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After missing the playoffs for a third consecutive season, the St. Louis Cardinals took a major step toward getting back Wednesday by acquiring slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In return for the six-time All-Star, the Cardinals sent pitcher Luke Weaver, catcher Carson Kelly, minor league infielder Andy Young and a compensation draft pick.

“We’ve been busy this offseason working to upgrade our lineup, and today we are excited to announce the acquisition of one of the game’s premier players in first baseman Paul Goldschmidt,” said Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak in a statement.

Goldschmidt hit .290 with 33 home runs and 83 RBI last season, winning a Silver Slugger Award as the National League's top offensive first baseman. In addition, Goldschmidt is also one of the best defensive first basemen in the game -- winning Gold Gloves in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

He finished sixth in the NL MVP voting this season, and has three top-three finishes in his career.

Goldschmidt is also one of three players to be named an All-Star in each of the past six seasons, joining Mike Trout and Salvador Perez.

Impact on the Cardinals

In addition to the upgrade on offense, Goldschmidt brings stability to first base after the team had three players (Matt Carpenter, Jose Martinez, Matt Adams) make at least 15 appearances there last season. 

Carpenter will likely be the everyday third baseman in 2019 with Martinez now a fairly valuable trade chip since he has struggled in his attempts to play the outfield. Martinez hit .305 and finished second on the club with 83 RBI. He could have tremendous appeal for an American League team as a first baseman or, more likely, a designated hitter.

Impact on the Diamondbacks

Although dealing Goldschmidt wasn't necessarily a cost-cutting move, he does carry a hefty $14.5 million salary and is in the final year of his contract. The D'backs were able to get full value for a player they weren't likely to be able to re-sign once he became a free agent. 

Weaver, 25, was a first-round pick of the Cardinals (27th overall) in the 2014 draft. He had an impressive 2017 (7-2, 3.88 ERA in 13 appearances), but seemed to regress as a full-time member of the starting rotation this past season. In 30 games (25 starts), he posted a 4.95 ERA as his strikeout and walk rates declined from the previous season. 

Kelly, 24, is an outstanding defensive catcher, but his bat has struggled to keep up with his glove. He's spent parts of three seasons in the majors, but played sparingly behind perennial All-Star Yadier Molina. In 131 career plate appearances he's produced a .154/227/.188 slash line.

Not that the deal was financially-motivated, but the D'backs now have control of Weaver for five seasons and Kelly for six.

Young, 24, split the 2018 season between High Class A and Class AA, playing mostly at second base. He hit a combined .289 with a .379 on-base percentage and 21 home runs.  

Arizona also received St. Louis' Compensation Round B selection in the 2019 draft, which should be around No. 70 overall.

Fantasy impact

Goldschmidt will be an offensive force, no matter which park he calls home. The introduction of a humidor at Chase Field in Phoenix for the 2018 season may have dented his production slightly (33 HR and .533 slugging percentage vs. 36 and .563 in 2017). Busch Stadium may cost him a few more; it ranked 25th in home run factor last year at 14% below the major league average.

Weaver likely slots as the Diamondbacks' No. 4 starter (providing they don't end up trading ace Zack Greinke). He's young enough to overcome any park differences, though Arizona's defense takes a hit with the loss of Goldschmidt at first.

Follow Gardner on Twitter @SteveAGardner

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