This week, in honor of the upcoming Winter Meetings and the craziness that is baseball trade rumors, we’re presenting a few fun trade ideas the Phillies could indulge. Sit back, grab some popcorn, and act like these ideas aren’t nuts.
Imagine the Phillies having one of the best hitters in baseball. Imagine that same hitter is one of the best fielders of his position. And imagine he’s one of the best baserunners in baseball, a top stolen base threat. Now, imagine this player, a local boy, helps lead the Phillies to the 2019 world championship.
We’re not talking about Mike Trout.
We’re talking about Wilmington, Delaware’s own Paul Goldschmidt.
Goldschmidt is elite. He’s a lifetime .299/.398/.525 hitter with 140 home runs in what amounts to five seasons. He’s arguably the best defensive first baseman in baseball, saving 34 defensive runs for his career, per Fangraphs. And Goldschmidt – ahem – stole 32 bases last season. That’s more than any Phillie in 2016. It’s nearly the same total as Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis combined.
Again, Paul Goldschmidt is elite. There’s Trout, Harper and Machado, and the next tier may start with Goldschmidt. And he’s in Arizona, floundering on a franchise undergoing insane change and in need of a quick rebuild. One way to rebuild is to sell your highest value, and Goldschmidt has pretty damn high value.
Goldschmidt is locked up in 2017 and ‘18 for peanuts ($8.8 million in 2017, $11 million in 2018). He also carries a 2019 team option worth $14.5 million. With that type of contract the Diamondbacks can ask for a king’s ransom for Goldschmidt. And the Phillies have what amounts to a king’s ransom.
What’s the trade?
So taking on Goldschmidt’s maximum $34.3 million contract means giving up a lot. One way to lighten the prospect load is to take on a bad contract, but Arizona doesn’t have any absurd veteran deals to absorb (okay, Zack Greinke, but that’s $172.5 million through 2021, so … uh …). Plus, look, if I’m Arizona I’m trying to build around Goldschmidt. So again, it would take a lot.
The deal would have to start with J.P. Crawford, undoubtedly. He’s a top global prospect, and Arizona needs a shortstop.
Arizona also needs a catcher with Wellington Castillo in his final arbitration year. They’d ask for Jorge Alfaro. He’d probably have to go in the deal, too.
Oh, if they’re losing a first baseman they might need a new one. Come aboard, Tommy Joseph.
So how’s this deal:
Arizona trades Paul Goldschmidt to Philadelphia for J.P. Crawford, Jorge Alfaro, Vince Velasquez, Nick Pivetta, Tommy Joseph
Is that even enough?
What’s the fallout?
So I can’t imagine Arizona would do any deal for Goldschmidt now. They have solid young players just beginning to earn their stripes in the majors (Brandon Drury, Archie Bradley, Braden Shipley). The supporting cast isn’t that bad (Yasmany Tomas, A.J. Pollock, Jean Segura). They just need leadership that won’t squander it.
But, say they make a Goldschmidt trade … their 2017 lineup is Castillo (C), Joseph (1B), Segura (2B), Crawford (SS), Jake Lamb (3B), Drury or David Peralta (LF), Pollock (CF), Tomas (RF). And the rotation is Greinke, Velasquez, Patrick Corbin, Robbie Ray and Rubby De La Rosa, with Bradley and Shipley in the wings. Maybe not a playoff team right away, but plenty of potential there.
As for the Phillies, they lose a few top prospects. The lineup is Cameron Rupp (C), Goldschmidt (1B), Hernandez (2B), Galvis (SS), Maikel Franco (3B), Howie Kendrick (LF), Odubel Herrera (CF), Roman Quinn (RF). And the rotation is Jeremy Hellickson, Aaron Nola, Jerad Eickhoff, Jake Thompson and Ben Lively. Again, not a playoff team, but plenty of potential still.
Would I do it?
No. It cancels out too much of the rebuild for a first baseman, even if he’s the best one in the game. Maybe in 2018 I make a deal like this, but not quite yet, when there are still so many questions surrounding guys like Franco, Quinn, Nola and Thompson.
But that was a fun idea, right?