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Goldschmidt expected to provide added pop to Cardinals lineup

After missing postseason play for the past three seasons, the St. Louis Cardinals believe they have struck gold with Paul Goldschmidt. Last December, St. Louis sent pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, minor league infielder Andy Young and a 2019 draft pick to Arizona for the slugging first baseman.

Goldschmidt [Official team photo]

The Cardinals finished 88-74 last season. To remedy its postseason drought, the club sought a big bat to put into a lineup that includes Matt Carpenter, Marcell Ozuna and Yadier Molina. “In the offseason, we feel like we did the things we needed to do to put a successful club out on the field,” said John Mozeliak, the Cardinals president of baseball operations. “We knew we had to make some changes to our club because we felt like, even though we had a good team last year, we still weren’t good enough. “We looked at all the different options that might be out there, whether it be the free-agent market or what our trade options might look like. We felt that Paul checked so many boxes for us that it made sense.” Goldschmidt is glad to join the Cardinals. “This organization here has had success for a really long time and sustained it; that’s really tough to do,” Goldschmidt said. “I’m looking forward to finding ways to help us win. I’m excited about that. This division is really good top to bottom. “Hopefully, we’ll go out there and find a way to win the division and get in the playoffs and do something special.” Mozeliak believes the addition of Goldschmidt will tip the scales in the Cardinals’ favor. He should improve an offense that finished fourth in the NL in homers last season [205] and sixth in runs [759]. “We needed just a little bit more,” Manager Mike Shildt said. Goldschmidt, 31, has been voted to six straight All-Star Games. In 2018, he hit .290 with 33 homers and 83 RBIs – his fourth season in the past six years with at least 30 homers. Over the past eight seasons, Goldschmidt has averaged 31 home runs, an OPS [on-base plus slugging] of .930, 40 doubles, 175 hits and 97 walks. In 2016, he stole 32 bases, a season after recording 21 in 2015. He has 124 career steals, an average of 18 per year. Goldschmidt is a four-time NL Silver Slugger award winner and a three-time Rawlings Gold Glove recipient. He is the lone NL player to be named an All-Star in each of the past six seasons, and he’s one of just three players [along with Mike Trout and Salvador Pérez] in all of the majors to have done so. Shildt said Goldschmidt is the real deal. “A lot of times the hyperbole doesn’t meet what’s real,” Shildt said. “In this case, it’s exceeded it. He’s come in and been unbelievably engaging, thoughtful [and] proactive. He’s really smart and dedicated to what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. He’s exceeded expectations already.” His teammates are excited about him joining the Cardinals. “Give me a beer!” Molina said when he learned about the trade. “Give me a beer, please, because this is great news. I can’t wait to be on the same field with Goldy and the other guys.” Second baseman Kolten Wong said he told Mozeliak the defense will be much better. “It’s going to be tough for these guys to sneak a ball past us on the right side,” Wong said. “[This] allows me to be more free and go for balls I know I can go after, and not go after balls to my left, because I know he’s going to be there.” Adding Goldschmidt allows the club to move Matt Carpenter to third base on a full-time basis. “I couldn’t be happier, not only that I’m moving across the diamond but who I’m moving for,” Carpenter said. Shortly after the trade, Goldschmidt began swapping texts with Cardinals coaches and teammates discussing the finer points of the game, like baserunning and taking leads. “They are not short conversations,” Shildt said. “And they are not forced. He loves it, is my point. He’s a baseball guy.” Wong agreed. “When you look at someone like Paul Goldschmidt, that is a Cardinal, man,” Wong said. “How he plays the game, how he goes about his business, that’s the Cardinal Way. “To have someone like that, hopefully, to re-sign and be with us long term, that’s something all these guys who are coming up or getting drafted by the Cardinals are going to be able to look at and say, ‘This is how I want to play the game.’ Even someone like me. I want to be sitting next to him, finding out what I can.”
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