Cardinals Acquire Paul Goldschmidt Hoping He Can Fill Albert Pujols’s Shoes
Paul Goldschmidt was a high school senior, watching coming from the upper deck in Houston, when Albert Pujols blasted a titanic home run for the St. Louis Cardinals inside the 2005 National League Championship Series. The Cardinals had been one out coming from elimination, nevertheless the great Pujols saved them. St. Louis might lose which series, nevertheless Pujols went on to lead them to two World Series titles in later years.
“I had a not bad view,” Goldschmidt said in an interview a few years ago. “which was crazy. I was like every fan there. I was upset.”
Goldschmidt rooted for the Astros then, as well as before long he might become an All-Star first baseman for the Arizona Diamondbacks. nevertheless with one year to go before he hits free agency, the downsizing Diamondbacks traded Goldschmidt on Wednesday to the Cardinals, who finally found a fearsome slugger to replace Pujols inside the middle of their lineup.
In exchange for Goldschmidt, the Diamondbacks acquired starter Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, the Class AA infielder Andrew Young as well as a competitive-balance round B draft pick in 2019. Weaver was 7-11 having a 4.95 earned run average last season, as well as while Kelly has hit only .154 inside the majors, he was blocked by Yadier Molina in St. Louis as well as has ranked among baseball’s best prospects.
The Cardinals’ last title came in 2011, Pujols’s final season before leaving for the Los Angeles Angels in free agency. The Cardinals did not suffer immediately, reaching the postseason four times after he departed as well as winning the National League pennant in 2013. nevertheless last season was the Cardinals’ third in a row without a playoff appearance, as well as they have badly needed an offensive force.
Pujols played 11 seasons for the Cardinals, always hitting at least 30 homers with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .900 or better. Since then, no Cardinal has reached those levels inside the same season. Goldschmidt has done which four times, including last season, when he had 33 homers as well as a .922 O.P.S.
Even so, the Cardinals had a fairly productive offense last season as well as rallied coming from a slow start to go 88-74, the best record of any non-playoff team inside the National League. The Diamondbacks had an opposite itinerary: after leading the N.L. West at the start of September, they lost 19 of 27 games in which month to finish 82-80.
The Diamondbacks lost J.D. Martinez in free agency to the Boston Red Sox last winter, as well as This specific week lost an All-Star starter, Patrick Corbin, to the Washington Nationals as a free agent. Center fielder A.J. Pollock, a former All-Star who is actually also a free agent, may be the next to leave.
Diamondbacks General Manager Mike Hazen called Wednesday a bittersweet day, suggesting which Goldschmidt was “possibly the best player inside the National League” as well as acknowledging which he was the franchise’s most visible star. He said the Cardinals’ package might help fortify a thin base of talent.
“We’ve worked pretty hard to try to build which talent infrastructure,” said Hazen, who was hired in October 2016. “We don’t feel like which’s where which needs to be. I think we’re still talking about a bottom-10 farm system in baseball. which’s something we’re working aggressively to try to improve to be able to sustain success, not just get there for any one year.”
The Diamondbacks never advanced past the division series with Goldschmidt inside the lineup, despite adding the ace starter Zack Greinke for six years as well as $206.5 million before the 2016 season. which deal gives Greinke the highest average annual salary inside the majors ($34.4 million), as well as while Hazen said he did not envision “a rash of trades,” which stands to reason which he will also move Greinke if he can.
As for the Cardinals, they have tried as well as failed in recent years to lure superstars for the long term, pursuing David cost as well as Jason Heyward in free agency as well as Giancarlo Stanton in a trade. While they could not persuade Heyward to stay after a one-season cameo, they once had a knack for retaining stars who arrived without a long-term contract, like Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds as well as Matt Holliday.
Keeping Goldschmidt will be their next challenge. nevertheless for next season, at least, the Cardinals should finally contain the run producer they have been missing.