Cards’ Gold­schmidt is not think­ing be­yond 2019 sea­son

The Capital - - SPORTS ON TV - The As­so­ci­ated Press

ST. LOUIS — Now that he is with the St. Louis Car­di­nals, Paul Gold­schmidt is not think­ing be­yond the 2019 sea­son.

The six-time All-Star was ac­quired from Ari­zona this week and will earn $14.5 mil­lion in the fi­nal sea­son of a seven-year deal that will pay $46 mil­lion, in­clud­ing a $1 mil­lion as­sign­ment bonus for the trade. If he doesn’t sign a new con­tract, he would be among the top free agents next off­sea­son.

“Try not to have any dis­trac­tions, so any­thing like that won’t be on my mind,” Gold­schmidt said at his in­tro­duc­tory news con­fer­ence Fri­day. “I think the big­gest thing is I’m ex­cited to be here, ex­cited to be part of this team and or­ga­ni­za­tion and just fo­cused on get­ting ready for spring train­ing and open­ing day and the sea­son and try­ing to help us win.”

St. Louis has a his­tory of ac­quir­ing slug­gers and sign­ing them to long-term con­tracts, such as Mark McGwire and Matt Hol­l­i­day.

“It’s al­ways hard to pen­cil out these types of deals when you only have one year of con­trol,” pres­i­dent of base­ball op­er­a­tions John Mozeliak said. “When you think about where the Car­di­nals are, I’ve al­ways sort of been one of those types of peo­ple who thinks about the big­ger pic­ture. This was a dif­fer­ent type of deal for us. It was clearly about try­ing to po­si­tion the 2019 team to be more com­pet­i­tive.

Gold­schmidt did not rule out any con­tract talks with the Car­di­nals, say­ing his long­time pref­er­ence has been to “keep any­thing pri­vate.”

St. Louis sent pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Car­son Kelly, mi­nor league in­fielder Andy Young and a 2019 draft pick to Ari­zona on Wed­nes­day for Gold­schmidt.

“The Car­di­nals have had some im­pres­sive first base­men over the years,” Car­di­nals chair­man Bill DeWitt Jr. said, cit­ing Johnny Mize, Stan Mu­sial, Bill White, Or­lando Cepeda, Mark McGwire, Keith Her­nan­dez, Al­bert Pu­jols and Matt Car­pen­ter.

“Paul is a per­fect fit for our club,” DeWitt added. “Last year, we won 88 games. Had a won­der­ful se­cond half — strug­gled in the first half and were so close to the play­offs, We felt like an ad­di­tional im­pact player could put us over the top.”

St. Louis has missed the play­offs in three straight years for the first time since 1997-99.

“We couldn’t find any­thing neg­a­tive on him. Noth­ing,” Mozeliak said. “He loves base­ball. Loves to play the game, plays it right. And when you think about the St. Louis Car­di­nals, he just sounds like the per­fect fit.”

Gold­schmidt will switch to No. 46; Car­di­nals re­liever Luke Gregerson has the No. 44 Gold­schmidt wore with the Di­a­mond­backs.

“This was the clos­est to 44 that wasn’t taken. I didn’t want to take any­one’s num­ber,” Gold­schmidt said. “Hon­estly, I got 44 just be­cause it was hang­ing in my locker. I never made any re­quests for a num­ber. Just fig­ured I’d keep some­thing close to it.”

Gold­schmidt was ex­cited to join a team that was se­cond in the NL and third in the ma­jor leagues in at­ten­dance, one with a ball­park usu­ally buzzing with fans.

Car­pen­ter will move across the di­a­mond to third base. Mozeliak said it was “prob­a­ble” that the Car­di­nals start­ing eight po­si­tion play­ers al­ready are on the ros­ter and the team will fo­cus on more left-handed re­lief pitch­ing and a left­handed bat.

FOR­MER PLAY­ERS DIE: For­mer ma­jor league play­ers Luis Val­buena and Jose Castillo were killed in a car crash caused by high­way ban­dits who then robbed them, of­fi­cials said Fri­day.

The 33-year-old Val­buena and 37-yearold Castillo died late Thurs­day when their SUV crashed as it tried to veer around an ob­ject placed in the road, Yaracuy state Gov. Julio Leon Here­dia said on his Twit­ter ac­count.

He said four peo­ple have been de­tained af­ter be­ing found with prop­erty of the ath­letes.

Val­buena and Castillo were team­mates on the Car­de­nales de Lara team in the Venezue­lan win­ter league and were re­turn­ing from a game in the cap­i­tal when the crash oc­curred en route to the city of Bar­quisimeto.

Gold­schmidt

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