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Does Paul Goldschmidt Make the Cardinals Top 2019 World Series Contenders?

Paul Goldschmidt rounds the bases.
Paul Goldschmidt is changing zip codes after eight seasons with the Diamondbacks. Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License]
  • Oddsmakers seem underwhelmed by the Cardinals’ acquisition of Paul Goldschmidt
  • Can the six-time All-Star prove them wrong and guide the Cardinals back into the postseason? 
  • Are the Cards a better bet than the Cubs and Brewers?

The St. Louis Cardinals gave their fans an early Christmas present on Wednesday when they acquired All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks for three players and a 2019 Round B draft pick.

The deal has created plenty of buzz in the River City, but it’s done little to improve the Cardinals’ 2019 World Series odds, as the club has barely moved from +1900 on December 3rd to +1800 on December 6th across a number of top online sportsbooks.

St. Louis currently has the ninth shortest odds to hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy, just as they did before welcoming Goldschmidt to town.

2019 World Series Odds

Team Odds to Win the World Series at Bovada (12/06/18)
Boston Red Sox +600
Houston Astros +650
  New York Yankees +700
Los Angeles Dodgers +800
Chicago Cubs +1000

The Lack of movement may seem surprising given Goldschmidt’s impressive resume, but there are three reasons why his arrival has failed to capture the imagination of oddsmakers.

1. The Central Division Belongs to the Brewers

Cardinals fans are justified in being excited about Goldschmidt. He’s a perennial MVP candidate who instantly improves their defense and gives St. Louis another big bat. Unfortunately, his presence alone isn’t enough to vault the Cards past the Brewers, who won 96 games in 2018 and nearly toppled the Dodgers in the NLCS.

Paul Goldschmidt Statistics

Year BA HR RBI
2014 .300 19 69
2015 .321 33 110
2016 .297 24 95
2017 .297 36 120
2018 .290 33 83

Milwaukee has the National League’s reigning MVP in Christian Yelich, and a fearsome bullpen highlighted by All-Stars Josh Hader, Jeremy Jeffress, and Corey Knebel. They’re the class of the division and are poised to enjoy another deep postseason run.

2. The Cubs Aren’t Half Bad Either

The Brewers may have beaten the Cubs to win their Central Division tiebreaker, but Chicago is favored to come out ahead in 2019 with average odds of +1100. All-Stars Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Jason Heyward are all back from last year’s 95-win squad, and the Cubs have been linked to superstar free agents Manny Machado and Bryce Harper.

The Cubbies have won the Central Division two of the last three years, and unfortunately for the Cardinals, they’re aren’t going anywhere.

3. Pitching Remains an Area of Concern

The Cardinals have an enviable amount of pitching depth on the farm, but not nearly enough at the Major League level.  That was painfully evident last season as St. Louis ranked 12th in ERA, 13th in BAA, and 17th in strikeouts, hits, and quality starts.

Patrick Corbin and James Paxton have already been plucked up, but the Cards would be wise to target other available aces like Dallas Keuchel, Charlie Morton, or JA Happ, who won seven straight games for the Yankees after being acquired on July 26th.

Are the Cardinals Legitimate World Series Contenders?

The Cardinals should be applauded for landing Goldschmidt, who has proven himself to be an All-Star on – and off – the field. However, unless they continue to add more marquee players they’re still just the third best team in the Central Division.

If You’re looking for a safer bet, we recommend snatching up the Yankees at +700. New York won 100 games in 2018 and has upgraded its rotation significantly with the acquisition of Paxton, who pitched a no-hitter against the Blue Jays in May and finished ninth in the American League in strikeouts. Their odds will continue to get shorter as GM Brian Cashman continues to wheel and deal throughout the offseason.

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Ryan Murphy began his love affair with sports journalism at the age of nine when he wrote his first article about his little league baseball team. He has since authored his own column for Fox Sports, and now serves as SBD’s resident NBA and MLB expert.