The St. Louis Cardinals have acquired first baseman slugger Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for catcher Carson Kelly, pitcher Luke Weaver, and infielder Andy Young, the teams announced Wednesday. The D-Backs will also receive a 2019 draft pick from St. Louis.
It is the second big loss this week for the Arizona Diamondbacks, as left handed pitcher Patrick Corbin accepted a six year, $140 million dollar offer by the Washington Nationals. Corbin, 29, pitched all of his first six seasons in the majors with the Diamondbacks.
Goldschmidt, who is 31, has been an All-Star selection for the past six seasons, had a .290 batting average with 33 home runs, 83 RBIs, and 90 walks last season. His .922 OPS ranked third in the NL and his .934 OPS since 2012 is second highest in the NL behind Cincinnati's Joey Votto during those years.
St. Louis went 88-74 and believed it needed a boost in the middle of a lineup that includes Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna and Yadier Molina to compete with the likes of the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals' postseason drought is their longest 1997-99.
Goldschmidt, who has finished second or third in National League MVP voting three times, is heading into his final season of club control and receives a $1 million assignment bonus for the trade. He stands to earn $14.5 million in 2019 before reaching free agency next winter.
Considered the face of the franchise, the quiet, but fan friendly Goldschmidt was a consistent performer both at the plate and in the field during his eight seasons with the Diamondbacks, winning four Silver Slugger Awards and three Gold Gloves.
The chatter around Arizona has already begun of how could they trade "our" player? "This was an extremely difficult decision given how much Paul has meant to our team both on and off the field," Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said. "He represents everything it means to be a D-back, and we are very thankful to him for all that he has done for our franchise and our fans."
Goldschmidt has had four seasons with at least 33 home runs and has 209 overall. He also has a .297 career batting average with 710 RBIs, and he ranks second only to Luis Gonzalez in franchise history in all three categories.
The D-Backs this past year faded to third place towards the end of the season, finishing (82-80) in the NL West. Arizona finished behind the L.A. Dodgers and Colorado, who both made the playoffs.
It is obvious the Diamondbacks are in rebuilding mode, now that they have parted ways with a homegrown player who grew to be the face of the franchise but is nearing the end of an extremely team-friendly contract. "Goldy" as he is known by was an eighth-round draft pick out of Texas State in 2009, quickly moved through the Arizona minor league system and advanced to the big league club in 2011.
The three players Arizona picked up are Carson Kelly, who is 24 years old, had a .154 batting average in limited action over parts of three seasons, is highly regarded for his defensive ability and was ranked as one of the Cardinals' top prospects. Which could mean that the current catching group could be on the move as well. Right handed pitcher Luke Weaver, who is 25 years old, went (7-11) with an ERA of 4.95, with 121 strikeouts in 25 starts last season. Andy Young, who is 24 years old, hit a combined .289 in Double-A, finished fifth in the 2018 Arizona Fall League with a .936 OPS.