The St. Louis Cardinals made a huge move bringing Paul Goldschmidt in from the Arizona Diamondbacks. While this makes them a better team, they are still not playoff contenders after this move.
The St. Louis Cardinals got themselves a new superstar, acquiring Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Right now, the Cardinals fan base is giddy, as they brought in one of the best hitters in the major leagues. They are so much better now than they were yesterday.
Yet, this does not make this team a playoff contender, let alone a World Series contender. Last season, the Cardinals fell 6.5 games behind the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs, who were the last two teams in the playoffs.
Goldschmidt’s wins above replacement was 5.4. Argument over. Need more?
OK, let’s dive into what this move means.
Goldschmidt will take over for Jose Martinez, who was second on the team with 83 RBIs. Goldschmidt had the same number of runs batted in last season. Obviously, we’re not arguing that they are on the same page, just that production from the first base position was not the problem.
Matt Carpenter was also playing first base last season, but he could easily move to third. That buries Jedd Gyorko on the roster, but that might not be a bad thing. They could also use Gyorko in a platoon with Kolten Wong at second base.
Hopefully, Carpenter didn’t prefer to play first after his monster season that saw him in the top 10 in the MVP voting.
The point here is the Cardinals problem was never infield hitting. They ranked 11th in the league in runs scored. Marcell Ozuna was a great pickup from the Miami Marlins last season. He led the team in RBIs. Besides him, the outfield doesn’t produce like one would hope.
I suppose the Cardinals could move Martinez to the outfield with this move. This is becoming a lot of shuffling to make this move work, which is what happens when a team addresses a position of strength.
The Cardinals pitching is currently middle of the pack. Miles Mikolas was the leader in almost every stat, but how can he respond to his good season? He’s 30 years old, and prior to last season he never threw more than 57 innings in the majors. Last year he broke 200.
Can the Cardinals rely on him to carry that rotation again?
Carlos Martinez was supposed to be this team’s ace, but now he’s being considered as a bullpen arm. They will likely try him again as a starter to begin the season, but he will have a short leash.
The Cardinals only had three players start more than 20 games and one of them was sent to Arizona in this deal. Luke Weaver had a rough year, but he doubled his innings. Now that he’s used to the workload, he could have been a very good arm. But he’s in Arizona.
The pitching is not good enough in today’s MLB to compete in a National League that’s stacked with talent.
The Milwaukee Brewers rode a top-tier bullpen into the playoffs. This Philadelphia Phillies front office is bent on getting one or both of Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, which makes them bigger contenders than they already are.
In fact, the entire NL East has an argument that they could have a really good 2019, except the Marlins. The NL West has the Dodgers coming off a World Series berth and the Rockies on the upswing.
The Chicago Cubs are still one of the most talented teams in the league with one of the best managers in Joe Maddon.
Speaking of manager, the Cardinals kept Mike Shildt as the leader of the clubhouse after firing Mike Matheny.
That seemed like a mistake, despite that way they played for him to start. It seems like the Cardinals could have done their due diligence and waited until the offseason to see their options. It’s hard to say that Shildt gives the Cardinals a managerial advantage over most.
This was a good move for the Cardinals, don’t get me wrong, but this definitely doesn’t vault the Cardinals in the same conversation as the Cubs and Dodgers. They still need to make moves to sure up the pitching staff and get more runs from the outfield to be true contenders.