Past, present and future: Arizona Sports reviews the Goldschmidt trade
Paul Goldschmidt traded Sedona red for Cardinal red.
The former Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman was moved to the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday in a deal that saw the D-backs acquire pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andy Young and a draft pick.
The move comes as general manager Mike Hazen’s staff considers the long-term financial flexibility of the team. An obvious sacrifice to that end, Arizona loses a leader and arguably the most heralded Diamondback in the team’s 20-plus-year history.
We asked show hosts, producers and reporters at 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station their favorite Goldschmidt memory, their initial reaction to trading the first baseman and what should come of the next bullet-point on Hazen’s to-do list: What to do with pitcher Zack Greinke.
1) What is your instant reaction to Paul Goldschmidt being traded?
Doug Franz, co-host of Doug & Wolf: It was 100 percent the right move to trade him. I think it was 45 percent the right trade. Give me Dakota Hudson, the Cardinals’ second-best pitching prospect, and I’m all in. The trade as is proves the D-backs we’re in a position of weakness and felt they couldn’t get any better than what they got from anyone else in baseball.
They could have decided it wasn’t enough and then wait until the trade deadline. Then they’re handcuffed by the season he would have. Most players don’t do well when everyone knows they’re going to get traded. Might have been a classy move by the team to help Goldy avoid a year like that.
Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: There are a lot of “instant reactions” to Paul Goldschmidt being traded.
First and foremost, it’s a reality of baseball in a market like Phoenix. The D-backs hit a home run by finding Goldy in the eighth round of the 2009 draft (out of Texas State, of all places) and developing him in their system.
We got to enjoy watching him turn into the sport’s most humble star, but the financial windfall that is free agency and aggressive (irresponsible, maybe) moves by Arizona’s previous front office made the chances of re-signing Goldschmidt to a fat deal impossible.
The thought of a homegrown superstar spending his entire career in Sedona red is nice, but it just doesn’t happen outside of major markets in baseball anymore.
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo: Had to happen. Had to. If they didn’t trade Goldy now there are two very likely outcomes and one very distant possible alternative. The two likely outcomes are 1) try to trade him at the deadline but risk injury or 2) watch him walk at the end of next season and get nothing but a comp pick for him. Too much risk and too little return for my tastes. The distant possibility was resigning him but his affordability, his age and the fact the organization is approaching a rebuild made that an irrational proposition. Emotionally, Wednesday was an awful day. There was very little in the way of alternatives.
John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo: This was a move the D-backs didn’t want to make but one they had to make. The reality is they were not going to be able to keep him and that if they are in a rebuild, which it seems they are, they shouldn’t have wanted to keep him. Paul Goldschmidt had one year left on his contract before hitting free agency at the age of 32. It would not have been wise to re-sign him at that age and for the money he would command if they are a few years away from competing.
Mike Hazen did the best he could in dealing a player who is a rental for St. Louis. There are no guarantees the Cardinals will be able to keep him beyond the 2019 season. Goldy would be wise to play out the year and test the market. Arizona got back quantity moreso than quality, but the players they got back will fit into the system and can help — and most importantly are under team control for many years.
Luke Weaver pitched against Arizona last year going 6 1/3 innings with three hits, one run and seven strikeouts. He will be a nice addition to the rotation. Carson Kelly seems to be the exact kind of catcher this organization loves — defensive-minded — and with Jeff Mathis now gone, they certainly needed catching help.
Jordan Byrd, producer of Burns & Gambo and host of Arizona Sports Saturday: Even though it’s hard to believe that he’s actually gone, I’m not surprised Paul Goldschmidt has been traded. I had already braced myself that trading Goldy now was the only thing that made sense. The fan in me will obviously miss having an MVP-caliber playing on the roster, but Mike Hazen just could not risk having Goldy walk away for nothing at the end of this next year. I know some fans may be upset with them, but I’m pleased the front office had the guts to do something unpopular yet pragmatic.
Matt Layman, ArizonaSports.com editor, reporter and social: It’s difficult, but it’s understandable.
The Diamondbacks did something that would’ve been borderline foolish not to do. Patrick Corbin is gone. A.J. Pollock probably is, too. And even with that trio on the roster, the D-backs didn’t accomplish their ultimate goal the last two seasons. Losing your starting center fielder and one of your best starting pitchers means that hanging on to Paul Goldschmidt for one more year and letting him walk for nothing (or signing him to an extension at a time when the team is re-tooling) could’ve proven disastrous.
Instead, the D-backs get back three prospects, each with a less-than-100-percent chance of being big leaguers, but combined, the odds that one of them becomes a productive player for your franchise is quite good. And to get that for a guy who may end up being a rental for St. Louis – in addition to getting a compensatory pick and a $14.5 million savings next year – isn’t bad.
Just because you haven’t heard of the players coming back doesn’t mean the return is sub-standard.
Kevin Zimmerman, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter: Fans can hate it. They should. But the only other option was keeping Goldschmidt and banking on successfully pulling off a fire-sale around him. If they traded Zack Greinke and solid regulars from David Peralta to Robbie Ray, maybe the D-backs would’ve found themselves with enough money in their pockets to pay Goldschmidt.
That’s asking for a lot. And that’s risking that Goldschmidt would want to return to a completely rebuilding D-backs team after the 2019 season.
