D-Backs Begin Reshaping Team's Core With Trade Of Goldschmidt
The D-backs traded "face-of-the-franchise" 1B Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals in exchange for three young players and a draft pick, a move that signals the club's "willingness to reshape their core of frontline players," according to Nick Piecoro of the ARIZONA REPUBLIC. With P Patrick Corbin now a member of the Nationals and CF A.J. Pollock also "likely to sign elsewhere as a free agent, the club found itself at a crossroads." Goldschmidt will go down as the "best homegrown player in franchise history" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/6). D-backs Exec VP & GM Mike Hazen said that it is "premature to say" the club is in a "full-scale rebuilding mode, noting the team still has plenty of talented players." The AP's Bob Baum wrote another question for the D-backs is whether they can trade P Zack Greinke, a move that "probably would require" the club to "eat a chunk of his formidable salary" (AP, 12/5). MLB Network’s John Smoltz said Greinke will be the "next shoe to possibly drop for the Diamondbacks," as the team is "clearly going in another direction." Smoltz: "You're trying to tell your fan base to be patient for six years, four years, because we are restocking. ... They’re in a situation where they are in neutral. When you’re in neutral, the way draft picks and young players are valued today and the impact they have had, you cannot be in neutral. You have to be in drive or reverse, and it looks like they may be going in reverse to get to that level that they want to” (“MLB Tonight,” MLB Network, 12/5).
GETTING WHAT THEY COULD: USA TODAY's Steve Gardner writes while trading Goldschmidt "wasn't necessarily a cost-cutting move, he does carry a hefty" $14.5M salary and is in the "final year of his contract." The D-backs were "able to get full value for a player they weren't likely to be able to re-sign once he became a free agent" (USA TODAY, 12/6). The REPUBLIC's Piecoro writes it "seems safe to say Goldschmidt would have been in line for a deal that pays" at least $25M a year over at least five years when he hits free agency after the '19 season. All indications are that Goldschmidt is "not looking to take another team-friendly deal" like the one the D-backs "gave him early in his career." He is repped by Excel Sports Management's Casey Close, who has a "reputation for securing massive contracts." Sources said that preliminary conversations with Goldschmidt's camp left the D-backs "less than confident they would be able to reach an agreement." Whatever the length and size of the contract, it "likely would have been a risky deal for a mid-market club" like the D-backs. Not just to "fit him into their current payroll structure, but to be able to move forward successfully if Goldschmidt's production were to dip even slightly in the coming years" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 12/6).