We still have over a month to go until Major League Baseball's trade deadline arrives on Aug. 1, but that has not stopped rumors from spreading across the league. For the Philadelphia Phillies, the trade deadline allows the club to load up their roster even more as they push for a return to the playoffs and the World Series.
It just so happens that there may be a player who could fill the hole at the first base position for the Phillies that has needed an injection of star power ever since Rhys Hoskins tore his ACL during a Spring Training game in March. Hoskins is the longest-tenured batter on the Phillies' roster, and losing the first baseman took a toll on the clubhouse and fanbase alike in Philadelphia. While it may seem like a longshot, there is a growing possibility that the Phillies bring in 2022 National League Most Valuable Player, Paul Goldschmidt, to play first base for the rest of 2023 and beyond.
Goldschmidt signed a five-year $130 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals before the 2019 season that would span from 2020 through the 2024 season and was able to win the National League MVP and a Silver Slugger award in 2022, as well as Gold Glove award in 2021. He now finds himself at the center of trade rumors for the second time in his career following the Cardinals falling to last in the NL Central division halfway through June, and the Phillies could be the ideal suitor.
How the Phillies acquire reigning National League MVP Paul Goldschmidt
The first hurdle the Phillies would need to clear to bring in the reigning MVP would be his salary. The first baseman is due $26 million in 2023 and 2024, and the Phillies already have six players due $20 million or more this season who will be on the payroll in 2024. However, the team's President of Baseball Operations, Dave Dombrowski, is not afraid of bringing in talented players to get the job done. Dombrowski was quoted at the Winter Meetings saying "I really philosophically believe that you win with star players" following the signing of shortstop Trea Turner to an 11-year $300 million contract, and has been adamant that the Phillies will not be selling at the trade deadline.
So if the payroll is not a concern for the Phillies when it comes to acquiring players, the question becomes what could the Phillies offer to St. Louis to land one of their star players? Goldschmidt, despite the Cardinals' struggles, has been batting .291/.382/.500 so far in 2023 according to BaseballReference.com. He also has hit 13 home runs with 38 RBIs and is the Cardinals' leader in batting average, on-base percentage, and hits to this point in the season.
RHP Griff McGarry and outfielder Johan Rojas, Philadelphia's third and sixth-ranked prospects, respectively, are prime candidates to be traded in this scenario. The 24-year-old McGarry sits behind two other right-handed pitchers on the Phillies' prospects list, and his combination of a fastball, slider, and changeup has earned him 27 strikeouts in seven starts across A and AA baseball in 2023.
Rojas is 22 and sits behind the 19-year-old outfielder Justin Crawford on the Phillies prospect rankings. The Phillies also boast a deep group in the outfield with Bryce Harper, Nick Casteallonas, Kyle Schwarber, Brandon Marsh, Christian Pache, and Jake Cave. While he has shown flashes of a future big leaguer, it's unlikely that the time will come for Rojas soon if he stays in the Phillies organization.
It might also take a third player to get the deal done with the Cardinals, and could land a prospect or cash in return for the Phillies. Replacement first basemen Kody Clemens, who has batted .240/.292/.388 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 130 plate appearances could be moved. Righties Christian McGowan and Andrew Baker are both names from the Phillies AA associate in Reading that could find themselves on the trade block as well.
Any combination of those players would likely be worth it to add Paul Goldschmidt to the Phillies' roster for the remainder of 2023 and 2024. A trade with Paul Goldschmidt in exchange for Griff McGarry, Johan Rojas, and Christain McGowan is rated by BaseballTradeValues.com's trade simulator as a 23.20 value for the Cardinals and 20.80 for the Phillies, meaning the Phillies could likely receive cash considerations in this type of trade. This would also end Rhys Hoskins' time with the Phillies and make it even more complicated for the Phillies to retain their ace Aaron Nola after the 2023 season. However, adding Goldschmidt to the Phillies' lineup could be the final piece to making the Phillies a legitimate contender in 2023.