The 2018-2019 MLB offseason was a particularly noisy one, with lots of big impact moves taking place. There are even some moves that made big waves while still managing to fall under the radar. The St. Louis Cardinals made a trade that falls into the latter category.
It’s impossible to say who “won” the offseason or who will be the clear favorites to take home the title just yet because not one pitch has been thrown. But if you ask one Hall of Fame legend of the game, the Cardinals’ low-key move won them the offseason. Let’s take a closer look why one former superstar believes the St. Louis Cardinals won the offseason.
Which Hall of Famer believes the Cardinals won the offseason?
That would be Mr. October himself, Reggie Jackson. The Cardinals were recently playing the Yankees at George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, the Yankees’ spring home. Jackson is a special advisor to the team who provides coaching and consulting to the team’s big league players and prospects.
Jackson is one of the greatest sluggers in baseball history. He had a controversial run with the Yankees in the late ’70s where he indirectly nicknamed himself “The Straw Who Stirs the Drink” (he was actually claiming that Yankee captain and catcher Thurman Munson thought HE could be “the straw that stirs the drink,” but the name stuck with Jackson regardless). He would feud often with Yankees manager Billy Martin and owner George Steinbrenner. Jackson had a great five years with the Yankees, winning two championships and hitting three home runs in a World Series game in 1977.
Jackson retired with 563 home runs over a 21-year career. It goes without saying that when he speaks, true baseball fans and historians listen.
Why does Jackson believe the Cardinals won the offseason?
So why does Reggie Jackson think the St. Louis Cardinals were the secret winners of the offseason? Two words: Paul Goldschmidt.
In December, the Cards traded three players and a draft pick for the All-Star first baseman.
This is the move that in Jackson’s estimation won them the offseason. “Steal of the century,” he called it.
“He’s the guy that will make the Cardinals 10 to 15 games better, because he gives you presence in the clubhouse,” Jackson told reporters at spring training according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “You look around and see him cinching up his belt. He ain’t gonna get hurt. He’s not going to have a headache. He ain’t going to get a toothache. He ain’t going to get the flu.”
Why does Jackson think the Goldschmidt trade is great for the St. Louis Cardinals?
Jackson’s first argument has to do with the numbers. He points to Goldschmidt’s stats, urging the writer of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article to check out Goldschmidt’s Baseball Reference page. If you take Reggie’s advice and check the numbers, you’ll soon see he’s not exaggerating.
In eight seasons, Goldschmidt has 236 home runs, 710 RBIs, a .297 batting average, and a .398 on-base percentage. He has a career slugging percentage of .532 and an OPS of .930. He has 655 career walks, leading the league once with 110. He’s led the league in intentional walks twice, showing how much the rest of the league respects his bat.
He’s highly decorated as well. Goldschmidt has been selected as an All-Star in each of the past six seasons. He’s finished in the top-10 for MVP voting five times, won three Gold Gloves, and has four Silver Slugger Awards.
Durability is also a factor. Jackson pointed out that Goldschmidt’s average games played from 2012-18 sits at 149, a solid number resembling some of the greats. He’s not just a star, he’s a star you can count on to log significant games without missing action due to injury.
Jackson also thinks Goldschmidt will bring intangibles to the club, referring to his “presence in the clubhouse.” That impact is already playing out –Goldschmidt’s St. Louis Cardinals teammates have been raving about how excited they are to play alongside him.
In short: Jackson was wowed by Goldschmidt’s statistical output and the X-factor he thinks Goldschmidt brings to the Cardinals dugout. If Goldschmidt is able to continue the production and leadership he’s already shown in his career thus far, he looks like he’ll prove Mr. October right.