Before he spoke on the now, St. Louis Cardinals Chairman of the Board Bill DeWitt Jr. spoke on the past–as in the lineage of first basemen who have preceded Paul Goldschmidt with the team.
“Johnny Mize, Stan Musial, Bill White, Orlando Cepeda, Mark McGwire, Keith Hernandez, Albert Pujols, and of course most recently, Matt Carpenter,” said DeWitt. “Paul is a perfect fit for our club.”
“I don’t know a player in baseball that doesn’t want to play here,” Goldschmidt said. “There’s certain organizations that are just known for greatness and this is one of them.
Acquired via trade from Arizona on Wednesday, Goldschmidt leads all MLB first basemen with 1,135 hits, 198 home runs and 677 runs batted in. He has hit 30 or more home runs in four of the last six seasons.
“When you do your due-dilligence on players, you always hear about player’s makeup and how much they care about the game or don’t care about the game, or what their real DNA is,” echoed President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “We couldn’t find anything negative on him. Nothing. He loves baseball. Loves to play the game, plays it right. And when you think about the St. Louis Cardinals, he just sounds like the perfect fit.”
As for the comparison to so many great players, Goldschmidt downplayed the praise.
“With this organization’s history, you could say that about every position,” he said. “Just try to carry on the tradition. Those guys were great. Hall of Fame players. Not trying to live up to anything, just trying to be part of the team and help us win.”
“I think the players that were here the past few years have done okay, too. Carp could’ve won the MVP and there’s been some other great players here. I think the biggest thing is you’ve just got to show up. It’s good for people to say nice things about you, but you have to go earn it. You’ve got to go out there and play, prepare, and perform. That’s where my focus is.”
Keeping that focus will be key, as Goldschmidt is eligible to become a free agent at the end of 2019. Reiterating his focus is on the game, Goldschmidt said any discussions about an extension would be kept private.
“Try not to have any distractions so anything like that won’t be on my mind,” he said. “I think the biggest thing is I’m excited to be here. Excited to be part of this team and organization and just focused on getting ready for Spring Training and Opening Day and the season and trying to help us win.”
The fact that Goldschmidt may not be in uniform long-term with St. Louis did not prevent the team from their pursuit, but did underline a change in philosophy.
“When you think about where the Cardinals are, I’ve always sort of been one of those types of people who thinks about the bigger picture,” Mozeliak said. “This was a different type of deal for us. It was clearly about trying to position the 2019 team to be more competitive.”
The Cardinals will now turn their attention to left-handed relief and an additional left-handed bat, which may be more of a utility player than starter as Mozeliak noted it was “probable” that the starting eight players for 2019 were already on the roster.
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com