The Arizona Diamondbacks are reportedly keen on trading perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt, as he has just one year left on his contract and will be one of the most desired free agents of the 2020 class. While every team could use a player of Goldschmidt's caliber, some fit better than others. A handful of our staff members were asked to come up with trades for Goldschmidt—these are completely speculative and unsourced, but deals we believe could come to fruition. So who has the best package for Goldschmidt anyway?
Diamondbacks trade 1B Paul Goldschmidt to Astros for P J.B. Bukauskas, C Garrett Stubbs and P Dean Deetz
Astros G.M. Jeff Luhnow doesn’t trade his top prospects for anything. Well, perhaps he would in some truly outlandish scenario (Mike Trout?), but it’s not something he believes is almost ever a good move for an organization’s health, which explains why the Astros retain one of the game’s top minor league systems despite their recent run of success. However, we know that he will sacrifice his second-tier farmhands for even a very short-term boost; he almost did that last summer, reportedly agreeing to acquire Bryce Harper from the Nationals at the trade deadline for Bukauskas (Houston’s No. 8 prospect, according to mlbpipeline.com), Stubbs (No. 15) and another, lower-ranked pitching prospect, before Washington’s owners scuttled the deal. Goldschmidt – with one year left on his contract, at $14.5 million - would represent very similar value to Harper, albeit for four additional months. So let’s add a presumably slightly better third piece to the Harper package – like Deetz (No. 18), who profiles as a reliever – and get the deal done this time.
Diamondbacks trade Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals for C Andrew Knizer and OF Connor Capel
The Cardinals have been lingering around the edges of the conversation for the big free agents, after a season that saw them make a late push for the playoffs that came up just short. A Goldschmidt trade would be a way for them to make a bit of a splash while paying only in prospects. While Goldschmidt has just one year before free agency, he's not only remarkably talented, but also remarkably consistent—at his worst, he's posted a 126 OPS+. In other words, he's about as safe a bet as you can make on a player to take for a single season. That means paying up. Andrew Knizer, who should be ready for the big leagues as soon as this year, is one of the organization's top prospects (#2 on FanGraphs' ranking). Given that the team has catching depth in two more years of Yadier Molina, backed by heralded young defensive star Carson Kelly, it could sense to leverage Knizer's value in a deal like this. For Goldschmidt, of course, one prospect's not nearly enough. A mid-tier organizational option like Connor Capel, a 21-year-old centerfielder who finished last season in High-A (#13 on FanGraphs' ranking), could round out a package—possibly with an additional loose depth piece thrown in, to seal the deal.
Diamondbacks trade 1B Paul Goldschmidt to Cardinals for 1B/OF Jose Martinez, RHP Dakota Hudson and additional prospects
Although Matt Carpenter put up a strong season at first base for the Cardinals last year, he’s 33 and heading into the final year of his contract (though St. Louis holds a team option for 2020 worth $18.5 million with a $2 million buyout). The Cardinals need to figure out the future of the position, and Goldschmidt fits that bill while adding power and patience to the current lineup. Plus, given that he’s one year away from free agency, there’ll be plenty of time to brainwash him into pledging his eternal soul to the Church of Stan Musial, with a black-robed Fredbird bellowing the dark incantations that are normally used to turn undrafted college hitters into 6-WAR outfielders now twisted to bind Goldschmidt forever to the Best Fans In Baseball. In return, Arizona gets a position-less slugger in Martinez, a hard-throwing prospect in Hudson, and likely more to ease the blow of losing the best homegrown player in franchise history.
Diamondbacks trade 1B Paul Goldschmidt to Yankees for 1B Greg Bird, OF Estevan Florial and two additional top-35 prospects
If Brian Cashman actually doesn't want to "line the opposition's pockets" by exceeding the MLB luxury tax, then Goldschmidt is the perfect choice for a team expected to compete for a World Series in 2020. Goldschmidt is a perennial MVP candidate with one year left on his contract who would lock down first base for a team currently employing two tantalizing if unproven young talents in Luke Voit and Greg Bird. Voit was outstanding after the Yankees acquired him in July, but it's hard to fathom that Cashman sees the sinewy 27-year-old as a long-term option for a position that demands power. Instead, the Yankees would get a guaranteed year out of Goldschmidt at a relative discount ($14.5 million) and leave the door open for a long-term contract. While they'll have to part with one of their ace prospects—the 20-year-old Florial seems most likely given the team's relative logjam in the outfield—the Yankees should covet a player of Goldschmidt's caliber and consistency: he's finished top-three in MVP voting three times since 2013, has worked at least 90 walks in four consecutive seasons and has a career OPS+ of 145. He's a monster who costs a lot less than Bryce Harper or Manny Machado.