Rival executives reportedly believe the Arizona Diamondbacks intend on trading star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, and there should be plenty of suitors lining up to acquire his services.
Goldschmidt, 31, is one year removed from finishing in the top three of National League MVP voting and has been the runner-up twice. The slugger is slated to hit free agency following the 2019 campaign, and the Diamondbacks seem to be approaching a transitional phase with A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin set to depart via free agency.
Any return would have to be substantial and immediately contribute toward a rebuild for Arizona’s front office to feel compelled to move a franchise face, despite some lean years seemingly on the horizon and the six-time All-Star being set to leave next winter. Here is a list of teams that could want Goldschmidt enough to make it worthwhile for the D-Backs.
New York Yankees
A deal with the Yankees makes almost too much sense, so let’s up the difficulty and package Goldschmidt with Zack Greinke, who the Diamondbacks are also reportedly shopping around.
Assessing Greinke’s trade value is tough due to the fact that he’s owed just over $100 million over the next three seasons. Depending on how much Arizona is willing to retain, that could really alter his value. However, packaging the veteran right-hander with an elite rental like Goldschmidt would likely command a greater return.
Although a recent report claims the Diamondbacks aren’t currently considering packaging the two players, teams could try to force the issue to offset the large sum of money owed to Greinke.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird would likely be without a roster spot, and it might be time for the club to entertain shipping him out and keeping Luke Voit as a bench bat. Outfielder Clint Frazier is also without a spot and has been a fixture in trade rumors. Both represent immediate help and carry some prospect pedigree. A pitching prospect like Jonathan Loaisiga would make sense for the Diamondbacks, but a lower farmhand like Albert Abreu might allow Arizona to offload a little bit more salary. With this, the Yankees superteam is officially assembled and the D-Backs get pieces for both the present and future.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals added Marcell Ozuna last season to improve their postseason odds, but they wound up finishing well back of the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs.
St. Louis still has a roster that should threaten for a playoff spot, despite the Brewers’ upward trajectory. But, aside from their notable starting depth, the Cardinals could stand to make key additions all around the diamond. Matt Carpenter is penciled in as the club’s first baseman next year, but he’s versatile and could easily move elsewhere in the infield if the Cardinals go after Goldschmidt.
The Cardinals could decide to center their offer around recently drafted third-base prospect Nolan Gorman. Some of that noted pitching depth could come in handy as well, as Arizona could certainly use a major-league-ready arm like Dakota Hudson.
If the two clubs can see beyond their division rivalry, Goldschmidt landing in Colorado would make some sense.
Despite the Rockies boasting a stronger farm system than their NL West rival and just making the postseason, they are, in a way, in a similar spot to the Diamondbacks. Their best player, Nolan Arenado, is set to become a free agent next winter, but they seem poised to make another push toward October baseball next year.
First base is an area of need for the Rockies this offseason. If they don’t address that corner of their infield, Colorado will enter 2019 with Ian Desmond and Ryan McMahon sharing the workload – not terrible but also not ideal for a potential contender. It would be interesting to see whether Jon Gray – who wasn’t included on the Rockies’ playoff roster – would become available if Greinke were involved. Otherwise, prospects like second baseman Garrett Hampson or pitchers Peter Lambert and Riley Pint would make sense.
Coming off of a 103-win season that somehow still felt disappointing, one of the major weaknesses on Astros roster might be first base/designated hitter.
Tyler White showed flashes of brilliance but also struggled down the stretch. Yuli Gurriel, 34, was rather pedestrian as far as first basemen go, posting a .751 OPS. Goldschmidt would be a massive improvement at Houston’s weakest position.
The Astros likely wouldn’t part with either Kyle Tucker or Forrest Whitley, as both will likely play important roles at the major-league level this season, unless Greinke became part of the equation perhaps. Right-handed pitching prospect J.B. Bukauskas, who was reportedly part of a potential offer for Bryce Harper last season, is a realistic target.
New York Mets
The Mets could be a dark horse candidate. New general manager Brodie Van Wagenen doesn’t seem intent on dismantling, and it makes sense. Despite back-to-back miserable seasons, New York still has the potential to be a fringe contender, and adding a first baseman like Goldschmidt would be huge.
New York is slated to head into the season with Dominic Smith at first, but it should be noted that, upon taking the GM gig, one of Van Wagenen’s first meetings was with first-base prospect Peter Alonso. The 23-year-old certainly isn’t a lock to be a meaningful big leaguer, but his .975 OPS with 36 home runs across Double-A and Triple-A last year is definitely eye-catching. Then again, Alonso could be used as a piece to acquire Goldschmidt.
In all likelihood, the Mets’ offseason will revolve primarily around what happens with Noah Syndergaard and not around addressing their need at first base. Perhaps the return for Syndergaard lends itself to going all-in this year, in which case going after Goldschmidt would make sense. But, maybe the return for Syndergaard is focused more on the future, in which case, a one-year rental at first base would be illogical. Should Thor stay put, then everything would seemingly remain on the table.