The Arizona Diamondbacks are heading into an offseason with a whole lot of unknowns. Although Eduardo Escobar just signed a 3 year, 21 million dollar deal, not much else is known about what’s going to happen with Patrick Corbin, AJ Pollock, Zack Greinke, and even Paul Goldschmidt. While it looks as if Corbin and Pollock are going to be nearly impossible to retain, Greinke and Goldschmidt have been rumored to be on the trade block.
First off, I want to say that as loved as Paul Goldschmidt is (for fans and myself as well), it may be the smart move to cash in on his value for a full and final season. It should bring back a good return, and Goldy’s value is only going to diminish the next few years as he gets older. If you extend him to a long-term deal, it is going to feel like you paid for the past instead of the future within just a few seasons. I would love for him to be a lifelong Diamondback and he still has a few All-Star/MVP runs in him, but it could be best for the future to not extend him to a massive contract and acquire prospects and controllable big league talent instead.
The NL West is only going to get better the next few years with the Dodgers ready to spend, the Padres young talent coming up, and the Rockies who will continue to contend. I wouldn’t call this a rebuild if he is traded because there is still a good amount of talent on the big league roster, but it gives us a head start in trying to find young talents like Walker Buehler, Cody Bellinger, Corey Seager, Julio Urias, Brendan Rodgers, Luis Urias, Fernando Tatis Jr, Francisco Meija, and MacKenzie Gore.
If the front office feels like how I feel, this is the time to pounce on the value of Goldy. I think there are about four teams that should and probably are discussing trading for Goldschmidt as we speak.
Although Luke Voit had a great August and September, I think the Yankees will be searching for a solid first base option this offseason. First base is the only real hole in their lineup, and Goldy’s approach could be deadly with the short porch in right field. With over 60 opposite field homers in his career, this Yankee lineup could be one of the better offensive lineups in the history of baseball.
Buster Olney speculated that the Yankees would be a great fit, and he said that the Diamondbacks are willing to listen to offers.
The Yankees prospect pool is the driest it has been the past three years because of trades and promotions, but Clint Frazier is an odd man out in the outfield and a great young talent.
The Yankees will be shopping Sonny Gray as well, and the snakes will be looking for pitching depth all offseason. I think Gray could be a great comeback, change of scenery candidate.
With Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce heading to free agency, the Red Sox don’t have in-house options at first base next year. Mitch Moreland has been good for them the last two years as a sure-handed defender on a cheap contract, but I think it could be time for them to make a push for a star at first base.
Michael Chavis is 23 years old and their top prospect at third and first base, but a suspension at the beginning of the summer slowed his progress down. Like the Yankees, the Red Sox minor league system is rather thin compared to years prior. But a guy I would like to see come over to the desert is Blake Swihart. He is an athletic catcher who can play the outfield as well. His defensive tools aren’t up to par and the depth chart has kept the 26-year-old from getting a full chance the last four years in Fenway.
While I see this as a good fit for the Red Sox, I have a hard time seeing the Red Sox being able to create a package good enough to get rid of Goldschmidt. They are thin on pitching depth, and their top prospects aren’t the most impressive.
Everyone is going to be gossiping about the Yankees and Red Sox with this potential blockbuster trade, but I think the Cardinals could go after Goldy more aggressively. Although they don’t have a glaring hole there like the Yanks and Sox, the Cardinals will have the versatility to pull it off. Matt Carpenter can make due playing one more year at third base, and Jose Martinez can at least platoon (maybe start) in the outfield or get traded to an American League team.
The Cardinals have solid major and minor league depth, and a player that stands out to me is Andrew Knizner. Their top catching prospect, not named Carson Kelly, can really hit the ball as he hit .313 in Double and Triple-A and only struck out 48 times in 335 at-bats. I’m assuming Kelly is as untouchable as any “prospect” they have, but I would start by asking for him in a Goldy package.
They also have good starting pitching depth with about 11 guys who could all be in the rotation. Luke Weaver, Dakota Hudson, Daniel Poncedeleon, John Gant, and Austin Gomber could be great targets. Luke Weaver had a tough year, but I would still be excited to get him as his potential is still very much there. Dakota Hudson would be the one pitcher you really want though as he dominated in the bullpen in his first major league action in August and September. His strikeout and walk numbers (19 K’s to 18 BB’s in 27.1 innings) don’t seem to represent how well he pitched though down the stretch as he moved into a high leverage reliever role.
The Cardinals need to be willing to spend money and make big trades with the Cubs and Brewers excelling, but they just haven’t been able to get the big guys they wanted in the past year like Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton. They might have made a mistake trading for Marcell Ozuna because of his nagging shoulder injury and short-term contract, but Goldy would finally be the superstar addition and a legitimate contract extension candidate.
Sleeper Team to Watch: Rays
The Rays historically aren’t known to spend money and trade FOR star players, but this might be the only way to make a push at the Red Sox and Yankees. Although they traded Chris Archer, the trade for Tommy Pham still means they are willing to win now. With 90 wins last year, a middle of the order bat is needed for them to improve on that mark.
Right now, CJ Cron and Ji-Man Choi are manning the 1B and DH positions, and they didn’t have bad years with .816 and .877 OPS’s respectively. Goldschmidt would bring so much more to the table with just his presence in that lineup though.
With the league’s smallest payroll, they can afford to extend and add his 14.5 million to the 2019 payroll. The Diamondbacks and Rays have been frequent trade partners too with the trades of Steven Souza Jr, Matt Andriese, and Brad Boxberger in just the past year. This means the Diamondbacks scouts have been watching the Rays players and prospects a lot, and they should have a good idea of who they like in their system. This is a good thing because the Rays have one of the better farm systems in the league with guys like Brendan McKay, Wander Franco, Lucius Fox, Shane McClanahan, Shane Baz, Matthew Liberatore, and Jesus Sanchez as potential headliner prospects to target.
I would be shocked to see the Rays pull the trigger on this, but it is a trade that could make really good sense for both teams.