How’s that for a Good Friday? Jim Bowden of ESPN and other things first reports the Arizona Diamondbacks signing Paul Goldschmidt to a five-year, $32 million deal which buys up one of the big first baseman’s free agent years. Ken Rosenthal adds that the deal includes an option for 2019, keeping Goldy in the Snakes fray for a long, long time.
Paul Goldschmidt surprised those who viewed him as little more than a softball slugger after he pounded minor league pitching at every level. Goldschmidt was key in the D-Backs race to the playoffs in 2011 and only improved in 2012, knocking 20 home runs and stealing a respectable 18 bases in posting a 123 wRC+.
First basemen tend to get paid more than they’re “worth” according to most WAR/$ models. The D-Backs feel like Goldschmidt’s power and patience will age well, extending the first baseman four full years before he would become a free agent. By locking him up now, the D-Backs avoid any escalating costs through the arbitration process (due to home runs and RBIs, the foundation for any good arbitration hearing and the basis of Goldy’s game), while Goldschmidt gets the security of guaranteed bucks.
For a player this young to be a first baseman and first baseman only, he better rake. Goldschimdt looks like he can indeed hit and hit for power, but is it enough? The average NL first baseman posted just a 104 wRC+ in 2012, down for the fourth consecutive year. Goldschmidt seems an excellent bet to surpass that with ease as he heads into his peak years.
Arizona committed a lot of years to a player with a limited track record and no defensive contribution of which to speak. But he’s Their Guy and the Snakes just love getting Their Guys, don’t they? Either way, unless the league finds big holes in Goldschmidt’s swing, this deal will look like a steal by the time he gets to free agency.