When Paul Goldschmidt was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in December, in the final year of his contract, there was always a fragment of hope that he might return to Arizona as a free-agent after this season. That now seems to have dissolved like morning dew, with the news this afternoon that Goldschmidt has apparently signed a five-year contract extension with the Cardinals. The extension will cover 2020-2024, his age 32-36 seasons, and according to Derrick Gould, is at a price of around $130 million. [Early reports by Ken Rosenthal said $110 million, that statement albeit prefixed by the somewhat weasely “at least”. You could say it was “at least” twenty bucks too, and be just as right...]
We’re still waiting for full details, including a breakdown of the seasons. But the question has to be asked: could the D-backs have afforded this? It does seem Goldy signed for less than expected: my personal expectations were along the lines of six years, $150 million. Perhaps he saw the market for those on the far side of thirty this winter, and decided to go for the “sure thing” now, rather than risk becoming next winter’s Dallas Keuchel. That would not surprise me: Goldschmidt seems like a considerably more risk-averse guy than Manny Machado or Bryce Harper - witness his early signing of an extension in Arizona. The absolute financial security which this represents for his family should not be under-rated.
If John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports is believed, this deal is also considerably less money that the first baseman was seeking in an extension from Arizona. He tweeted, “Last spring Paul Goldschmidt had two years left on his current contract for roughly 25 million - was looking for 5 year extension worth $175 [million] in new money with Arizona.” That certainly explains why discussions between the two sides broke down. Once he was dealt to St. Louis, the ball was no longer in Arizona’s court. I’m delighted for Goldschmidt, who certainly deserves every penny of what he’ll be getting over those five years, considering how much he over-produced in the last five.
But it’s sad to realize that America’s first baseman almost certainly won’t be Arizona’s first baseman ever again.