Paul Goldschmidt already floated in trade chatter after tough Cardinals start

Paul Goldschmidt is on the struggle bus, and now he's in the rumor mill.
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals
Paul Goldschmidt, St. Louis Cardinals / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

The St. Louis Cardinals are 10-13, which is dead last in the NL Central. An offseason of change was not enough to alter the course of Oli Marmol's squad. The Cards' improved pitching staff has shined on occasion, but the theoretically potent offense has been utterly dormant. St. Louis ranks 29th in home runs and 26th in hits.

It's impossible to pick one single culprit for the Cardinals' offensive woes. It has been a collective failure. Still, it's not hard to point to St. Louis' MVP, Paul Goldschmidt, and start asking questions. Just two years removed from receiving baseball's highest individual honor, Goldy has completely bottomed out. He entered Monday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks slashing .179/.289/.218 with almost twice as many strikeouts (26) as hits (14).

Goldy managed his second home run of the season Monday night, but that's not enough to paper over his major slump. At 36 years old, Goldschmidt is in the final year of his contract. If he can't turn it around quickly, and if the Cards don't start winning games, his time with the franchise could come to an unceremonious and premature end.

The talented first baseman, a potential Hall of Fame inductee, is being floated in trade rumors. Bleacher Report's Tim Kelly cites Texas, Cleveland, Minnesota, and the Yankees as potential landing spots for the 14-year MLB veteran.

"It would be interesting to see what his market would be. So many contending teams—the Braves, Dodgers and Phillies, for example—have star first basemen already. But given that Goldschmidt can become a free agent at the end of the season, some lower-budget contending teams could consider trying to land Goldschmidt as a rental."

Paul Goldschmidt in trade rumors as Cardinals' struggles mount

Goldschmidt is far from the only Cards "star" in a slump. Nolan Gorman has been similarly ineffective to open the season, and even Nolan Arenado's power numbers are in the gutter. There's still plenty of time for St. Louis to turn it around — it's a 162-game season, folks — but after last season, it's hard to muster confidence in the Cardinals turning this sinking ship around.

It would be brutal from the fan perspective to trade Goldy. He's beloved in the St. Louis community and the best Card in a generation. That said, baseball is a business at the end of the day, and St. Louis has been struggling in that department of late. We saw St. Louis engage in a fire sale last season. John Mozeliak and the front office could be on the same track this summer.

If the Cardinals do trade Goldschmidt, don't expect a return package befitting his titanic reputation. Factor in age, his early-season struggles, and his contract, and Goldschmidt just isn't going to fetch a high price. That could dissuade the Cards, but by that same token, something is better than nothing.

St. Louis could stick with Goldschmidt through thick and thin, only for him to walk in free agency. That is the worst-case scenario St. Louis needs to avoid.