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Cards officially sign Goldschmidt to extension

Club finalizes 5-year pact with slugging first baseman
@LangoschMLB
March 23, 2019

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals had hardly finished celebrating the arrival of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt last December when they forecasted their next move. That, of course, was to skirt the looming free-agent process by reaching an agreement to keep the perennial All-Star in St. Louis for the long-term. Consider

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Cardinals had hardly finished celebrating the arrival of first baseman Paul Goldschmidt last December when they forecasted their next move. That, of course, was to skirt the looming free-agent process by reaching an agreement to keep the perennial All-Star in St. Louis for the long-term.

Consider it done.

The Cardinals finalized a new five-year contract on Saturday.

ESPN's Jeff Passan and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch's Derrick Goold reported that it will be worth around $130 million. That would make it the largest contract in franchise history, eclipsing the seven-year, $120 million deal that Matt Holliday signed with the club in January 2010.

And it all comes before Goldschmidt’s first official at-bat with the team.

“He’s been everything that has been advertised,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said, speaking generally about Goldschmidt’s spring impression. “The beautiful thing about Goldy is that he just has to be himself. He’s a very intentional guy who cares about playing well, cares about guys on his team and really is strongly committed to winning. He wants to do it in every facet of the game. When you have a guy who is one of your better players who has that mentality, that has a lot of residual effect.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise in the news was the timing of it. The Cardinals believed one of their trump cards in convincing Goldschmidt to stay long-term would be to sell him on St. Louis. Indications were that the club would let Goldschmidt get settled in the city and play in front of the Busch Stadium crowd before opening talks about an extension.

Instead, the Cardinals will leave Jupiter on Sunday having committed close to $200 million to two players. Miles Mikolas signed a five-year, $68-million deal with the club earlier in Spring Training. He, like Goldschmidt, was due to be a free agent at the end of this year.

Goldschmidt, 31, is due to make $14.5 million this season to complete the six-year, $46.5 million contract he signed with the D-backs in 2013. The new extension takes him through his age-36 season.

“There’s never been a recruitment process with Goldy,” Shildt said. “We’ve been sincere about treating him like we treat everyone else, and I’d like to think we treat everybody with a high standard. Obviously, we want to welcome him, make him feel comfortable. But that’s no different than Andrew Miller, no different than any guy we welcome to our organization or make a commitment to. We enjoy getting to know the families. We’ve embraced him, and I’m excited about having him this year.”

Goldschmidt has been an All-Star for six straight seasons and has been a top-six finisher in the National League Most Valuable Player race four times. Last season, he hit .290/.389/.533 with 33 home runs and 83 RBIs for Arizona, finishing sixth in NL MVP voting and winning his fourth career Silver Slugger Award. His career OPS is .930.

He is also a three-time Gold Glove Award winner.

The Cardinals, desiring to add an impact bat, acquired Goldschmidt on Dec. 5 for Andy Young, Carson Kelly, Luke Weaver and a 2019 competitive balance round B pick. Goldschmidt had been in Arizona’s organization since the D-backs took him with their eighth-round pick in the 2009 Draft.

“We’d love to have him here longer than one year, and we’ll just see how that plays out,” principal chairman William O. DeWitt Jr. said a month after the trade. “As you all know, we’ve been fortunate over the years in making deals for players with one year left on their contract and retaining them. … I think worst case is we get a top draft choice, but that’s not our goal when we trade for a player like Paul Goldschmidt.”

Goldschmidt’s decision to stay is not unlike the one that Mark McGwire, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen and Holliday made after being traded to St. Louis. The biggest difference is that Goldschmidt hasn’t yet officially played for the team.

This deal would make Goldschmidt the latest superstar to sign a long-term extension. It comes just a day after Mike Trout and the Angels finalized the largest contract in MLB history, a 12-year, $426.5 million deal that will keep Trout with the Angels through 2030.

Had he decided to wait, Goldschmidt would have been a headliner of next offseason's free-agent class, especially after third baseman Nolan Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million extension with the Rockies earlier this offseason.

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.