With Harper in hand, the St. Louis Cardinals should also inquire about Paul Goldschmidt. With Zach Greinke listing the Cardinals as one of the 15 teams on his no-trade clause, the price might be steep, but the Cardinals still have the assets, the room, and the need for Goldschmidt’s powerful bat.
The second blockbuster would be to trade for Paul Goldschmidt AND Zack Greinke. For this deal, I am assuming Greinke will be included and waive his no-trade clause. You could structure a similar deal for only Goldschmidt, but the prospect cost would be higher.
The fact of the matter is that rental players do not command the prospects they used to command, and it’s time for the St. Louis Cardinals to take advantage of that fact. Who else was frustrated about how little Manny Machado cost the Dodgers last year? I certainly was, because I know the Cardinals could have easily met that price and then some without posing any risk to the future.
We can reasonably assume that the price of Goldschmidt while taking on Greinke’s contract is marginal. The prospects increase as Arizona eats more Greinke money or if Greinke drops out. That said, I cannot see Arizona saying no to an elite catching prospect (such as Carson Kelly or Andrew Knizner), one or two pitching prospects such as Ryan Helsley and Junior Fernandez, and one outfield prospect, such as Conor Capel or Justin Williams.
Those three or four prospects would probably get you Goldschmidt and Greinke, and you can probably get Arizona to eat some money in this deal on top of it. Greinke quickly becomes a number one or number two for this team, and suddenly you have Goldy and Harper batting three-four in your lineup.
Yes, Matt Carpenter is playing third on this team, but there’s only so much damage a bad defensive infielder can do, and you gain so much offensive firepower and a decent glove with Goldschmidt, making the trade-off that comes with having Carpenter’s weaker arm at third likely worth it.
Now we have Goldy, Greinke, and Harper, and the Cardinals are still under the luxury tax. If the deal is done for Goldy and NOT Greinke, then the Cardinals are way under the luxury tax. That said, we still have another deal to complete.