Cardinals acquire Paul Goldschmidt from Diamondbacks

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The winter meetings haven’t even started yet, and baseball’s hot stove season is boiling. The latest big move of the offseason sees the St. Louis Cardinals land slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a four-player trade.

Heading to Arizona are catcher Carson Kelly, pitcher Luke Weaver, infielder Andy Young, and a 2019 draft pick in exchange for the six-time All-Star Goldschmidt, now 31. The draft pick is in Competitive Balance Round B, in between the second and third rounds.

Goldschmidt hit .290/.389/.533 with 33 home runs and 35 doubles in 158 games for the Diamondbacks in 2018, and has averaged 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 runs scored and 36 doubles per year for the last six seasons. Goldschmidt finished sixth in National League MVP balloting this season, the fourth time he has finished in the top six.

Arizona exercised their club option on Goldschmidt in October, which will pay him $14.5 million next season. Goldschmidt will be a free agent after the 2019 campaign.

“It’s not often you come across a player of his caliber who carries himself with such selflessness and humility, both on and off the field, while representing the organization and the state of Arizona,” Arizona general manager Mike Hazen said of Goldschmidt.

Goldschmidt enters the middle of a Cardinals lineup that was in the middle of the pack in slugging percentage (.409) and OPS (.730), finishing seventh in the NL in both, posting a basically-average 99 OPS+. The move allows Matt Carpenter — the Cardinals’ best hitter in 2018 — to move off first base, where he started 62 times last season. Carpenter, who hit .257/.374/.523 with 36 home runs and 42 doubles, has extensive major league experience at third base and second base as well.

St. Louis finished with 88 wins in 2018, their third consecutive season out of the playoffs, after five straight postseason appearances from 2011-15.

The Diamondbacks, a 93-win Wild Card team in 2017, were in first place in the National League West in 2018 entering September, but 19 losses in 27 games in the season’s final month sank Arizona’s season. The Diamondbacks this week also saw the departure of pitcher Patrick Corbin, who struck out 246 and posted a 3.15 ERA in 200 innings. Corbin signed a reported six-year, $140 million free agent contract with the Washington Nationals.

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