Rethinking an Inevitable Paul Goldschmidt Trade
Paul Goldschmidt playing a long and prosperous career for the Arizona Diamondbacks, that’s everyone wants. It’s just a question of whether or not that’s the right thing for the long-term health of the Arizona Diamondbacks. It might be the only way to salvage assets for this organization, but we have zero interest in staring a gift horse in the mouth right now.
Goldy stays. Did I just get caught speeding? Am I really going to let a 6-1 start–7 games–affect how I feel about the big picture? You didn’t see it, because I was too busy/lazy to get it written, but I would have told you there’s justification for listening to offers on “America’s First Baseman” before and during Game 1. The reasoning would have been simple; the team Mike Hazen is capable of building around him simply isn’t going to be good enough to be stubborn about an offer Hazen would be wise to take versus waiting on one he couldn’t refuse.
We’re going to hear it a lot with the playoffs coming up in hockey and basketball, and with the NFL Draft at the end of the month. You either want to be really bad or really good; the middle of the pack benefits no one. Paul Goldschmidt hurts your chances of being the worst, though the way we’ve seen front office gurus of Diamondbacks’ past give away top picks, I’m not sure it matters. Remembering that we shouldn’t blame the current regime for moving Trevor Bauer (not a lot of seller’s remorse after his outing here on Saturday) and Dansby Swanson, not to mention Justin Upton, benefit of the doubt says, given Hazen a chance to succeed before you assume he’ll fail like those before him.
Because of those bad trades, this farm system is shot. Baseball Prospectus ranked the DBacks 28th out of 30 as an organization this spring. Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospect list for 2017 includes just on Snake, Anthony Banda at #88 (expected to reach MLB this season).
The problem with moving Goldy to invest in the future is the void you’re creating at first base, with no natural first baseman in the organization’s Top 10, 20, or even 50 prospects. While the position lends itself to easy transition from a catcher, outfielder, or third baseman, you’ve got a bird in the hand with Goldschmidt. A solid defender that gives you 30 dingers and a .900+ OPS on an annual basis; that’s not a dime a dozen.
So, what’s changed? Why change your tune from reluctantly saying good-bye to the guy before the season began, to finding the sentiment borderline foolish, because of seven games?
When we think of flukes, we are more inclined to feel that success is the exception and not the rule, versus it being the other way around. Flukeiness can be a two-way street, like maybe the Diamondbacks pitching staff is a lot better than its 5.09 ERA from 2016.
Zack Greinke, the alleged Ace, should settle down a little in Year 2 with Arizona. If Shelby Miller maintains a pulse at the back end of the rotation, we may not think about losing Swanson quite as often. Looking beyond Goldschmidt as the foundation to build around, we’ve know this team can hit and score runs–nothing has changed there.
It was a matter of filling in the blanks on the pitching staff and getting the every day 9 some experience, as brutal as it played out on the field, and in the W-L column. If you want to pump the brakes, stop short of wondering whether this team will win 100 games–they will not. Could they compete in the NL West? I think we’ll know more after this upcoming California road trip, especially if they show they can win away from Chase Field.
If the pitching can just be slightly better than serviceable, and I’m really speaking to the question mark that has seemingly been this bullpen since the very beginning, those bats are still there. This team is still growing. To pull the plug on your most valuable asset at this point in the game, it is likely not worth it.
For now, we’d be crazy to want any scenario that does not include Paul Goldschmidt on the 2018 Opening Day roster.