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Scoping a Potential Offseason Trade Market for Goldy

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What teams might be interested in Goldy for 2019?

Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

There has been a lot of speculation about what the Arizona Diamondbacks should do about Paul Goldschmidt for 2019 as Goldy becomes a free agent in 2020. At this time, the team has not ruled out a rebuild with Bob Nightengale reporting that the team will “listen” to offers on Goldy:

This article is not going to focus on whether the team should trade Goldschmidt or not. Rather, the focus will be on what trade market for Goldy will look like. Because this trade market looks to be huge and could be especially huge for Goldy because of one simple fact.

Look at the free agent market for first basemen this year:

2018-2019 MLB Free Agent First Basemen

Player 2018 fWAR
Player 2018 fWAR
Matt Adams 0.8
Lucas Duda 0
David Freese 2
Marwin Gonzalez 1.6
Joe Mauer 1
Logan Morrison -0.7
Steve Pearce 1.6
Hanley Ramirez -0.2
Mark Reynolds 0.1
Justin Smoak 1.7
Danny Valencia -0.4

That is not an inspiring list of free agents. Furthermore, the two best players from that list, David Freese and Justin Smoak, both have team options next year ($6 and $8 million, respectively) and may not hit the market at all. The rest of that list combined for 3.8 fWAR or -1.3 WBG (Wins Below Goldy). So if a team is looking to get an affordable upgrade at 1B, Goldy is almost certainly the best available player this season unless something crazy happens.

So, Goldy is likely to be a hot commodity this offseason. It makes sense for the Diamondbacks to try and trade him - this is a seller’s market. So, then, what teams would be interested in possibly trading for Goldy? Projections aren’t out for next year, so this season’s win totals with some common sense will be used as an approximation for potential suitors. Let’s start with this year’s playoff teams, as every single one of them is in shape to try and contend next year:

2018 Playoff Teams

Team Wins Avg 1B WAR
Team Wins Avg 1B WAR
Dodgers 92 7.2
Braves 90 5.65
Athletics 97 3.85
Brewers 96 3.75
Cubs 95 2.8
Astros 103 2.3
Red Sox 108 1.65
Indians 91 1.35
Yankees 100 1.3
Rockies 91 -1.3

Note: the third column lists “Avg 1B WAR” which is simply a combination of their fWAR and bWAR for 2018 at 1B.

The Dodgers, Braves, Athletics, Brewers, and Cubs can all be effectively eliminated for next year. They all have regular players at 1B that provided good value and will be back next year. The rest of the list, however, could all find use for Goldy.

Houston Astros: The Astros are the least likely in this group, as 27-year-old Tyler White posted a surprising 1.5 fWAR in only 237 PA. He was an unheralded prospect, drafted in the 33rd round, so the Astros might have their doubts. The Astros could also move White and/or Goldy to DH and use the other at 1B since their only other DH was Evan Gattis, who put up 0 fWAR in 2018. The Astros do have a highly-regarded 1B prospect, Yordan Alvarez, so trading for just 1 year of Goldy might work out well for their competitive market.

Boston Red Sox: Another team that is just oozing with talent, the Red Sox got good production from Steve Pearce (1.2 fWAR in 165 PA) as a platoon bat and pretty much nothing else from Mitch Mooreland or Hanley Ramirez. The Red Sox are locked in at DH with JD Martinez so Goldy would be looked at only at 1B (which makes sense as Goldy as DH is a huge waste of value). Goldy can provide the same value, if not more, against LHP like Steve Pearce while being a huge upgrade over Mitch Moreland, who is signed for 1 more year at $6.5 million. The Red Sox make a lot of sense for a Goldy landing spot.

Cleveland Indians: Another team with a ton of talent across the board but lacking production at 1B. The Indians will have a strong team again next season and might want to look into upgrades. The one downside here is that Yonder Alonso, who put up 0.7 fWAR last year, is under contract for 2 more years and $17 million, so it will be hard to justify eating that cost. However, the Diamondbacks could take Alonso back in exchange for a better return, especially considering the strength of the Indians farm system.

New York Yankees: How many more elite teams do we have next year that have a huge hole at 1B? After their quick exit from the playoffs, the Yankees might be more motivated next season to make a move to try and compete with the Red Sox. The Yankees acquired Luke Voit from the Cardinals last year as an under-the-radar trade and he exploded for 15 homers (!!!) in only 161 PA. However, it’s hard to see this level of success being sustainable for Voit. The Yankees have a farm system that can certainly handle a Goldy trade and if they have doubts about Voit, could pursue Goldy. But they might be more inclined to wait and see before making a move for Goldy.

