In a chat today with readers, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals will approach first baseman Paul Goldschmidt at some point this offseason with the hope of discussing a contract extension. He says the club prefers to get a deal done before the start of the season but that they will leave the door open for in-season discussions. He adds that neither side expects the conversation to be contentious and the club believes they can extend him through the remainder of his career.
Goldschmidt, 36, has just one year remaining on his contract, an extension he signed with the club in 2019. He will make a salary of $22MM in 2024 and will also get two signing bonus payments of $2.25MM each, one in January and one in July, leaving $26.5MM left to be paid out.
Though he is now into his mid-30s, he has continued to be a key part of the club, winning National League Most Valuable Players honors just last year. His 2023 was unquestionable a drop-off, but that says more about his excellent MVP campaign than anything. Here in 2023, he hit 25 home runs and drew walks in 12.7% of his plate appearances. His .268/.363/.447 batting line amounted to a wRC+ of 122, a far cry from his 176 in 2022, but that still indicates he was 22% better than league average. He also stole 11 bases and was got strong marks for his glovework, leading to a tally of 3.7 wins above replacement from FanGraphs and 3.4 from Baseball Reference.
Given that he continues to be a valuable member of the club, it’s understandable why the Cards would want to keep him around. They have generally not been shy about keeping their legendary players around, with Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright a couple of recent examples of players who were continually re-signed through the ends of their respective careers. Albert Pujols was away from the club for a while but returned for a farewell tour in St. Louis before hanging up his cleats.
That points to the club having strong relationships with its star players, with Nolan Arenado having also foregone an opt-out opportunity that many felt was in his best financial interest. If the same is true for Goldschmidt, it’s possible he could follow down the legendary path and stick with the club through the end of his career.
The spring is a common time for extensions, as clubs generally like to use the winter months to focus on building the roster by signing free agents and making trades, leaving discussions with in-house players for after…