Cardinals brass finally captured their white whale. About this time last offseason, the Cards were spurned in their efforts to acquire the current NL MVP, Giancarlo Stanton, fresh off a 59 homer campaign in Miami. As a consolation prize, they settled for Marcell Ozuna, who had just wrapped up a career year himself. At the time, Cardinal fans believed the team had acquired the middle-of-the-order bat they coveted.
But Ozuna’s wonky shoulder depressed his 2018 power numbers, leaving the team desperate to acquire yet ANOTHER big bat, either on the free agent market (thus those Harper rumors) or through trade.
In Goldschmidt, the Cardinals have finally found their man, inarguably their most dynamic offensive centerpiece since Albert Pujols. Of course, caveats abound. The Cardinals surrendered a promising young 25-year-old hurler in Luke Weaver, “catcher of the future” Carson Kelly, a high-upside minor league infielder and a future draft pick. That’s more than a decade worth of controllable pieces in exchange for one year of Paul Goldschmidt. Goldy’s acquisition, while improving the team’s power and infield defense, does nothing to break up the glut of right-handed bats in the lineup. It also sets up a doozy of an offseason after the 2019 season — when both Goldschmidt and Ozuna can test the open market. The Cardinals are gambling that Goldschmidt will go the way of Mark McGwire and Matt Holliday by signing a long-term deal after becoming enamored of the team’s culture and tradition. Of course, that doesn’t always work out.
Regardless, Christmas has seemingly come early for this Cardinal fan. If the Cardinals make no further upgrades to the lineup this offseason, they already have a formidable heart of the order in Goldschmidt / Ozuna / Matt Carpenter (36HR, .523SLG) / Jose Martinez (assuming Martinez isn’t a defensive nightmare in RF). They still need to add a couple of bullpen arms and you can never have enough starting pitching, but this is a mighty fine way to kickstart the offseason.
Welcome to the fold, Paul Goldschmidt.