June 18, 2024

The St. Louis Cardinals are two games under.500 but are deadlocked for the National League wild-card spot. With fewer than two months until the July 30 trade deadline, they might acquire or sell—and if they sell, Paul Goldschmidt may be on the move.

Goldschmidt is two seasons removed from his MVP season, when he hit 35 home runs and led the league in OPS (.981) and OPS+ (177). According to Kerry Miller of Bleacher Report, despite his mediocre performance this season, Goldschmidt could be one of the most sought players at the deadline.

In his 36th season, Goldschmidt is hitting.222 with only 7 home runs in 56 games. Furthermore, his on-base and slugging percentages would be lifetime lows if the season ended today.

However, this only conveys part of the story. Goldschmidt’s performance has improved during the last 19 games. Five of his seven home runs this season have occurred during that span, and he’s hitting.279 with a.347 average on balls in play. Not coincidentally, St. Louis is 13-6 in those contests.

Miller points out that, despite Goldschmidt and the Cardinals’ revival, Baseball Reference still rates them a 4.3% probability of making the playoffs. Fangraphs is far more positive, but still gives the Cardinals less than a one-in-three shot at the playoffs.

Part of the difficulty is that the National League wild-card picture is quite hazy at this time of year. Only around 60 games into the season, no National League team is more than eight games off of a postseason berth. Only two are more than four games away. The next six weeks will bring some clarity, and if the Cardinals do sell, a half-year rental could be appealing to teams trying to add one extra hitter.

Paul Goldschmidt’s Contract With the Cardinals

Paul Goldschmidt, baseball's most under-appreciated superstar, is having  his best season | Sporting News

 

Goldschmidt signed a five-year, $130 million contract with the Cardinals before the 2020 season, which ends this year. According to the terms of the agreement, he will receive $26 million in 2024. That accounts for just about 11% of the Cardinals’ luxury tax threshold.

He also has other incentives in his contract, but unless he maintains this enormous turnaround, it’s difficult to envision him meeting the big ones, like as the $250,000 All-Star prize.

At his age, Goldschmidt isn’t exactly looking for a long-term contract. However, if he moves and performs well for his new team, he might earn a respectable salary in the offseason.

Potential Trade Suitors

Tim Kelly of Bleacher Report speculated on Goldschmidt’s potential suitors earlier this season, when the first baseman was struggling. He mentioned the Cleveland Guardians, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers, and Minnesota Twins as prospective suitors, as well as the possibility of renting to lower-budget teams.

However, since that time, the Guardians have already called up Kyle Manzardo, perhaps eliminating them from contention. The Rangers could be an interesting choice. Bruce Bochy has began resting lefty Nathaniel Lowe against left-handed pitchers, and he could use someone like Goldschmidt, who has a.323 batting average off southpaws.

Kelly also mentioned that even if the Cardinals aren’t contending, they might want to keep him around.

“He won NL MVP with them and has spent six years in St. Louis after an eight-year run with the Arizona Diamondbacks,” stated Kelly. “He has a very real Hall of Fame case, and the Cardinals might like the opportunity to claim that Goldschmidt was as much a Cardinal as a Diamondback if he enters Cooperstown.”

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