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Cardinals acquire Paul Goldschmidt from Diamondbacks

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The Diamondbacks announced on Wednesday evening that the club traded first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals in exchange for pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andrew Young, and a Competitive Balance Round B 2019 draft pick.

The 31-year-old Goldschmidt has been one of baseball’s best first basemen since he broke into the league in 2011. He has a career .930 OPS. This past season, he hit .290/.389/.533 with 33 home runs and 83 RBI in 690 plate appearances while playing above-average defense.

Goldschmidt has just one year remaining on his contract at $14.5 million, a club option the D-Backs exercised at the end of October. This is strictly a rental for the Cardinals, but the two sides could work out a contract extension before he reaches free agency following the 2019 season.

Goldschmidt will push Matt Carpenter off of first base. The versatile Carpenter could head back to third base, displacing Jedd Gyorko.

Adding Goldschmidt certainly makes the Cardinals a more formidable presence in the competitive NL Central. They won 88 games last year, which was only good for third place. The addition of a five-to-six win player in Goldschmidt helps close the gap between the Brewers and Cubs compared to the Cardinals.

The D-Backs, meanwhile, are starting to disassemble after losing Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock to free agency. Zack Greinke, David Peralta, Steven Souza, and Robbie Ray could all be traded this offseason now that Goldschdmit has been moved.

Weaver, 25, was one of baseball’s top pitching prospects going into the 2017 season. Across parts of three seasons in the majors, the right-hander has a 4.79 ERA with 238 strikeouts and 83 walks in 233 innings.

Kelly, 24, got sparse playing time behind the plate with Yadier Molina handling the lion’s share of catching duties in St. Louis. In 63 games across three seasons, Kelly hit .154/.227/.188.

Young, 24, was selected by the Cardinals in the 37th round of the 2016 draft. The 2B/3B spent 2018 between High-A Palm Beach and Double-A Springfield, batting a combined .289/.379/.479 with 21 home runs and 58 RBI in 503 plate appearances.

Watch: Christian Yelich continues to make a case for NL MVP repeat

Christian Yelich
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Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.

The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.

While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.

Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.

It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.