This is a purely speculative proposition for the Boston Red Sox. Can they possibly get Paul Goldschmidt? Which player(s) could tempt Arizona?
Paul Goldschmidt is the real deal or was until a brutal slump this season. Power, average, excellent defense, a right-handed bat, and signed through 2019. Goldschmidt is also having a horrid season that diminishes his earlier accomplishments.
Is the 30-year-old in a massive slump? Is this just the beginning of a slide to mediocrity? Goldschmidt would not be the first player to slide to oblivion once the 30 year age barrier was broken.
Both metrics and traditional statistical measurements are not kind to Goldschmidt. Hitting barely above .200 and on a pace for 200+ strikeouts. Oh, those metrics! A .285 BABIP versus a career .350 BABIP. 101 wRC+ against career 147 wRC+. A 21.4% Soft % this season against 11.3% in 2017.
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Goldschmidt and Ryan Braun are two players that would most certainly look just spiffy at Fenway Park. Braun – with his questionable ethical behavior – has closed that door, but Goldschmidt is still a possibility. Granted – the possibility is about the same as me enjoying a lunch break on one of Saturn’s moons. Or is it? Is there any possibility of getting Goldschmidt?
Arizona is hitting just .202 against right-handed pitching and Boston is hitting .240 against lefties. Goldschmidt is right-handed and could certainly have the potential to improve that figure if he resuscitates his season. Manager Alex Cora even mentioned the right-hand issue was a factor in the recall of Sam Travis.
What does Arizona get?
The Diamondbacks would need a player who has the hitting skill set to address that average against righties and still give solid defense at first – Mitch Moreland. Moreland is also signed for next season and Arizona would save $8 million based on projected 2019 salaries for both players. This season, Goldschmidt is being paid $4.5 million more than Moreland.
The risk for Arizona is exceptional since Goldschmidt is the face of the franchise, a six-time All-Star and should be in the middle of a possible Hall of Fame career. And then there is undoubtedly the possible blowback from the players for disposing of the popular teammate. Is this just an extended slump? A Goldschmidt returning to his earlier standards far outpaces Moreland – if he returns.
What Arizona does get is a proven veteran who routinely goes 20/80/.260. Arizona gets payroll relief and that is a factor in any possible moves during the season. Arizona is in a hotly contested contest in the National League West and maybe bolstering their roster. Extra play money is a help.
The Red Sox could be getting one of the best players in the game in Goldschmidt. A legitimate five-tool player who could be decorating the “Green Monster” with a few more dents. Boston also gets another hit on the payroll and with a 40% surcharge looming money may be a factor. And if Goldschmidt is really on a slide the Red Sox will lose offense and not gain offense. The risk is clear.
From the perspective of Arizona, I would expect the deal to be a bit more than Moreland. Nothing against Moreland, but his career resume is thin compared to Goldschmidt. The Red Sox would probably need to sweeten any transaction with a prospect or an MLB ready player.
The possibility of such a transaction is about the same as me suddenly discovering the secret for dependable cold fusion. But Boston and Arizona have a deep management connection and as the season moves forward the next few months the implausible could become plausible.