Paul Goldschmidt playing for his future in St. Louis?
While the St. Louis Cardinals sold at the trade deadline last year, the team did show they were willing to go all-out to bring home another World Series title. Look no further than their acquisition of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt in a blockbuster trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2019. Two years later, they acquired third baseman Nolan Arenado from the Colorado Rockies.
Goldschmidt might not have helped the team win a World Series like they had expected to, but they did bring in one of the top players in the National League. He has the NL MVP award in 2022 to show for it. But the Cardinals may need to prepare for the future.
After the 2024 season, Goldschmidt officially becomes an unrestricted free agent. You'd think, "Okay, so the Cardinals will sign him, right?" That's the thing. Goldschmidt is set to turn 37 years old this season. What are the Cardinals to do?
MLB.com insider Mark Feinsand mentions that the Cardinals could choose to extend Goldschmidt much like the Houston Astros did with Jose Altuve before his walk year. But Feinsand mentions the possibility of the Cardinals waiting to see how Goldschmidt performs this season before making an offer.
"Goldschmidt is slated to become a free agent at the end of this season, but much like Altuve and the Astros, St. Louis could look to extend the 2022 NL Most Valuable Player to keep him in a Cardinals uniform for the rest of his career," writes Feinsand. "Goldschmidt’s numbers declined slightly in 2023, so perhaps the Cardinals will wait to see how he plays in 2024 before trying to extend him beyond this year."
As Feinsand mentions, Goldschmidt's numbers did drop off in 2023. In 154 games, Goldschmidt recorded a .268 batting average, a .363 on-base percentage, a .447 slugging percentage, 25 home runs, 80 RBI, 89 runs scored, 159 hits, 161 strikeouts, and 87 walks in 593 at-bats. This comes one year after Goldschmidt led the National League with a .578 slugging percentage, a .981 OPS, and a 177 OPS+.
While Goldschmidt has proven to be one of the team's top players, they do have to look towards the future. As Redbird Rant's Curt Bishop points out, they have to look towards the future.
"In a perfect world, the Cardinals would be able to extend Goldschmidt, and while I do think it’s possible and that Goldschmidt wants to be in St. Louis, I’m really afraid this is going to be his last year as a Cardinal," writes Bishop. "With all the young position players, it’s hard to see the Cardinals wanting to spend extra money to keep somebody who’s going to be 37 at the end of the year."
This will be an interesting year for the Cardinals. They will have to decide whether or not to commit to another contract with Goldschmidt. Based on Feinsand's reporting, the Cardinals want to see how he plays this upcoming season first before making a contract offer.