The Arizona Diamondbacks have made no secret of their willingness to at least listen to offers for superstar first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy is entering the final year of his current contract, and even at the highest salary of his career ($14.5 million for next season), would still represent excellent value for money. When Jack looked at Goldy’s trade value, he concluded even just one year was worth “a hitting prospect in the 51-75 range or a pitching prospect in the 26-50 range.” And that estimate did not include an additional piece of value: if the team trades him before Opening Day, his new team will get to extend a Qualifying Offer to Goldschmidt at season end, likely netting them an additional draft pick for 2020.
But now, we have the first tangible and specific reports of possible trade partners, rather than vague and generic “We’ll listen to anything” comments. According to Ken Rosenthal of The Atlantic last night:
#Astros, #STLCards are the two teams that have had the most meaningful discussions with the #DBacks about a trade for Paul Goldschmidt, sources tell The Athletic. No deal is close; talks not yet advanced.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 20, 2018
The Cardinals may initially seem a little bit of a surprise, as at firt glance they have a perfectly serviceable first baseman under control, in the shape of Jose Martinez. He batted .305 last year, with an OPS+ of 124, and is not even arbitration-eligible until next year. However, he was defensively poor, even at first, to such an extent that the Cardinals ended up largely moving Martinez to the outfield in the second half. An interesting quote from veteran infield instructor with St. Louis, Jose Oquendo in that piece: “I always say that it’s my belief that when you have Gold Glove-caliber infielders, you have to have a Gold Glove-caliber first baseman.” Paging Mr. Goldschmidt...
In Houston, the incumbent is Yuli Gurriel, and much like Martinez, he was serviceable with the bat, and less so with the glove. Despite being 34, he has similar service time too, mostly because Gurriel did not make his major-league debut until the age of 32. He was overall worth 2.2. bWAR last season, so a likely five-win season from Goldschmidt would represent a nice uptick for the Astros. Not that he has any say in the matter, but I suspect that Goldy might not mind a return to the Lone Star state, having gone to high-school in the Houston area (and being an unsigned draftee for the Dodgers at that point - we dodged a bullet there!), then on to college at Texas State.
Both teams are in a contention window. The Astros reached the ALCS this year, before being beaten by the Red Sox. The Cardinals didn’t make the post-season, but posted their 11th consecutive winning season, and at 88 wins, weren’t far out in a very competitive NL Central, so Paul would help them over that. Somewhat related, last week David Schoenfeld of ESPN came up with this trade involving Goldschmidt and the Cardinals: Paul Goldschmidt and Zack Greinke for Luke Weaver, Dakota Hudson and Jose Martinez. “Two potential starting pitchers plus a replacement for Goldschmidt -- and it would allow them some financial flexibility after dumping the $104.5 million left on Greinke’s contract.”
So, what do we think? Feel free to brainstom potential trades involving either team. What would be looking for? What seems like a fair exchange? And do we look to tie Greinke into the deal, for that sweet payroll flexibility?