The St. Louis Cardinals, currently at the bottom of the AL Central with a disappointing record of 27-40, seem likely to become sellers before the 2023 trade deadline. Among the players who could attract interest from contending MLB teams, first baseman Paul Goldschmidt stands out as the most intriguing option.
Despite the Cardinals' struggles, the 2022 NL MVP, Goldschmidt, continues to produce solid numbers. With a current slash line of .286/.380/.492, Goldschmidt shows no signs of aging and remains a valuable asset. However, his age (35) might be a concern for teams considering a trade with the Cardinals, but it could also be a reason for the Cardinals to explore a trade.
Given their lack of contention this season, Goldschmidt's contributions may be wasted on the team. The Cardinals have been attempting to transition to a younger roster, parting ways with longtime fan favorites such as Yadier Molina and Albert Pujols in the previous season, with Adam Wainwright following this season. With Goldschmidt being the oldest player on the team after this season, it raises the question of whether the Cardinals believe they can build a competitive team around him in 2024. If not, the optimal strategy would be to trade him now and maximize their returns, especially considering that he has only one year remaining on his contract.
While the Cardinals have experienced offensive struggles earlier in the season, they seem to have somewhat improved in that regard. However, their pitching remains abysmal, with the third-worst opponents' batting average (.266) and the 11th-worst starting pitching ERA (4.60) in the league. Even with Goldschmidt's contributions to the offense, which has the seventh-best slugging percentage (.425) in the league, his impact becomes diminished if the Cardinals cannot prevent opponents from scoring. Therefore, it is crucial to consider which teams can benefit from Goldschmidt's abilities at this point.