St. Louis Cardinals: Paul Goldschmidt
Last week, the president of the St. Louis Cardinals stated, "We're going to trade people". This week, we'll look at some targets:
The Background of the Comment:
(Note: This section is the same as our Monday article)
In 2022, the St. Louis Cardinals handedly won the NL Central, though the season had been another in a stream of recent disappointment. Not only did they see two homegrown future Hall of Famers retire in Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols (though Pujols did take a 10 year vacation away from St. Louis), but they lost in the NL Wild Card game/series for the 3rd straight season.
In the 11 seasons since their World Series win in 2011, the Cardinals had made just 1 other World Series, 3 NLCS series, 1 NLDS series, 3 wild cards, and missed the playoffs all together in 3 other seasons. For being the 2nd most winning franchise in the sport with 11 championships of their own, the last decade had shown promise with few results. In their last 7 years from 2016 to 2022 they made it to the NLDS once. During that stretch they saw a fellow NL Central team win the World Series (Chicago Cubs, 2016) as well as a former division rival in the Houston Astros win 2 (2017, 2022) and make 2 others (2019, 2021).
Luckily for the Cardinals, however they still had one of the best teams in baseball- on paper- coming into the 2023 season. They had the reigning 2022 NL MVP in Paul Goldschmidt, another yearly MVP contender and 6-time platinum glove winner in Nolan Arenado returning. They took an All-Star catcher in Willson Contreras from their division rival Cubs, and had a plethora of promising young talent to fill in with the likes of Lars Nootbaar, Nolan Gorman, Jordan Walker, and Brandon Donovan to name a few.
On the pitching side of things they had another homegrown and potential future Hall of Famer return with Adam Wainwright, as well as guys like Jack Flaherty (returning from injury), Jordan Montgomery, and Miles Mikolas for the rotation. The bullpen also looked okay, but with the abundance of other talent the team looked poised to make another great run.
Going into the 2023 All-Star break, the St. Louis Cardinals instead have a 38-52 record (.422 winning percentage) and are 5th in the NL Central. They hold the 6th worst record in the MLB, have a less than 1% chance to make the playoffs, and are 11.5 games back in their division.
It's so surprise that the president of the team, John Mozeliak stated, "We're going to trade people".
Could any of those people be of interest to the Yankees?
Paul Goldschmidt has had an incredibly interesting and extremely under-appreciated career in baseball. Much of this I owe to his playing 8 years with the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2011 to 2018. His team made the playoffs just twice- including 2011, when Goldschmidt was a rookie and played just 48 games- which kept them from the limelight and from casual baseball fans to know his name, and serious baseball fans from appreciating what he was doing. Now with the St. Louis Cardinals, Goldschmidt has become a name to know in baseball, helped along by this 2022 NL MVP, along with 7 career All-Star nods, 5 career Silver Slugger awards, and 4 career Gold Gloves.
In 13 career years through what he's done so far in 2023, Paul Goldschmidt has accumulated +60.9 bWAR/+56.6 fWAR and, like Arenado from yesterday, is on his own future path to the Hall of Fame 5 years after he retires. In 1707 career games, he has a combined .295/.390/.524/.913 quadruple slash with a 144 OPS+/144 wRC+. He also has collected 1847 hits, 330 home runs, and 1088 RBI's. He's also played in 150+ games in all but 2 full seasons in his career (one of which being 145 games played). He's another bona fide star.
In 2023, Paul Goldschmidt is again leading the St. Louis Cardinals with a +2.6 bWAR/+2.6 fWAR along with a .284/.369/.475/.844 quadruple slash and a 130 OPS+/133 wRC+. At age-35, this season is a step back from his career-best season in 2022, but it is still in-line with his career marks. Additionally, given the state of the team around him, it's hard to be upset with the best player on the team slightly underperforming his marks while there are much bigger problems afoot. It wouldn't surprise me to see his numbers tick back up if traded to a stronger team.
The worries about age for Goldschmidt are also relatively lacking. Though he is 35 now, his 5-year/$130 Million ($26M AAV) contract extension before the 2020 season expires at the end of next season. This reduces any long-term risk of acquiring an aging veteran player.
Trading for Goldschmidt:
Much like I stated yesterday, I am not going to go massively into specifics about a possible trade between the Yankees and Cardinals that could include Paul Goldschmidt today. Instead, I'll be publishing that article on Friday and looking specifically at Goldschmidt's trade value (as indicated by BaseballTradeValues.com).
Currently, Paul Goldschmidt is a positive trading asset for the St. Louis Cardinals with his +16.8 MTV. With his shortened length of contract, even while in his mid-30's, Goldschmidt is still a very valuable player to have on any team.
It is interesting that Goldschmidt's positive value almost entirely cancels out the negative value of Nolan Arenado, who we saw yesterday had a -17.3 MTV. Combined, they come out to a -0.5 MTV.
Of course, the Cardinals would be insane to trade away these two players for a net return of nothing and if I was to tout the idea of that happening, I'd argue that I'd risk losing any credibility behind my opinions. I'm not suggesting that an Arenado & Goldschmidt trade would net the Cardinals back no return. Instead, I wanted to highlight the value of short and long-term contracts, age, performance, and projectability.
With all that being said, however, on Friday I may (or may not) have both in my speculative deal.
I'll see you tomorrow with another player of interest from the Cardinals!