President Derrick Hall hopes Paul Goldschmidt can be a D-back again
Arizona Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall was getting ready to take his annual trip to Disneyland with the team’s employees of the month when he got the call Wednesday.
General manager Mike Hazen believed the D-backs had received an offer for first baseman Paul Goldschmidt that was worth listening to.
“I said, ‘Call me in about 55 minutes.’ I knew it was on,” Hall said Thursday while joining Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.
From there, things moved rapidly. Arizona worked out a deal with the St. Louis Cardinals to ship off Goldschmidt for a return of starting pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infield prospect Andy Young and a Competitive Balance Round B draft pick.
Hall reaffirmed Hazen’s stance that the Diamondbacks didn’t feel they had to trade Goldschmidt. But the front office agreed that they had to separate Goldschmidt the person and look at the baseball team’s long-term sustainability. Signing Goldschmidt for his true value when his contract ended after the 2019 season didn’t look possible. Extension talks happened, but they made that much clear.
So Arizona was open to dealing Goldschmidt.
“They also made it clear, abundantly clear they weren’t going to make a deal to make a deal,” Hall said of Hazen’s staff. “I can tell you guys … two days ago? He was going to remain a D-back. That’s how things turned quickly when it came to the Cardinals and what they were going to give us. When you get four players back for Paul Goldschmidt who we think are going to impact this club for many years, that’s what really did it.
“I can tell you there were other teams (who offered) two good players involved, maybe three good players.”
Kelly and Weaver are expected to contribute immediately and are under team control through the 2023 season. Young and whomever the D-backs draft with the pick are key pieces that add depth down the road.
All of that made it digestible to trade the face of the franchise to a team that wants to contend.
It wasn’t an easy decision for Hall, who grew close to Goldschmidt and his wife Amy.
“I’m so happy for Goldy. He is such a good human being,” Hall said. “The difficult part for our baseball staff was trying to separate the man from the decision. Speaking to him yesterday, I was emotional on the phone with him. I teared up and let him know how much I loved him. He is so important to me. He’s a member of my family.
“As I told him at the end of our conversation, ‘Goldy, I hope you’re back with us, either as a player in the future or working for us and for me because that’s how important you are to me and our organization.'”
Moving forward, Hall and the Diamondbacks believe they will be competitive. But holes are left to fill.
Arizona will search for a center fielder with A.J. Pollock expected to get a big payday in free agency. The bullpen needs a retooling after a disappointing end to 2018.
The D-backs have made it clear with the Goldschmidt trade that shedding salary to free up money down the road is a priority, and ace Zack Greinke’s future with the team is no doubt tentative.
“We’re certainly not done trying to improve this team and trying to set this up for the future,” Hall said. “(Hazen) has to continue to talk to teams and listen to offers and listen to ideas. If those include Zack, naturally they’re going to be all ears.”