Paul Goldschmidt has yet to take the field as a St. Louis Cardinal, but the Cardinals are already thinking about locking him up to a long-term deal. That’s the word from team owner Bill DeWitt Jr., anyway. From MLB.com:
“Whenever a good player comes to the Cardinals, if they have a year left on their contract, we always think down the road. We’d love to have him here longer than one year, and we’ll just see how that plays out.”
It’s Goldschmidt’s walk year, but given that he’ll be 32 when he hits free agency next fall, and given that the free agent market has been crazy-hostile to even the best players over the past two seasons, he’s likely to listen closely to the Cardinals should they make him a reasonable offer.
Goldschmidt hit .290/.389/.533 with 33 home runs and 83 RBI in 690 plate appearances while playing above-average defense in 2018 and, for his career, he’s a .297/.398/.532 hitter with 209 homers in eight seasons. He’ll make $14.5 million this year, playing out the option on the bargain deal (five years, $32 million plus the option) he signed with the Diamondbacks which bought out his arbitration and first potential year of free agency back in 2013.
Whether it’s via an extension or via free agency next fall, this is likely Goldschmidt’s first and last chance at a seriously big payday.
The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.
The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.
This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.
Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.