Colorado Rockies: Here we go, the Rockies are a bit further away from the other teams above but are still likely to be going for it all next season. The Rockies were one of the worst teams in the MLB at 1B last year, mostly due to playing Ian Desmond a whopping 619 PA for -0.7 fWAR. Pat Valaika and Ryan McMahon weren’t much better. Goldy would be a massive upgrade for the Colorado Rockies for 2019.

The one downside, of course, is Ian Desmond, who still has 4 years and $53 million remaining on his contract. Unless the Rockies decide to Eric Byrnes him, he’s going to play somewhere. They can try moving him to the OF and get rid of the replacement-level Gerardo Parra in the process, but that will only further delay their upcoming star, David Dahl. The Rockies will need to get creative in they want Goldy next year but it’s something that can definitely be done.

However, we’re not done, because there are plenty of teams that didn’t make the playoffs that could still be viable contenders next year. The list:

Other Potential 2019 Contenders

Team Wins Avg 1B WAR
Team Wins Avg 1B WAR
Cardinals 88 5.2
Diamondbacks 82 5.15
Rays 90 2.2
Nationals 82 1.9
Phillies 80 1.7
Pirates 82 0.9
Twins 78 0.65
Mariners 89 -0.3
Angels 80 -0.55

The Cardinals have Matt Carpenter and Jose Martinez at 1B so they’re out. And the Diamondbacks can obviously just keep Goldy if they want so they’re out. The rest of these teams, however, would be very interested in a Goldy trade.

Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays will try to contend next year, but they’re up for a huge task sharing a division with the Yankees and Red Sox. They acquired CJ Cron last year but he’s primarily suited to be their DH, living room for Goldy at 1st. The Rays have been more aggressive on trades as of late and have a good farm system. They could be an under-the-radar suitor for Goldy.

Washington Nationals: Losing Harper and having an aging team with a lot of questions seems to imply that they will not be in contention status next year. However, they still have a solid team if they want to try for next year and Goldschmidt would certain provide an upgrade over the aging Ryan Zimmerman. However, Zimmerman is still under contract for 2 more years and $36 million, so going after Goldy seems very unlikely. The Nationals are probably the team least likely on either list to pursue Goldy.

Philadelphia Phillies: The Phillies are definitely interested in winning next year and are inching closer to having a great team. They will probably want a longer solution at 1B than Goldy, considering Carlos Santana is under contract for 2 more years and $41 million and nowhere to go. Still, Santana is not very good and the Diamondbacks can certainly eat salary for a bigger return if the Phillies wanted to make something happen. Put them as a firm “maybe”.

Pittsburgh Pirates/Minnesota Twins: The Pirates and Twins are both fringe teams for next year so it’s a bit difficult to tell which direction they will go. Goldy will certain be an upgrade if either team tries to go for a serious run next season. The Twins have pretty much nobody of relevance slated for either 1B or DH next year so Goldy will fit with ease. The Pirates have the disappointing Josh Bell at 1B, though he still has 4 more years of control left. Bell can still be sent down to the minors and he’s low cost so the Pirates can certainly make a move for Goldy if they wanted.

Seattle Mariners: The Mariners surprised for 89 wins this year and will probably want to keep pressing forward for a serious run next year. Lookout Landing, our Seattle Mariners sister-site, had a very lengthy discussion whether the Mariners should rebuild, retool, or go all-in and the all-in choice won handily. The Mariners have Ryon Healy, he of -0.8 fWAR, at 1B for next year so a trade for Goldy is a substantial improvement. The Mariners have a dreadful farm system so it might be difficult to make a trade happen but don’t be surprised to see an aggressive attempt for Goldy this offseason.

Los Angeles Angels: Another team that was ready to contend last year but had it cut short due to injuries. Unfortunately, Shohei Ohtani won’t be able to pitch next year due to Tommy John surgery, he should still be able to hit. Can you just imagine having Goldy and Mike Trout on the same team, even if it’s just for one season? The Angels are also one of the teams that could use an upgrade to their starting rotation AND can afford to pay for Greinke’s salary, so a Goldy + Greinke trade might be in store here. They still have the Albert Pujols problem which might prevent such a trade from happening.

This is going to be a really interesting offseason. The market for Goldy is probably going to be gigantic with all of the holes at 1B for these possible contenders next year and the absolutely abysmal free agent class. Again, this article isn’t implying if the Diamondbacks should trade Goldy or not, but expect to hear plenty of speculation and teams inquiring on Goldy. The Diamondbacks will be in a position of massive leverage so it will be interesting to see how it pans out.