It just didn’t look possible. They had to get something for him. As for the return, it doesn’t look great on paper, but usable players and future assets are included. And the Cardinals weren’t giving up top prospects for a guy they’re taking a long-term risk by acquiring.
2) What is your favorite Paul Goldschmidt memory?
Doug Franz, co-host of Doug & Wolf: The triple at home to eliminate the Giants and clinch the 2011 National League West. I was at the game holding my daughter. We were both standing yelling, “Goldy … Goldy.” The realist in me totally understands this move. The dad in me hates it.
Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: It’s a bit selfish and happened off the field, but it’s when we got the famously quiet slugger to play “Vinny Joe Trivia” on the subject of Billy Madison. On the field, there’s too many to count. Goldschmidt is the consummate professional and will be missed. And as much as it pains me to say it, he’ll fit in perfectly in St. Louis.
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo: I’ll never forget how good Goldschmidt was and how much he hated the attention that came with being good. I can’t pinpoint a specific memory largely because he was so consistently good from almost the moment he was called up. But I’ll never forget his humility at being one of the best in the game.
Jordan Byrd, producer of Burns & Gambo and host of Arizona Sports Saturday: When I think of Paul Goldschmidt, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t a specific moment necessarily, it’s more a general theme. Paul Goldschmidt was the most humble and unassuming star there may ever be. In a sports market that has seen players like Larry Fitzgerald, Shane Doan and Kurt Warner, Goldy stood out with his low-key personality that allowed his play to do the majority of his talking.
But if you’re asking me to pick one memory, I have to go with Goldy hitting three home runs while dealing with three separate rain delays against the Cubs last season at Wrigley Field.
Matt Layman, ArizonaSports.com editor, reporter and social: I remember way back to 2011 when Paul Goldschmidt hit a grand slam in the NLDS against Milwaukee in his rookie season. You figured then the guy was going to be a stud, and he is just that.
Kevin Zimmerman, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter: He’s as dry as a bone when it comes to giving great quotes or soundbites, but I appreciated that he knew it. I loved listening to reporters try to squeeze any excitement out of him by asking five questions in a row, trying to get him to talk about himself. Goldschmidt would always give credit to his teammates and even cracked a little grin as he repeated himself. He knew what they were wanting and he knew he wasn’t going to give it to them. Also, seeing this in person.
3) What should the Diamondbacks do with Zack Greinke?
Doug Franz, co-host of Doug & Wolf: Ask him what happened in the 2017 Wild Card game against Colorado when Lovullo had to go to Ray, eliminating Robbie from pitching game one at Dodger Stadium.
Vince Marotta, co-host of Bickley & Marotta: As for what the D-backs should do with Zack Greinke, that answer is now clear.
With the dreaded “rebuild” firmly in place, it makes no sense for the D-backs to carry a pitcher who will cost $34 million annually. They need to trade him to anybody who will take that behemoth of a contract off their hands – even if it means picking up some of that salary.
It’s not even that Greinke wasn’t good while he was in Arizona. He was very good, but his signing will remain a cautionary tale for this organization for years to come.
Dave Burns, co-host of Burns & Gambo: Trade him. Get off that contract. No reason to have a $100 million pitcher on a .500 team.
John Gambadoro, co-host of Burns & Gambo: Arizona should trade Zack Greinke, but it takes two to tango and there is nothing on the table right now for a trade. The D-backs will have to likely wait out some of free agency and see what other trades for pitchers are made before a team decides to talk to Arizona about Greinke. In other words, what happens to Dallas Keuchel, Nathan Eovaldi, J.A Happ and maybe Madison Bumgarner will likely come before a Greinke trade.
After the dust settles, whatever team did not address their starting pitching the way they wanted to may come to the D-backs ready to make a deal. There is no reason to keep Greinke, and shedding payroll is a priority this season. Arizona will have to eat some of the contract and probably won’t get back a whole lot prospect-wise, but if they can shed $60 million or so off the payroll of Greinke’s remaining $105 million, they can better spend that money elsewhere.
Jordan Byrd, producer of Burns & Gambo and host of Arizona Sports Saturday: The D-backs should trade Zack Greinke, but actually accomplishing that might be easier said than done. With so much money left on his contract, it’s going to take a willing trade partner, plus the D-backs probably eating a sizable chunk of Greinke’s remaining money due. The D-backs are losing Patrick Corbin, have traded Goldy and will likely lose A.J. Pollock to free agency as well.
With those key piece gone the D-backs, at the moment, are not a playoff team. Might as well start the complete rebuild and continue the reconstruction with the pieces you can get from a Grienke trade. I’d rather the team take a step back for a few years to restock the roster than hold on to Greinke and still not make the postseason with him on the team.
Matt Layman, ArizonaSports.com editor, reporter and social: I think the question of whether you trade Greinke depends on the market for him. If you can get a solid return for him, go ahead. But my fear is that because of the size of his contract, you’ll either: a) have to retain so much of the money that you might as well keep him, or b) you’ll unload most of the money but get little in return. If someone is willing to take on significant salary and offer back one or more prospects/players that are of any substantial value, then I think you move him.
Kevin Zimmerman, ArizonaSports.com editor and reporter: The front office has continued to beat the “We’re still competitive” drum. We’ll see. If they really believe that and it’s true, they certainly have the ability to be patient with Greinke. But yeah, if a reasonable deal comes across Hazen’s desk, he probably needs to pull the trigger on a deal. The D-backs won’t get much for Greinke in any case.