It’s not often that a top ten player and arguably the best player at his position becomes available via trade. It’s even more rare when that player is only making $14 million for the next season. Yet, that’s the case with star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who the Diamondbacks are shopping him. The 31-year-old hit .290/.389/.533 with 33 home runs and a 5.4 WAR, and could take any team in need of a first baseman to the next level. What’s strange about his trade market, however, is that since few contenders need a first baseman, the amount of suitors for Paul Goldschmidt is very slim. Still, let’s rank five possible suitors for him, and rate them by need, fit, and the chance that they can actually acquire him.
#5 Minnesota Twins
According to Jon Morosi of MLB.Com, the Twins and Diamondbacks have had “preliminary talks” about a trade that would send Goldschmidt to Minnesota. The need is clearly there; the Twins managed just a 0.8 WAR from their first baseman and have no one in line to start at that position next season. Sure, they could put Tyler Austin at first base, but his poor fielding makes him more suited in a DH role. They also didn’t get consistent production from the middle of their lineup, and need a consistent threat like Goldschmidt to score more runs and to give their young players (Miguel Sano, Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton) more protection and more pitches to hit as a result. The problem with a Goldschmidt trade for the Twins is, they still have other needs to fill. The outfield is a mess, as is the rotation and the bullpen. A Goldschmidt trade would give them a fair shot at competing with the division rival Indians, but that’s it. With an influx of young players coming up, Minnesota has a bright future ahead. The worst thing they can do is to sacrifice some of those young players for the short-term, which they’d be doing if they acquired Goldschmidt, who the Twins likely wouldn’t be able to afford once he’s a free agent after next season.
Trade: Twins acquire Goldschmidt in exchange for IF Nick Gordon (MIN #4), OF Trevor Larch (MIN #6), and OF Akil Baddoo (MIN #12)
Need: 8.4/10 Fit: 7.8/10 Chance it Happens: 7.5/10
#4 New York Yankees
After winning 100 games and breaking the single season home run record, one could argue that the Yankees don’t need to make a huge splash. However, this is the Yankees, and they just got eliminated in the ALDS by their rival Red Sox. They’re going to make a splash, but who will it be on? New York’s top priority seems to be starting pitching; they just traded for James Paxton and are still interested in free agents Patrick Corbin and JA Happ. They could look to making their lineup even more lethal, and if they do, upgrading at first base should be a priority. Greg Bird was supposed to be the answer there, but he had a negative 0.6 WAR and will almost certainly not hold that spot next season. So far, the Yankees have suggested that they will go with Luke Voit, who broke out in the second half last season on tune for a 1.069 OPS. Still, there are red flags with Voit. He is a liability defensively (-7 drs) and it’s fair to wonder if he’ll have that sort of production again. An out of the box strategy would be to sell high on Voit and trade him to fill other needs, and acquire Goldschmidt. Unlike Voit, you know what you’re getting Goldschmidt, and he would make them a much better defensive team. The only issue with Goldschmidt is that he wouldn’t fix New York’s strikeout problems; he struck out 173 times last season. The Yankees will most likely go after starting pitching or even Manny Machado, but Goldschmidt’s $14.5 million salary may be too much for the Yankees to pass up on. He may be just what the Yankees need if they want to surpass the Red Sox.
Trade: Yankees acquire Goldschmidt in exchange for RHP Albert Abreu (NYY #3), RHP Chance Adams (NYY #12), and 1B Greg Bird
Need: 8.1/10 Fit: 8.4/10 Chance it Happens: 7.1/10
#3 Los Angeles Angels
Somehow and some way, the Angels need to find a way to get to the playoffs next season. They’re running out of time to build around the game’s best player, as Mike Trout is only under contract for two more seasons. We’ve already discussed the possibility of them acquiring JT Realmuto in a previous article, but let’s discuss a trade for Goldschmidt this time around. Unlike Realmuto, Goldschmidt comes at a cheaper price prospect wise, and there’s a lot less competition to acquire his services. Despite having Trout, Los Angeles was mediocre on offense last season, which is unacceptable. Even more unacceptable was their awful production from their first baseman (0.0 WAR) and more specifically Albert Pujols (.700 OPS and 0.5 WAR). Pujols may be making just around $28 million next year, but he’s run out of chances. He should be released, and the Angels need to get a significant increase in production from their first baseman. A trade for Goldschmidt would solve both issues; Goldschmidt would be inserted in the middle of the order right behind Trout and his 5.4 WAR is substantially better than anyone else the Angels could put at first base. Los Angeles has enough prospect depth to make this trade, and need to make a run at Goldschmidt before any other team can acquire him before they can. The Angels haven’t been linked to Goldschmidt thus far, but that should chance as his market fully develops.
Trade: Angels acquire Goldschmidt in exchange for OF Brandon Marsh (LAA #3), SS Kevin Maitan (LAA #7), LHP Jose Suarez (LAA #8), and OF Trent Deveaux (LAA #23)
Need: 9.2/10 Fit: 8.7/10 Chance it Happens: 7.5/10
#2 Houston Astros
On paper, it doesn’t seem like the Astros need to upgrade at first base. Their first basemen finished 10th in the MLB with a 2.6 WAR, and expected starter Yuli Gurriel had a solid season (.291/.323/.428, 2.2 WAR) last year. They also finished 7th as a team in OPS, and still have a dangerous lineup. Still, there are showing interest in Goldschmidt, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.Com, and it makes perfect sense. Gurriel is serviceable, but he is still better suited in a utility role/DH role. They lack depth in their lineup outside of the top 4 (George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa) and Goldschmidt would make their lineup downright scary. There is a sense of urgency with starting pitchers Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander heading for free agency next season, so they need to make a splash. Still, since they have some big free agents coming up, they aren’t in a position to give up young players unless they are receiving one back (JT Realmuto) in return. Since Arizona’s asking price for Goldschmidt wouldn’t be substantial, the Astros would be able to make a big splash that would arguably make them the best team in baseball, without depleting the future. It almost makes too much sense for this to happen, even though there is once team in an even better position to land Goldschmidt.
Trade: Astros acquire Goldschmidt in exchange for LHP Cionel Perez (HOU #5), RHP Corbin Martin (HOU #6), RHP JB Bukauskas (HOU #8), SS Freudis Nova (HOU#9), and OF Ronnie Dawson (HOU #20)
Need: 8.5/10 Fit: 8.8/10 Chance it Happens: 8.4/10
#1 St.Louis Cardinals
At 88-74 last season, the Cardinals barely missed the playoffs last season. A big reason for them missing the playoffs was a good, not great offense that ranked just 14th with a .730 OPS. Their first baseman ranked 6th in WAR last season, but that was due to Matt Carpenter, who could fill in a need at third base if St.Louis were to acquire Goldschmidt. Carpenter was at times the only source of offense for the Cardinals, who struggled to get production from their middle of the order. Goldschmidt would not only fix that, but he’d help with St.Louis’ fielding woes – they led the league with 133 errors. The Cardinals ranked just 18th in fielding runs, a metric that determines fielding value, according to Baseball Reference. Meanwhile, Goldschmidt rated very well as a fielder with 6 defensive runs saved (6 drs). He’d fix the Cardinals two major needs and would put them right on par with the Cubs and Brewers if not better. Goldschmidt won’t cost top prospects due to his one year of control, and St.Louis has flurry of young arms to give up to complete this deal.
Trade: Cardinals acquire Goldschmidt in exchange for RHP Dakota Hudson (STL #3), 2B Max Schrock (STL #11), and RHP Junior Fernandez (STL #14)
Need: 9.1/10 Fit: 9.4/10 Chance it Happens: 8.6/10