Diamondbacks trade Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals
Well, this is pretty big. The Mariners now have some company among teams who have been pretty good playoff contenders in recent years but still deciding to tear it down. This time, it’s Arizona doing the job. Now, the Diamondbacks weren’t quite as good as Seattle this past year, and they did lose A.J. Pollock in free agency, but they still could have built up instead of torn down. It seems both teams were too intimidated by one great team (to be fair both the Dodgers and Astros are capital-G Great) in their division.
Anyway, the Diamondbacks traded their best player and likely the best player they’ve ever had in their 20-year history, sending first baseman Paul Goldschmidt to the Cardinals for Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Andy Young and a Competitive Balance draft pick. I’ll avoid my rant on how ridiculous it is that one of MLB’s flagship franchises gets a “competitive balance” draft pick, and how it is the only kind of draft pick that can be traded. Instead, I’ll talk about how I’m underwhelmed by this trade package, but that it says more about the state of the league than it does about the Diamondbacks. You see, years of control is king more than it’s ever been. Whether that’s good or bad or has gone too far or not far enough, well, that’s up to you. All I’ll say is that Paul Goldschmidt — legitimately one of the three to five best players in the entire game — not getting a true top prospect is wild. Sure, Weaver and Kelly have some potential, but they aren’t really high-end guys at this point. They have flaws. But, of course, they also have years of control. There’s certainly a scenario where Weaver and Kelly hit something close to their peak, Young turns into something good and the Diamondbacks kill this draft. They can win this trade. But my bet will be on the team getting the player we know is elite, even if it’s just for one year.
Banning the shift?
Before the Goldschmidt deal went down, the big talk around the baseball word on Wednesday was about the shift. Hell yeah, baby, we’re talking pace of play and game action! We know that Rob Manfred’s pet project with his league has been improving pace of play, despite the fact that the commissioner has, somewhere along the line, confused pace of play with length of game. Anyway, from Jayson Stark over at The Athletic we have learned that MLB is seriously considering banning the shift, or at least limiting the strategy. According to the linked post, many in MLB front offices believe it’s a slam dunk to be approved by the players if owners do indeed vote for it. To be clear, nothing is official on this front and this certainly feels like the league floating the idea out to the public to gauge reaction, but reportedly there is momentum.
So, what do we think? I’m pretty sure most reading this will be in agreement that this is dumb, and I agree with you! I do believe the league needs to fix both the pace of play and the relative lack of action in the game. Personally, I’ve always been more attracted to the aesthetics of a game that has a lot of balls in play and doubles and triples. That being said, the shift mostly takes away routine singles, which nobody is really clamoring for. Additionally, if you want more action in the game, you need to figure out how to cut down on strikeouts. There are arguments that banning the shift will help with that, but I doubt it will make any significant difference. Ultimately, I don’t think this will really happen, but it seems closer than I ever thought it’d get. I hate it. Just add the pitch clock and keep pretending that a major issue with game length isn’t the length of commercial breaks.