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.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.