The St. Louis Cardinals won 88 games last season. But that wasn’t enough to get them into the playoffs. In fact, they would miss the postseason for a third straight season. However, that’s not slowing them down one bit. Yesterday, they would acquire first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks. They sent a couple of once-promising prospects the other way as well.
Welcome to Arizona! The #Dbacks have acquired right-handed pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andrew Young and a 2019 Competitive Balance Round B draft pick from the Cardinals in exchange for Paul Goldschmidt. pic.twitter.com/ylANMvt8kU
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) December 5, 2018
After a slow start to 2018, Goldschmidt put together another fine campaign. His strikeout rate went up from 22.1% in 2017 to 25.1% this past season, but he still put together a fine triple-slash of .290/.389/.533 with 35 doubles and 33 home runs. That’s good for a wRC+ of 145 — up from his previous two seasons. For the third straight season, he finished with an fWAR of 5.0 or higher (per Fangraphs).
With the move, the Cardinals plan to move Matt Carpenter over to third base. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that this likely takes them out of the Bryce Harper sweepstakes.
The #STLCards now are expected to move Matt Carpenter to third base, and likely out of the Machado/Harper sweepstakes.
— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 5, 2018
We’ll see about that, though. After all, the offseason is young.
As for the return, Luke Weaver and Carson Kelly could be great down the line for Arizona. It just depends on their development. They’ll certainly have plenty of time to do so.
Immediate reaction from rival exec on #DBacks’ return for Goldschmidt: “A boatload” (Only he didn’t say boat). Five years control on Weaver, six on Kelly, plus pick in 70 to 75 range; Young fringy. #STLCards will call it a win, too. Kept Dakota Hudson, Kelly blocked by Yadi.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 5, 2018
While it’s accurate to say Molina is “blocking” Kelly, the once top prospect just hasn’t taken that next step. His framing is bad. Plus, he hasn’t been able to hit pitching in the majors. There’s plenty of time for him to turn it around, but the Cardinals did well here. On balance, this is probably the right return for Goldschmidt.
And now St. Louis is firmly in the NL Central picture.