photo: Paul Goldschmidt (St. Louis Cardinals)
The Cardinal Nation’s countdown of the St. Louis Cardinals top 10 stories of 2018 is down to number three – the December 5 acquisition of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The price was high: three players – pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly and second baseman Andy Young – plus St. Louis’ 2019 Competitive Balance Draft Pick B for what is only assured of being one season of the services of the 31-year old slugger.
Yet, for 2019, the addition of Goldschmidt, the best hitter to appear in St. Louis’ lineup since Albert Pujols, changes the balance of power in the National League Central Division. Following the trade, Fangraphs’ projections have the Cardinals and Cubs co-favorites with 87 wins.
The Texas resident has been a National League All-Star each of the past six seasons (2013-2018), and he is a four-time (2013, 2015, 2017, 2018) N.L. Silver Slugger award winner and three-time (2013, 2015, 2017) Gold Glove Award recipient. Goldschmidt is the lone N.L. player to be named an All-Star each of the past six seasons, further reinforcing his consistent excellence.
Goldschmidt has a career .297 batting average with 209 home runs and 710 RBI in 1,092 games and has hit 30 or more home runs in four of the last six seasons, including a league-leading 36 in 2013 when he finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting.
The right-handed hitter has career .398 on-base and .532 slugging percentages, and since 2013, ranks second among National League leaders in home runs (181), RBI (602), hits (996), runs (599), walks (575) and extra base hits (413). Goldschmidt is the current leader among active MLB first basemen with a .996 fielding percentage, a mark that is fifth-best all-time in MLB history.
Goldschmidt’s team option year 2019 salary of $14.5 million (plus a $1 million trade assignment bonus paid by St. Louis) is very reasonable for a player of his stature. It is the final season of what ended up being a team-friendly, six-year, $44.5 million contract signed at the conclusion of 2013 spring training.
The Cardinals have already expressed interest in negotiating a contract extension with their new star – once he gets acclimated to his new surroundings. Whether that will be accomplished remains to be seen, but one thing is for sure – the 2019 Cardinals offense has received a major boost.
The Cardinal Nation’s top 10 stories of the year countdown
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