Paul Goldschmidt is off to the Midwest!
Source: Arizona Paul Goldschmidt has been traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Andy Young and a draft pick are headed back.
Quite a haul for Arizona.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 5, 2018
The 31-year old first baseman is being dealt for Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Andy Young, and compensation pick as you can see in that Passan tweet above. Once the rumors started, this made a ton of sense to me. Goldy just feels like a Cardinals player. So much so that I wouldn’t even be surprised if they re-sign him after this season.
You might’ve forgotten that Goldschmidt was toting a .198 AVG as late as May 22nd, but then went Full Goldy in his final 110 games to leave him with a wRC+ actually a few ticks higher than his 2017 (142 to 145). In those last 110 games, he hit .328/.418/.606 with 28 HR, 70 RBI, 68 R, and 5 SB in 487 PA. The humidor shouldered a lot of the blame for Goldy’s early season struggles as he managed just a .530 OPS at home.
However, many of his metrics suggested that he’d likely be fine. The humidor wasn’t going to hold him down to a .231 BABIP and .070 ISO all year and while the May 22nd cutoff is just the last time he had a sub-.200 AVG, his home numbers started to shift a week later when the D’Backs returned home. He hit .280/.382/.510 with a .349 BABIP in his final 53 home games. I expect Goldy to essentially be himself in St. Louis. Something like a .280/.400/.510 line with 30 HR, 100 RBI, and 7-10 SB. The fallout is much more interesting from a fantasy standpoint.
I didn’t see any way Jose Martinez started 2019 as a Cardinal even without Goldschmidt coming to town and I’m only further convicted in that belief now. His best defensive position is hitter so the Cards should find an AL trade partner and get something done. I can already hear Jason Collette screaming “how about the Rays?” as he reads this. Arizona didn’t get a 1B back in the deal so I could see Jake Lamb shifting across the diamond in a full-time capacity, leaving third base to Eduardo Escobar. Right-hander Christian Walker could spell Lamb against lefties, too.
Kelly should get a chance at being the starting catcher thanks to his defensive prowess. The 24-year old was 71st on the last prospect list published by Eric and Kiley. I wouldn’t give a lot of credence to 131 PA in a single season, so I can’t really pay much attention to that same sample of PA spread out over three seasons.
Even if Kelly had plus numbers in that time, it’d carry little to no weight, so let’s not get hung up on his blistering 15 wRC+ in that time. He put up 120 and 107 wRC+ totals in his Triple-A stints the last two seasons with near-equal strikeout (14%) and walk rates (12%) across a combined 755 PA. With the job in tow, I’d target him as a viable C2 in deeper leagues. Alex Avila will back him up and could snipe some extra playing time with a rebound, but he’s coming off a wretched 66 wRC+ in 234 PA last year. John Ryan Murphy hasn’t done anything to merit them carrying three catchers.
Weaver is the key to this deal for me. The D’Backs bought low and I think it was smart. This package looks different if Weaver’s included and it’s this time last year when he was coming off 60 scintillating innings with a 3.88 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, and 29% K rate. Instead, he threw 136 modest innings with just a 4.95 ERA/1.50 WHIP combo and 20% K rate. The Ks were suspect with just a 10% swinging strike rate so it’s not surprising that they dipped, but the meltdown around that was a bit of a shock.
I wasn’t looking to pay the premium on Weaver last year, but I still had him as a high-3.00s, low-1.30s WHIP and 20-22% K rate so it’s not like I saw a near-5.00 ERA coming from him. His changeup fell off substantially (from 5.6 to -5.8 in pitch value) and his efforts to develop a third pitch came up short as his curve netted a -6.3 pitch value in just 13% usage. There’s still plenty to work with here and the 25-year old righty should get a spot in the rotation from day 1.
He has more control than command and lacks an premium out pitch, but looks like a #4 right now with the potential to develop into a firm mid-rotation arm (fringe #2/strong #3). He’s a dollar days arm in 15+ team mixers and maybe a $2-3 gamble in NL Onlys. He wasn’t penciled into the Cards rotation right now anyway (Carlos Martinez, Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty, Michael Wacha, Adam Wainwright) and his departure opens things up a bit more for Alex Reyes, Austin Gomber, Dakota Hudson, and Daniel Poncedeleon.
Young slotted 12th on the Cards top 40 list back in November and carries an intriguing power profile up the middle. The write up on Young suggested that 2B was his best defensive spot due to a lack of mobility and while he was blocked off a bit in St. Louis, I don’t think Ketel Marte will keep him down if the bat continues to shine (137 wRC+ at A+, 160 at AA in ’18). If Marte develops further and Young is ready, perhaps Marte cuts into Nick Ahmed’s time to clear space for Young.
He’s yet to reach Triple-A and enters his age-25 season in 2019 so he’s a little older (a power-first, questionable defending older prospect on the Cards? Weird.), but he should get a look this year after spending some time in Triple-A. Keep an eye on him and be ready to pounce when he arrives.