Paul Goldschmidt

Isaiah J. Downing/USA Today Sports

If Red Sox want to think big, Paul Goldschmidt would certainly qualify

John Tomase
November 16, 2018 - 12:30 pm

The Red Sox will enter the 2019 season as not only the defending World Series champions, but the most complete team in baseball.

Other than finding a new closer once Craig Kimbrel presumably departs in free agency, they’re stocked all over the diamond with mostly young talent. The outfield of MVP Mookie Betts, Gold Glover Jackie Bradley Jr., and future All-Star Andrew Benintendi might be baseball’s best. Slugging third baseman Rafael Devers is only going to improve. Shortstop Xander Bogaerts just drove in 100 runs.

One position offers the potential for a massive offensive upgrade, however – first base.

All-Star Mitch Moreland saw his production nosedive in the second half, and there’s no guarantee World Series MVP Steve Pearce will return. While Dustin Pedroia’s uncertain future makes second base a question mark and the catchers did nothing with the bat, those are supporting positions. First base is about thunder, and the Red Sox have avenues to pursue if they’d like to add some.

The most intriguing name is perennial MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt. There are reports out of Arizona that the Diamondbacks might consider dealing the six-time All-Star and four-time Silver Slugger this winter, because he’s entering the final year of a six-year, $44.5 million contract and is due to make $14.5 million.

Zachary Rymer made the case for Goldschmidt at Bleacher Report, noting that Chase Field’s new humidor might’ve dramatically depressed Goldschmidt’s numbers. He hit .238 with 12 homers in 79 games at home and .339 with 21 homers in 79 games on the road.

The 31-year-old’s 2018 was characterized as a down year – he hit .290-33-83-.922 one year after posting .297-36-120-.966 numbers – but he still finished sixth in the NL MVP voting.

In eight seasons, Goldschmidt is a .297 hitter with 209 homers and 124 steals. The big right-handed thumper owns four top-six MVP finishes and might be the most anonymous star in the game.

Former teammate J.D. Martinez knows what that feels like, but Martinez is anonymous no more after leaving arid Arizona for snowy Boston. Martinez just received one of the two first-place MVP votes that didn’t go to teammate Mookie Betts, and there’s little question that fans know a lot more about him now than they did a year ago.

Goldschmidt’s right-handed power would play in Fenway Park, and his three Gold Gloves would ensure no drop-off defensively.

The prospect cost would be steep, but president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski was rewarded for pouring resources into last year’s team, and with a host of potential free agent departures on the horizon (Betts, Bogaerts, Rick Porcello, Martinez if he exercises his opt-out next year), the Red Sox could simply load up to take another run before the need for a real rebuild arises.

The options don’t get any better than Goldschmidt. It might not be likely, but it’s worth considering.