First baseman Paul Goldschmidt, he of the career .297/.398/.532 line, was one of the most coveted assets on the offseason trade market. After a bitterly disappointing end to the Diamondbacks season, in which the club won just eight out of their final 28 games after staking a claim to top of the division on August 30th, a full-scale shuffling of parts was sure to be in order. The club was almost certainly set to lose ace Patrick Corbin, who this week signed a monster $140MM deal with Washington, plus center-field stalwart A.J. Pollock, who, despite several injury-marred campaigns, posted a robust 14.9 fWAR in his final five seasons with the team. And flimsy depth on the 25-man roster and in the upper minors paired with a system devoid of high-impact talent to offer a mostly inauspicious outlook in seasons to come.
Was it finally to time to cash in on the organization’s most valued trade chip? The answer, in the end, was a resounding “yes”: On Wednesday, the organization finally agreed to a package with the 31-year-old’s most oft-rumored suitor, the St. Louis Cardinals. 25-year-old right-hander Luke Weaver and catcher Carson Kelly, 24, are the two most notable pieces going back to Arizona in the deal; Andy Young, a 24-year-old minor league infielder, and a Competitive Balance Round B pick are also part of the return for the D’Backs.
Goldschmidt, of course, is entering the final year of a contract that will pay him just $14.5MM in 2019. His presence figures to move defensive yo-yo Matt Carpenter back to his original home at third base, where the 33-year-old has, encouragingly, graded out as mostly above average with the glove in limited time over the last two years after a series of dreadful campaigns in the middle portion of the decade.
Infielder Jedd Gyorko and 1B/COF Jose Martinez, then, would seem to be left bench-ridden, and could be prime trade chips in the weeks to come. Speculatively, major bullpen upgrades could be in order — as a whole, the unit posted an abysmal 4.50 xFIP and 4.34 BB/9 last season, both of which ranked in the bottom five across the league. Though the departing package was significant, the Redbirds are left with a most prominent feather in their collective cap: with nine big-league-tested starting pitchers in the fold for next season, and a super surplus at catcher — the immortal Yadier Molina, plus top prospect Andrew Knizner — the Cards figure to lose very little in present-day value.
For the Diamondbacks, the return may have eclipsed even their wildest hopes, with one executive reportedly dubbing the package a “boatload.” Weaver and Kelly come with a combined 11 seasons of team control, and each should project around league average in the upcoming campaign. Kelly, a former top 50 prospect, seems especially intriguing — with the offensive baseline at catcher approaching its all-time nadir (catchers slashed a putrid .232/.304/.372 as a whole last season, for an 84 wRC+), the 24-year-old needs only to supplement his sterling defense with marginal offensive production to become an above-average big leaguer.
So, how would you grade this deal for each club?