3. Paul Goldschmidt trade (2018)
The Cardinals had a hole in the corner infield before the 2019 season, and they plugged it in a big way after trading Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, and Andrew Young for Arizona Diamondbacks slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt. Already on a Hall of Fame trajectory after hitting .297 over eight seasons with the Diamondbacks, Goldschmidt took a year to adapt to his new surroundings, hitting only .260 in 2019, but he busted out with an MVP-winning season in 2022.
Even in his down 2019, Goldschmidt provided much-needed power to a moribund offense, as Matt Carpenter had trouble adjusting to increased defensive shifts against him and Marcell Ozuna failed to replicate his previous season. Goldschmidt returned to form in 2020 and 2021, receiving Nolan Arenado as support across the diamond in the latter season.
While Goldschmidt won the MVP award in 2022 after hitting .317 with 35 home runs, he skidded in September and October, hitting only .245 and not contributing in the postseason. Still, his production has far outweighed what the Diamondbacks received, and Cardinals fans are unlikely to lament the deal.
Weaver had a career 4.72 ERA with Arizona in three and a half seasons, while Kelly has hit .231 and been an average defensive catcher during his time in the desert. Young played just over a season with Arizona, hitting .205, and is currently sputtering in the Washington Nationals’ system.
Trading unproven players for superstars rarely ends up being a bad decision, and the Goldschmidt trade was no exception for the Cardinals. Postseason success will ultimately determine whether this deal was merely a good one or an all-time great one.