Should the SF Giants take a chance on a future Hall of Fame slugger?

Apr 27, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46)
Apr 27, 2024; New York City, New York, USA; St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (46) / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting a 17-22 record heading into the final game of the road trip against the Rockies, the SF Giants’ season hasn’t gone quite the way management might have hoped after outspending every team but the Dodgers over the offseason. Could the Giants take a flyer on St. Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt?

Should the SF Giants take a chance on a future Hall of Fame slugger?

Their -42 run differential and team wRC+ of 96 are both second-worst in the NL West, so the bats need to warm up along with the weather if they want to maintain an outside shot at a Wild Card berth.  Pricey new acquisitions Matt Chapman and Jorge Soler shoulder a lot of blame for why the offense has sputtered to this point.  They’ve somehow managed to combine for a lowly -0.1 WAR so far.  Chapman has slashed .204/.257/.338 with a 72 wRC+, and Soler .202/.294/.361 with a 94 wRC+.

Per wRC+, the best hitters on the team through the first five weeks that qualify for a batting title have been LaMonte Wade Jr. (177 wRC+), Patrick Bailey (130 wRC+) and Michael Conforto (112 wRC+).  Each of those guys hit either left-handed or in Bailey’s case, from both sides, and the duo of Chapman and Soler have thus far failed to provide the right-handed pop the Giants desperately need. 

If the Giants still fancy themselves to be buyers when July rolls around, one right-handed veteran may catch their attention, and it is one who has mercilessly crushed them as an opponent over the years. That would be Goldshmidt.

Goldschmidt is a seven-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner who took home an MVP award just two short years ago. During that year, he hit .317/.404/.578 with 35 homers and 115 RBI.  His lifetime numbers against the Giants are eye-popping as well – in 161 career games against the orange and black, Goldschmidt has slugged .302/.408/.553 with 31 homers and 111 RBI. 

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?  He’s proven that he can hit well at Oracle Park and is plenty familiar with the NL West from his time with the Diamondbacks, so what’s not to like about him as a potential trade acquisition for the Giants?

Quite a bit, honestly.  The Cardinals are one of the few teams who are likely to be established sellers at the trade deadline thanks to the expanded postseason field, so all of their veteran names will be bandied about the rumor mill in the coming months.  Goldschmidt will be at the top of that list thanks in part to his past contributions, but also because he’s in the last year of his contract, meaning he’d be relatively painless to part with for the non-contending Cards.

They might not find the trade market for Goldschmidt to be particularly robust, however, since he’s looked lost at the plate so far this year.  His .195/.287/.263 line, with just two homers and a 65 wRC+, has been weaker than even Chapman’s output so far. 

Add to that he’ll turn 37 in September, is making a hefty $26 million this year, and plays by far the least in-demand position in first base.  How little is the demand for first basemen these days, you ask?  Just ask Brandon Belt

Belt had a very solid year for the Blue Jays last season, swatting 19 dingers to go along with a 138 wRC+ and 2.2 WAR, and made clear that he wanted to continue his career.  The only problem is, for you to continue your career, someone has to pay you to play for them, and not one team has been willing to give Belt a job so far.  First base is also pretty well covered for the Giants at the moment, seeing as Wade is quietly leading all MLB with his .485 OBP with Wilmer Flores also being a utility bat.

Even though Goldschmidt is one of the few potentially impactful bats the Giants could realistically target leading up to the deadline, the sobering reality is, would he move the needle that much?  Would any singular acquisition, for that matter, and should the Giants even try to spend prospect capital to add to a mediocre team playing in the same division as the Dodgers, Padres, and Diamondbacks?  We can only hope their play over the next few months answers that question definitively, and Farhan Zaidi isn’t in a position where he has to make some difficult decisions yet.