3.3 bWAR above average at the position (2nd in MLB)
  • .288/.397/.535 = .932 OPS, 35 HR, 124 RBI

2018 depth chart

  1. Paul Goldschmidt
  2. Daniel Descalso
  3. Christian Walker
  4. Kristopher Negron

The only significant question as we go into the winter appears to be, should we order scorecard with Goldschmidt’s name pre-printed on them? Y’know, just to save time? After another All-Star season, he looks set to be among the MVP contenders in the National League, and we expect njoy another season of arguably the most complete package in baseball. He is truly a five-tool player: to review, hitting for average; hitting for power; baserunning skills and speed; throwing ability; and fielding abilities. Have one nugget. Only two active 1B have more than 72 SB. One is Albert Pujols (110), who has been in the majors since 2001. Goldy arrived a decade later, and has seven more.

But there is a cloud on the horizon, in the shape of Goldschmidt’s contract. It seemed like forever, when he signed a five-year extension just before the start of the 2013 season. But next year is the last guaranteed year of that contract. Now, the team does have an option for 2019 (and at $14 million, it seems the very definition of a no-brainer). But the post-Goldschmidt future is inching closer, and the team will have to decide how it wants to handle it. It’s likely best to do so sooner, rather than later. I can hardly bring myself to type this, but the hard fact it, if no agreement can be reached, then his value in trade will get lower, the closer he goes to free-agency.

On that basis, I would certainly be looking to get talks on a contract extension started sooner, rather than later. The team should tread cautiously, because the last thing we want is to be stuck with a contract like the Pujols one in Anaheim. As a reminder: over the past two years, Albert has been worth -0.4 bWAR and been paid $51 million. But wait! There’s more! For he’s signed by the Angels for another four years at $114 million, plus a $10 million “personal services” contract after that. Great though Goldschmidt has unquestionably been, that won’t continue forever. He turns 32 just before the current deal is up: I’d say perhaps two or three more years?

I don’t know when the D-backs will want to start having that discussion. Since the original deal was signed, Goldschmidt reportedly changed agents in July last year, and is now with Casey Close at Excel Sports Management. If not quite Scott Boras (hello to J.D. Martinez’s brand new agent!), that’s the same company who got Clayton Kershaw his massive contract. So it’s unlikely any new deal will be as absurdly, wonderfully team friendly as this one has been. Since the extension was signed, Goldschmidt has been paid about $19.45 million - so, quite a bit less than one recent year of Pujols - and given the Diamondbacks a total of 31.0 bWAR.

As for 2017, the only question will hopefully i.e. good health permitting, be who gets to play 1B on the rare occasions Goldschmidt is forced to take a day off. This year, it was mostly Descalso, but I’d not be averse as an alternative to seeing some more of Christian Walker. The 26-year-old hit two home-runs in just 12 MLB at-bats for us, on top of 32 while batting .309 for the Aces. Even applying the Reno correction to his .980 OPS there would still result in a serviceable level of production. He would also have the potential to be a potent right-handed bat off the bench. But I’ll leave further discussion of him to Curtis when our player review series reaches Walker next Tuesday!