A couple days before the season started, the Arizona Diamondbacks agreed to a five-year contract extension with their first baseman, Paul Goldschmidt. The deal cost a touch over $30 million and carries an option for a sixth year. It was a move that was almost unheard of for a player with as limited service time as Goldschmidt had prior to signing the deal.
It’s probably safe to say, however, that the deal has worked out for the Diamondbacks to this point. Two months into the season, Goldschmidt is an MVP candidate for a first place ballclub. This deal has worked out in the way that everyone within the organization hoped it would, and that’s by making Kevin Towers look like an absolute geniius.
Goldschmidt had already shown signs of being an upper tier first baseman in the bigs before this year. He had 177 plate appearances in 2011 before making the full-time jump last season. While his batting average dipped a bit in the second half of the season, his final numbers were strong, finishing with a slash line of .286/.359/.490/.850, hitting 20 home runs, and knocking in 82.
This season, he’s off to a start that will allow him to eclipse those numbers with ease. It’s hard to imagine the Diamondbacks at the top of the National League West without Goldschmidt playing the way he is. He’s hitting .337 on the young season, with an on-base percentage over .400.
He’ll easily trounce his homer total from last season, with 12 big flies so far this year. He’s already halfway to last year’s RBI total. He’s OPSing 1.022. But as fantastic as he’s been at the plate, what Goldschmidt brings to the equation for the Diamondbacks goes beyond what he does with the stuck.
Goldschmidt provides excellent defense for the Diamondbacks over at first base. After finishing in the negative as far as his UZR is concerned, he’s up at 2.3 so far this season, a pretty large improvement. Combine it all, and you have a player with a 2.6 wins above replacement.
What Goldschmidt’s performance has done, other than rocket the D-Backs to the top of the division, is make Towers look fantastic. He has a franchise first baseman locked up on a deal that averages up to barely over $6 million a year. A bargain for what he could bring to this organization over the course of that deal.