Paul Goldschmidt's decline is eerily reminiscent of Matt Carpenter's in 2021

It's no secret that Paul Goldschmidt hasn't been swinging the bat well. His decline is eerily reminiscent of what took place with Matt Carpenter at the end of his first stint in St. Louis.
St. Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks
St. Louis Cardinals v Arizona Diamondbacks / Christian Petersen/GettyImages
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It hasn't been a pretty start for the St. Louis Cardinals and Paul Goldschmidt in 2024.

Perhaps his difficult spring was a tell-tale sign of what was to come, but heading into Friday's series opener against the Brewers, the 36-year-old had a batting average of .182 with just one home run, seven RBI, and a .516 OPS.

But as Goldschmidt continues to taper off, I can't help but remember how things ended with Matt Carpenter in his first stint with the Cardinals. When you look at the two scenarios, Goldschmidt's struggles are eerily similar to what we saw from Carpenter from 2019-21.

Paul Goldschmidt's decline is eerily similar to Matt Carpenter's

Carpenter's decline began one year after the epic salsa craze of 2018. There were signs of it early in 2018, but he got going and never looked back.

2019 was a different story. He got off to a bad start and never quite recovered, finishing with a .226 average and losing the starting job at third base.

Things would only get worse from there. Carpenter finished with a .186 average in 2020 and a .169 average in 2021. Following the 2021 season, Carpenter did not return to St. Louis and instead found a new home with the Yankees.

Carpenter struggled to even make contact from 2019-21 and was constantly hitting into the shift.

So, that's what Carpenter's decline looked like. But what about Goldschmidt.

Well, Goldschmidt's 2022 season was quite impressive and strikingly similar to Carpenter's 2018 surge. The slugger was the starting first baseman for the National League in the All-Star Game and he later won the NL MVP Award.

But by September, he had cooled off and he came up short in the postseason. 2023 was also a major step back for the former MVP.

While Goldschmidt's drop-off last year wasn't nearly as severe as Carpenter's from 2018-19, it was still a stark contrast to his 2022 season. After hitting .317 with 35 homers and 115 RBI, he hit just 25 homers with 80 RBI and had an average of .268.

This year, he's looking very much like Carpenter did in 2021, unable to come through in the clutch and struggling about as bad as he possibly could to start the season.

Carpenter's contract was up after 2021, and such is the case with Goldschmidt this year. An important thing to remember is that Goldschmidt will be turning 37 later this year.

I think it's obvious that he's on the decline and not quite where he was even last year. And with him aging, it's hard to see him busting out the way he did in 2022. As a result, he may find himself in a similar situation to the one Carpenter was in after 2021.

Personally, I believe this is going to end up being his last year as a Cardinal. While I didn't expect him to struggle this badly, I didn't see him quite regaining his 2022 form. As he continues to age, it's clear that over the next few years, the Cardinals won't have a spot for him and will have to look elsewhere.

I hope I'm wrong about this and that he can get going again, but there may be a reason why the Cardinals didn't give him a contract extension last offseason. If things get worse, don't be surprised if he becomes a trade candidate.

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