The phone call came while Turner Ward was having breakfast in Los Angeles, about to go to the baseball field as a Dodgers first year coach. The previous summer, in 2015, had the same position with Arizona, climbing the ranks in the Diamondbacks system along with one of his best students, Paul Goldschmidt. Here's who was on the phone, all of a sudden.
Goldschmidt said that he and his wife had a gift for him and a condition.
"You can not say" no ", Goldschmidt told him, remembers Ward.
Delivered to his house later there was a letter from Goldschmidt and a treasure, one of which was a little outside, while Ward described the call. Every day at home, Ward passes the high-gloss Silver Slugger Award trophy that Goldschmidt gave him after winning it in 2015. Next to him is a photo of him presenting Goldschmidt with his Silver Slugger trophy. of 2013. Ward listed several feelings he had about the gift, from "surprise" to "humiliated", before settling on another precious metal to describe his former protege.
"The St. Louis Cardinals have – well, I mean a gem of a player, but in reality he is a gold player, a person of gold," Ward said. "You've always heard of the best players in the game and how they can inspire others around them, make them all better, that's Paul. (As an opponent), you never wanted him in a big situation. , whether it is past or not, it is the strength of what it could do that has your attention ".
The Cardinals will present their new first baseman and annual candidate MVP Goldschmidt at a press conference Friday morning at Busch Stadium. The team will slip on a shirt – and courtship will start to see if they are long-term.
The Cardinals acquired Goldschmidt, a six-time All-Star, in a four-player tournament on Wednesday afternoon that sent pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, minor Andy Young and a 2019 draft pick to the Diamondbacks. Goldschmidt, 31, immediately amplifies a training in search of that "force" in the middle. Comes with a season remaining on his contract, but all the traps of a player that the Cardinals will try to extend as they did with Matt Holliday more recently. The cardinals did not seek an opportunity to negotiate an extension with Goldschmidt before Wednesday's trade, although sources have described Thursday as having an idea of how it could be an extension. The seven-year extension of Jose Altuve with $ 163.5 million with Houston offers a suggestion on the understanding that Goldschmidt will be further on at the end of the agreement.
A shorter five-year extension in the $ 150 million neighborhood would fit the market. The Cardinals intend to take their indications from Goldschmidt so that they can feel at ease and familiarize themselves with the organization and both parties can determine if this is the commitment they are ready to make. A handful of Goldschmidt peers interviewed in the last days volunteered to see the game already.
"He's honestly the perfect cardinal," said former Jon Jung's midfielder, who had been Goldschmidt's team-mate in Arizona last summer.
In four of the last five seasons, the Cardinals have performed inferior to the first base, a position of power. Only in 2015, that year Goldschmidt won the Silver Slugger in first base and gave it to Ward, the production of the Cardinals in the 28th place in OPS (.702) and 29 in slug (.392). The Cardinals have never had a shot in any position, providing 25 homers, 90 RBIs and 0,900 or more OPS since Lance Berkman and Albert Pujols both did it in 2011. In the past six seasons, Goldschmidt averaged 29 homers, 98 RBI and a .934 OPS.
The first time the Cardinals received a better than average production on the first base since 2013 was last summer, when Matt Carpenter's 0.757 OPS ranked second in the major league.
Goldschmidt's # 922 ranked first.
Goldschmidt's presence gives the Cardinals a monster at first in a division that has been defined by production in that position and by a recent MVP run. Seven of the last 11 National League MVPs have come from NL Central and four of these winners remain in the division: Christian Yelich (2018), Kris Bryant (2016), Ryan Braun (2011) and Joey Votto (2010). In the six seasons of Goldschmidt as a regular in the majors, his .934 OPS is behind only .957 of Votto among the first basemen, and Cubs midfielder Anthony Rizzo is in fifth place, at .864. Rizzo is fifth in the slug, at 493, behind Votto, whose 0.516 slugging is second among the first basemen since 2012.
The first of 534 Goldschmidt.
"It was a great division before that trade and even better now," Cuban president Theo Epstein told journalists in Chicago on Thursday. "Not having done the playoffs for three years in a row and having that kind of depth of younger talent – we expected (the Cardinals) to do another consolidation move for another great player, and they definitely have a player # Élite in Paul Goldschmidt ".
Officials, executives and cardinal-holders reserved comments on trade up to Friday's press conference.
Ward, who was recently hired as a Cincinnati coach, has an idea of u200b u200bthe impression that Goldschmidt will do. He has seen since he was the manager of the Gold Glove-winner of the AA class.
"There were some opponents out there who wondered if they could adapt to the pitching of the big league, but this never was, never, never a question for me," Ward said. "He's mentally strong, looks for adjustments, fits, and I've never had a player who was as good as he already comes to me and says," What should I do better? " Best question to the trainer can ever hear. "
With Goldschmidt acting as a response to the Cardinals big-bat hunt, the team has not finished shopping when the next week's winter meetings in Las Vegas arrive. Goldschmidt's $ 14.5 million salary for 2019 gives the cardinals flexibility to pursue a lone left-handed player and a left-handed batsman for the bench. The Cardinals should meet with former MVP agent Bryce Harper next week in Las Vegas, and they will remain aware of his market and the duration of the contract he is chasing. They are better positioned now with the club they already wanted signed. The Cardinals have also zeroed a place on the 40-man list with the Goldschmidt trade that simplifies the addition – or allows them to participate in the draft of Rule 5 next week for unprotected minor league players.
The Goldschmidt agreement does not hinder the other commitments of the Cardinals while, as a NL scout said on Thursday, he adds "an impact bat … (e) instantly makes both the offense and the infield defense ".
"It only reinforces the fact that BN Central has to be earned and our work is cut out for us," Epstein told reporters in Chicago, "and that's how it should be."