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Unpopular opinion: The Cardinals should have traded Paul Goldschmidt at last year’s deadline

Philadelphia Phillies v St. Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

I am about to share an unpopular opinion, as the title of this article suggests.

I’m sure this is going to piss off a lot of Cardinals fans, and I get that. But give me a chance to share this unpopular opinion and convince you that this wouldn’t have been such a bad idea.

The Cardinals had a disastrous season last year. There’s no way around it. However, I was quite disappointed with how the trade deadline turned out.

No, the Cardinals weren’t going for it, as they were already well out of contention. I think we all knew not to expect a huge addition that would get this team back to winning.

But while the Cardinals were selling, they missed out on a golden opportunity that could have changed a few things for the better.

Paul Goldschmidt was coming off of an MVP season in 2022. The Cardinals chose not to trade him, and that is where I begin my argument. The Cardinals should have traded the former MVP at the deadline. I’ll explain why.

Why the Cardinals should have traded Paul Goldschmidt

Before everybody freaks out, we need to consider a few things.

Firstly, the Cardinals weren’t going anywhere last season. By the time the deadline rolled around, it was a lost cause.

Secondly, the Cardinals were in need of pitching, preferably starting pitchers that were Major League ready and had years of team control left. Granted, they did well with the prospects they brought back, but Drew Rom was the only young pitcher that got a taste of the majors, and he imploded.

The best way for them to get viable starters who were Major League ready and had years of team control would have been to trade a key offensive piece. This is where Goldschmidt comes in.

I already mentioned how Goldschmidt was coming off of an MVP season, so his value was high, probably more so than it is now after he took a few steps back.

A couple of guys I was interested in were Bryce Miller and Bryan Woo of the Mariners. Those guys would have been solid pickups, and the Cardinals could have at the very least penciled one of them into their rotation for 2024.

Given that Goldschmidt’s value was high at the time, the Cardinals could have gotten two viable young starters that they could have banked on for this year. That would have likely prevented them from signing one of Lance Lynn or Kyle Gibson. Those two signings are still questionable to me. I’d rather have upside than 36-year-old veterans that are past their primes.

Now, it would have taken Goldschmidt waving his no-trade clause, so that’s something to consider. But he would have had the opportunity to win in Seattle, so it was possible.

Miller and Woo are two high-upside guys with swing-and-miss capabilities that could have helped down the line.

But because they held onto Goldschmidt, they missed a chance to capitalize on his value. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still a superstar, but it’s unlikely that at 36, he’ll win another MVP.

Plus, his contract is up at the end of the year. I think it’s very likely he won’t remain in St. Louis beyond this year, which means the Cardinals are essentially going to lose him for nothing more than a compensation draft pick at best.

He still had two years of club control at the time, which I think could have interested the Mariners. But with him in the final year of his deal, past his prime, and coming off of what by his standards is a down season, the Cardinals won’t be able to do that now.

I get that trading Goldschmidt would have been seen as more of a rebuilding move, but the Cardinals have plenty of offensive depth. They could have moved Jordan Walker to first base and abandoned the outfield experiment. They also could have been able to give Alec Burleson regular at-bats in what was already a lost season.

It also could have left room for the Cardinals to make a big addition to their lineup this offseason. Cody Bellinger anyone? Jorge Soler maybe?

I know I’m going to get a lot of hate from the fans on Twitter, but I stand by my statement. The Cardinals missed an opportunity to capitalize on an aging Goldschmidt’s value to bolster their pitching staff. It could have given them two young starters to pencil into their rotation for 2024 that had upside rather than Lynn and Gibson, who are both question marks.

They may have only needed one or two starters as opposed to three and had money to spend for a better No. 2 than what they currently have in Miles Mikolas.

The outfield logjam could have also been cleared out a bit. While this wouldn’t have been popular with the fanbase, which I understand, it could have helped the Cardinals cause on the pitching side and given them a chance to capitalize on Goldschmidt’s value rather than hold onto him and potentially lose him for next to nothing this coming winter.

The Cardinals weren’t going anywhere last year anyway.