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Why wait? Goldy, Cards eager to get deal done 

First baseman didn't hesitate when asked to remain a Cardinal
@LangoschMLB
March 23, 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It was with a cup of coffee in hand that president of baseball operations John Mozeliak approached Paul Goldschmidt in the Cardinals clubhouse some two weeks ago with a question that had the potential to alter the trajectory of the organization for years. Mostly, though,

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- It was with a cup of coffee in hand that president of baseball operations John Mozeliak approached Paul Goldschmidt in the Cardinals clubhouse some two weeks ago with a question that had the potential to alter the trajectory of the organization for years.

Mostly, though, Mozeliak was curious.

He didn’t want to depart Florida not knowing if maybe, just maybe, Goldschmidt had been as ready to talk about a contract extension as the organization had been the day it executed a trade for the perennial All-Star first baseman.

“Hey, do you want to give it a shot?” Mozeliak asked.

Goldschmidt said he did, and the rest became history. Literally. Goldschmidt’s five-year extension, which was officially announced by the team on Saturday, will kick in after this season and is worth a franchise-record $130 million.

“Everyone sees the money, and they’re excited about that, and I understand why that makes headlines,” Goldschmidt said. “But I think the most exciting thing for me is to be part of the Cardinals and be here for six years. I was just excited that they thought that highly of me that they wanted to keep me around.”

That was never a question. What wasn’t as well defined was how the club planned to go about making sure the feeling was mutual. Though there was always the preference of striking an agreement before Goldschmidt headlined the next class of free agents, the organization never wanted any part of the process to feel forced.

They were willing -- prepared, even -- to allow Goldschmidt to get settled into a new city and play in front of new home fans before ratcheting up the recruitment. Turns out, he was already sold.

“I was just excited when I got traded over here, to be honest,” Goldschmidt said. “Teams, organizations, cities kind of have a reputation. But everything I heard about St. Louis and the organization has been more than great -- whether it’s from past players who have been here, coaches, current players, now getting to meet all these guys. I definitely felt confident in that.”

For both sides, this extension offers an element of clarity. Goldschmidt knows where he will play through his age-36 season. And the Cardinals have an offensive anchor to build around. With Goldschmidt and Miles Mikolas signing long-term deals this spring, the Cardinals have eliminated much of the long-term uncertainty that was on the horizon.

Those two, along with Michael Wacha, Marcell Ozuna and Adam Wainwright, arrived at Spring Training in the final year of their current contracts.

What isn’t certain is how Goldschmidt will perform over the length of the deal. There is inherent risk in extending a player into his mid-30s, but the Cardinals felt Goldschmidt was the one worth gambling on. He’s been an All-Star for six straight seasons, has hit 30 or more homers in four of the last six years and has started 150 or more games in four consecutive years.

Goldschmidt plays a position that can be more forgiving with age, and he’s played it at a gold standard.

“I think the one thing about him is just his overall consistent performance,” Mozeliak said. “When you’re doing that year in and year out, it makes it feel easier. The unknown in baseball is always when someone hits a cliff. You just don’t know. But we felt this was a unique opportunity for us. We felt like we couldn’t let it go by.”

Those feelings were only reinforced this spring after seeing how seamlessly Goldschmidt fit into a new clubhouse. While he gushed about the depth of talent within the organization, the Cardinals spoke of Goldschmidt’s potential impact on it. It was within that context that the visual of Goldschmidt’s Saturday news conference seemed so perfect.

As he spoke from a podium, Goldschmidt looked out to see more than a dozen teammates in attendance. Afterward, Goldschmidt, who had to be pulled out of the batting cages so the conference could start, hugged his family, posed for a few pictures and then joined those teammates on a bus ride to West Palm Beach.

He had talked his way into the lineup.

“I think the most important thing for me was getting ready for Opening Day and for the season,” Goldschmidt said. “I owe that to all my teammates here and the organization here. That’s why we’re here -- to go out and play baseball and try to win and try to bring another championship here. Hopefully, I’ll be a small part of that.”

Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.