The St. Louis Cardinals acquired the powerful bat of six-time All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday for right-hander Luke Weaver and two other players.
Arizona also received catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andy Young and the Cardinals’ Compensation B selection in the 2019 draft.
Goldschmidt has slugged 30 or more homers in four of the past six seasons, but the Diamondbacks were shopping the 31-year-old because he was entering the last season of his contract. He batted .290 with 33 homers and 83 RBIs in 2018.
“We’ve been busy this offseason working to upgrade our lineup, and today we are excited to announce the acquisition of one of the game’s premier players in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt,” Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said in a news release.
Goldschmidt, who will make $14.5 million in 2019, has three 100-RBI campaigns and batted .300 or better three times since 2013
Overall, he batted .297 with 209 homers and 710 RBIs in 1,092 games over parts of eight seasons for Arizona. He finished second in National League MVP balloting in 2013, when he set career highs of 36 homers and 125 RBIs, and again in 2015.
The player known as ‘Goldy’ had become the face of the franchise and a big fan favorite, which made it more difficult for the Diamondbacks and general manager Mike Hazen to pull the trigger on the deal.
“Paul has been a key member of the D-backs family and this is not a decision we made without careful thought and consideration,” Arizona managing general partner Ken Kendrick said in a statement. “Ultimately, we have complete confidence in Mike Hazen and our Baseball Operations staff and we are all in agreement that this was the best decision, but that doesn’t minimize how much Paul has meant to us and will continue to mean to us. He is a great player but an even better person.”
Hazel offered similar sentiments.
“I would like to personally thank Paul Goldschmidt for everything he did as a D-back,” Hazen said in a statement. “It’s not often you come across a player of his caliber who carries himself with such selflessness and humility, both on and off the field, while representing the organization and the state of Arizona.”
Having already lost left-hander Patrick Corbin in free agency, and with center fielder A.J. Pollock likely to sign elsewhere soon, the deal appears to be a sign that the Diamondbacks are entering a rebuilding phase.
The 25-year-old Weaver displayed promise for the Cardinals in 2017 when he went 7-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 13 appearances (10 starts). He struck out 72 and walked just 17 in 60 1/3 innings.
However, he took steps backward last season and went 7-11 with a 4.95 ERA in 30 appearances (25 starts). He struck out 121 in 136 1/3 innings and walked 54.
Overall, Weaver is 15-17 with a 4.79 ERA in 52 appearances (43 starts) over parts of three big league seasons.
Kelly, 24, was ranked as St. Louis’ No. 3 prospect by Baseball America and as the third-best catching prospect in the minor leagues.
Kelly has played in 63 major league games over the past three seasons but failed to stick for a team that has star Yadier Molina entrenched at the position. He has a .154 average and 10 RBIs in 117 major league at-bats.
Kelly batted .269 with seven homers and 41 RBIs in 83 games for Triple-A Memphis last season.
Young, 24, split last season between Single-A Advanced Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield. He batted .289 with 21 homers and 58 RBIs.
–Field Level Media