St. Louis Cardinals

What will Paul Goldschmidt’s next contract look like?

Paul Goldschmidt has been an underappreciated star for years, but his arrival in St. Louis stands to push him toward a big pay day next offseason.

With only eight postseason games in his career, Paul Goldschmidt is under the radar on a national scale. But anyone who plays fantasy baseball or is beyond a casual baseball fan knows who he is, with six straight All-Star nods, four Silver Sluggers and three Gold Gloves while manning first base for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

As the Diamondbacks shift toward a rebuild, Goldschmidt was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in December. So his profile will naturally rise in a more prominent baseball market.

Goldschmidt signed a five-year, $32 million contract extension with the Diamondbacks back in 2013, and they picked up his $14.5 million option for 2019 before he was traded to the Cardinals.

If that sounds like a bargain, as Goldschmidt just crossed into an eight-figure salary last year, it is. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale passed along word from several executives and agents that Goldschmidt cost himself $100 million when he signed that deal. In the meantime, Chris Davis has become a huge sunk cost for the Baltimore Orioles on a seven-year, $161 contract and the Diamondbacks gave Yasmany Tomas $68.5 million to get 47 games from him since 2016.

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera recently offered no apology for his increasing bad contract, and he hopes Goldschmidt gets his pay day.

I really hope they pay him, or someone does, because this guy deserves it,’’ said Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera, who has five years left on his eight-year, $192 million extension. “He should get $30 million a year for six years, at least. This guy is one of the best. He’s so consistent.

The MLB free agent market has been notably cold and slow the last two offseasons. The double-digit year, $300-plus million deals Manny Machado and Bryce Harper recently got have been the out-sized exception, as they are both in their mid-20s with plenty of peak years left. By comparison, Goldschmidt will be 32 when he can hit the market.

Goldschmidt’s next contract, from the Cardinals or anyone else, won’t be a 10-year deal and a likely albatross by the end. But he’s been durable (155 games or more in five of the last six seasons), consistent and among the best players in baseball (36.3 WAR over the last six seasons, 40.1 career WAR-17th among active position players), and that counts for something looking down the road.

So a five or six-year deal, at around $20 million per year, would be perfect for a team and finally compensate Goldschmidt fairly for the high level of production and all-around value he brings.

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