long-term deals, including Mark McGwire and Matt Holliday.
St. Louis went 88-74 last season and felt it needed a boost in the middle of a lineup that includes Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna and Yadier Molina to compete with the likes of Milwaukee and the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. The Cardinals’ postseason drought is their longest since 1997-99.
Free-agent slugger Bryce Harper has supposedly been on the Cards’ wish list, too, with the winter meetings coming up this weekend. Last offseason, the Cardinals had worked out a deal with Miami for NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton, but he refused to waive his no-trade clause.
Arizona went 82-80 in the
NL West and finished behind the Los Angeles Dodgers and Colorado, which both made the playoffs.
The Diamondbacks parted ways with a homegrown player who grew to be the face of the franchise but is nearing the end of an extremely team-friendly contract. The quiet slugger was selected by Arizona in the eighth round of the 2009 draft and made his major league debut in 2011.
In 2013, Goldschmidt hit 36 home runs and drove in 125. In 2017, he matched that home-run high with 36 and drove in 120. He is a .297 career hitter with 209 home runs, and was runner-up in the NL MVP voting in 2013 and 2015.
“Certainly this is a bittersweet decision on our part,” Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen said on a conference call. “I don’t think I could overestimate
the impact that Paul had on our team.”
Hazen said the key to the deal was what the Cardinals offered in return. If there was no trade, the Diamondbacks faced the prospect of Goldschmidt leaving as a free agent after next season.
“There are decisions you want to do and there are decisions you know you have to do,” Hazen said.
He said he understood fans’ disappointment.
“Paul is possibly the best player in the National League,” Hazen said. “We understand that. We’ve understood that for a long time.”
Despite an awful start to last season, he bounced back to once again become a powerful force. Goldschmidt was the Diamondbacks’ franchise leader in slugging percentage and on-base percentage.