Cardinals Land Goldschmidt, Look to Get Back to Postseason
by Rick Bouch Scores & Statson
Since 2000, the St. Louis Cardinals have played in four World Series winning two, but the franchise has failed to make the postseason in each of the last three years. After winning the National League Central Division in three straight seasons, the Cardinals have finished above .500 but have not in 2016, ’17, and ’18 but didn’t qualify for the playoffs. Now, the franchise is looking to get back.
St. Louis completed a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this week that resulted in the Cardinals landing six-time MLB All-Star 1B Paul Goldschmidt. In return, the Cardinals gave up RHP Luke Weaver, C Carson Kelly, IF Andy Young, and a 2019 draft pick. The trade gives the Cardinals something they have been looking for the past few seasons – a bona fide superstar.
Goldschmidt broke into the majors in 2011 and earned the first of six straight trips to the All-Star game in 2013. He is a three-time Gold Glove Award winner and a four-time Silver Slugger winner. Goldschmidt has a career batting average of .297 along with 209 homers and 710 RBIs. He is exactly the type of bat that St. Louis needs.
The Cardinals have tried to sign stars but instead, have settled for some lower budget pieces of the puzzle like Dexter Fowler and Marcell Ozuna. St. Louis took a run and Giancarlo Stanton last offseason but lost out to the Yankees. Ozuna, who had some shoulder problems, did hit .280 with 23 home runs, but his numbers in 2017 with the Miami Marlins were better. St. Louis, as a whole, was pretty good offensively finishing fifth in the NL in run, seventh in slugging percentage, and eighth in on-base percentage. That addition of Goldschmidt will only make the Cardinals better.
Goldschmidt struggled early last season managing just seven hits in his first 73 at-bats (.096) in his first 20 games in May. At that point, Goldschmidt’s batting average dipped to just .198, but he hit .328 the remainder of the season. From May 22 through the end of the season, only Mike Trout, J.D. Martinez, and Christian Yelich had higher on-base percentages than Goldschmidt.
The addition of Goldschmidt does make the Cardinals batting lineup a little right-handed. Only Matt Carpenter and second baseman Kolten Wong hit from the other side. The Cardinals will also move Carpenter over to third base to make room for Goldschmidt at first. Carpenter started 74 games at third base last season.
Goldschmidt does become a free agent after the 2019 season, his age-31 season. He is not the hitter he was a few years ago – his on-base percentage in 2015 was 1.005 and last year it was .922 – but even a 31-year-old Goldschmidt is better than most hitters in the majors. Despite his early-season slump last year, Goldschmidt still wound up hitting .290 with 33 home runs and 83 RBIs.
For the Cardinals, they acquire one of MLB’s best and still have enough room to pursue other opportunities, including the Bryce Harper sweepstakes. It’s not yet known whether the Cardinals will actively pursue Harper, but even if they don’t they have a guy in Goldschmidt that can help lead them back to the postseason. St. Louis hasn’t missed the playoffs three years in a row since 1997-99.