St. Louis Cardinals MLB Notebook – Week of December 3-9

photo: Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)

In this past week’s news, Paul Goldschmidt became a St. Louis Cardinal and former Cardinals closer Lee Smith was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame. In our weekly history feature, the acquisition and re-signing of Matt Holliday is remembered.

Goldschmidt Joins Cardinals

Paul Goldschmidt (Rick Scuteri/USA TODAY Sports)

The search for a middle of the order bat came to an end last week with the announcement that the Cardinals had acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a four player swap.

Going to Arizona in the trade are pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, and minor league infielder Andy Young.  Also going to the Diamondbacks is the Cardinals’ 2019 Competitive Balance Round B draft pick.

Goldschmidt, 31, is coming to St. Louis with one year remaining on his six year/$44.5 million contract.  The Cardinals will pay the first baseman $15.5 MM for 2019 – $14.5 MM for the final year plus a $1MM trade bonus included in his contract.

The slugger put up a career slash line with Arizona of .297/.398/.532.  Goldschmidt hit 209 home runs and drove in 710 in his eight years in Arizona.  He won four Gold Gloves and made six All-Star Game appearances.

The Cardinals say goodbye to Luke Weaver, who debuted in St. Louis in 2016.  Weaver made 10 starts for the Cardinals in 2017 and posted a respectable 3.88 ERA.  Weaver struggled in 2018, making 25 starts for a record 7-11 and an ERA of 4.95.

Kelly, 24, also debuted in 2016, but has spent most of the time since getting regular playing time in Memphis.  The continued presence of Yadier Molina in the starting catching role through 2020 has kept Kelly from any meaningful role in St. Louis.

Andy Young was St. Louis’ 37th round draft pick in 2016.  The infielder spent 2018 in Palm Beach and Springfield and was one of a handful of Cardinal minor leaguers to play in the Arizona Fall League, where he distinguished himself by putting up a .936 OPS in the six week span there.

The Cardinals introduced Goldschmidt to the St. Louis media and fans at a Wednesday morning press conference.  Goldschmidt will wear uniform number 46.

Lee Smith (Getty Images)

Lee Smith to Enter Hall of Fame

Former Cardinals closer Lee Smith has been selected to join Baseball’s Hall of Fame, selected by a unanimous vote of the 16-member Today’s Game committee and announced Sunday night. Former White Sox outfielder Harold Baines was also selected, with the minimum qualifying vote of 12.

At the time of his 1997 retirement, Smith, 61, held MLB’s career saves record with 478. 160 of those saves were earned with St. Louis from 1990-1993. Smith will feature a Cubs cap logo on his Hall plaque, acknowledging his longest and most successful period (eight years) of a MLB career that lasted for 18 seasons.

Steve Turco (St. Louis Cardinals)

Turco honored by Minor League Baseball

Also honored on Sunday evening as the Winter Meetings opened was Steve Turco, the recipient of Minor League Baseball’s Mike Coolbaugh Award for outstanding work ethic, baseball know-how and prospect mentorship.

The recently-retired 62-year old was a player, scout, instructor, coach and league champion manager for the Cardinals organization going back to 1978. Turco is a two-time winner of the George Kissell Award for player development excellence.

Trade and Acquisition Rumors

Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch writes that the Cardinals go into the Winter Meetings with several goals, including a left handed reliever, a backup catcher, and a left handed bench bat.  Goold reports that the Cardinals have remained engaged in talks with relievers Zach Britton and Andrew Miller.  The Cardinals also have had talks with the agent of former Cardinal Daniel Descalso to fill the role of the left-handed bench bat.  Also rumored to be in consideration is Derek Dietrich, non-tendered by the Marlins at the end of November.   Also on the Cardinals’ radar is Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi.  As for backup catcher, the Cardinals have not ruled out a reunion with Francisco Pena.

Goold writes that the Cardinals are not completely out on superstar free agent Bryce Harper, but their interest would hinge on the length of the contract.  Harper is reportedly looking for a 10-year commitment, but the Cardinals would require a shorter term.


  • 12/5 The Cardinals acquired 1B Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for C Carson Kelly, RHP Luke Weaver, 2B Andy Young, and a Competitive Balance draft pick.

Injury Report

In the next week, Yadier Molina is expected to have minor cleanup surgery to remove a bone spur from his left knee, a procedure that is not expected to put his 2019 readiness at any risk. The 36-year old catcher recently participated an MLB goodwill tour of Japan.

Looking Ahead

The Winter Meetings are now underway in Las Vegas.  The Rule 5 Draft is scheduled the final morning of Thursday, December 13. The 40-man roster is at 39 after the trade with Arizona, leaving one spot available for a possible pick up in that draft.

January 11, 2019 is the deadline for clubs and arbitration eligible players to exchange salary information.  Last week’s agreement with Chasen Shreve reduces the Cardinals unsigned arbitration players to three.  Any arbitration hearings that become necessary will occur in February with Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna and Dominic Leone. Wacha and the Cardinals went to a hearing in February of 2017, the first arbitration hearing for the Cardinals since 1999.  The Cardinals prevailed in Wacha’s 2017 hearing.  Wacha and the Cardinals avoided a hearing last season.

The annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up fan festival will be held on January 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency at the Arch in St. Louis. Admission tickets and autograph tickets are currently on sale.

Blast from the Past

The trade and acquisition series began with remembrances of both good and bad trades in Cardinals’ history.  Last week covered a notable free agent signing, that of starting pitcher Chris Carpenter.

This week’s contribution is a look at a prior Cardinals transaction that was in a sense both a trade and a free agent signing.

Matt Holliday (USA TODAY Sports Images)

The Cardinals acquired outfielder Matt Holliday in a trade from the Oakland Athletics on July 24, 2009 for prospects Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen, and Shane Peterson and $1.5 MM.

Holliday had been acquired by Oakland in November of 2008 in a trade with the Colorado Rockies.  Holliday was drafted by Colorado and played for the Rockies from 2004 through the 2008 season.

The mid-season trade to the Cardinals ended with a NL Central title and a trip to the postseason.  The Cardinals were swept in four games in the NLDS against the Dodgers, a series that included a notable defensive miscue by Holliday, who dropped a line drive that resulted in a 2-1 St. Louis lead becoming a 3-2 in Game 2.  Not an auspicious start for the new Cardinal.

Holliday filed for free agency on November 5, 2009.  In January, 2010, the Cardinals signed Holliday to a seven year, $120 million dollar deal.  The contract contained a no-trade clause and a $17 million dollar team option for 2017.  It was the largest deal in team history at the time.

Over those seven years, Holliday slashed a cumulative .288/.377/.486 for the Cardinals.  He hit 143 home runs and drove in 561.  Holliday made four All-Star Games and won a Silver Slugger Award in 2010.  His time with the Cardinals also included contributions to the 2011 World Series Championship.

In the offseason of 2016, the Cardinals declined Holliday’s 2017 team option and Holliday filed for free agency a second time.  He signed a one-year contract with the New York Yankees.  After not being initially signed by any club for 2018, the Rockies signed Holliday to a minor league contract in late July.  Holliday was called up on August 23 and played for the Rockies the remainder of the season. He is currently a free agent for the third time.

The seven-year contract is widely considered one of the better free agent deals the Cardinals have made.  It was a deal that really began with a trade and was extended beyond that.

Will the Cardinals have lightning strike twice with Paul Goldschmidt and sign the newly acquired Cardinal to a contract to stay in St. Louis past 2019?  Stay tuned and see if history repeats itself.

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