Though the Cardinals may not have many further additions to make to their 2019 roster, that doesn’t mean the club’s offeason business is complete. In comments today, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch was among those to report, owner Bill DeWitt Jr. made clear that the organization has serious interest in keeping newly acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt beyond the coming campaign.
It’s certainly not a surprise to hear that the Cards have interest in a long-term arrangement, though it certainly could have been the case that the team would instead have taken more of a wait-and-see position. Foreseeable though it may have been, it is notable that the Cards are seemingly embarking upon an extension effort (or at least, are laying the groundwork for one) at this early juncture.
Negotiations, it seems, likely haven’t begun. But DeWitt and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak made clear that they fully intend to pursue contract talks, perhaps as soon as this spring.
“We’d love to have him here longer than one year,” said DeWitt, “and we’ll just see how that plays out.” He went on to hint at the Cardinals’ thinking on the initial decision to acquire Goldschmidt in a deal that cost young, controllable, MLB-level talent: “I think worst case is we get a top Draft choice, but that’s not our goal when we trade for a player like Paul Goldschmidt.”
Though Mozeliak wasn’t quite as forthcoming, he did cite the same idea of a one-year “gamble” that DeWitt did. Clearly, the organization pulled the trigger on the trade in part due to the potential for gaining an exclusive bargaining window and recruitment opportunity.
Of course, the timing of all this is less than clear. Mozeliak did say that the first step would be to allow Goldschmidt to settle in with the club in Spring Training. Then? “Ultimately, we’ll sort of, as we round the first turn, get a better idea of what the second turn looks like,” said Mozeliak. Whether that will mean late-spring talks, negotiations during the season, and/or an effort to bring him back via free agency is at this point anyone’s guess.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how things progress. With just one year to go until free agency, Goldschmidt is tantalizingly close to picking his own team and likely commanding a massive new deal. He’s also already 31 years of age and plays a position that teams have increasingly hesitated to invest in. Of course, Goldschmidt is hardly a common first baseman, either.