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Cardinals host Padres in home opener

Cardinal infielder Paul Goldschmidt is given a standing ovation by fans in his first at bat in Busch Stadium on Friday, April 5, 2019, in the 1st inning of the opening day game against the San Diego Padres in St. Louis, Mo. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

QUESTION: How certain of getting Goldschmidt were the Cardinals when they traded Luke Voit at the end of July? What would they have done if Goldschmidt wasn’t available? Start Gyorko at third? Gone for Moustakas or Donaldson?

GOOLD: Zero. They weren't at all. They had no idea in July that Goldschmidt would be available in December. That's not how it played out at all. They traded Voit because they were canvassing for a lefty, they had a block for Voit at the majors and the Yankees had an injury to fill and a lefty to offer. Neither side really made that deal as if they knew what Voit was about to become for the Yankees. Certainly the Yankees didn't. Voit was available to them. They jumped.

It's a great question about what they would have done. Jose Martinez at first base wasn't something the Cardinals wanted to do. Gyorko at third was the working theory -- so much so that when the Cardinals traded for Goldschmidt they would called him to tell him his playing time was going to shrink significantly. Moustakas at a certain price had an appeal for the Cardinals, and they would have had some conversations there.

Internally, they had more interest in a longterm deal with Machado on the left side of the infield than Harper in the outfield, but they were under the correct intel that Machado was looking elsewhere to sign and that never seemed to get much momentum at all. Donaldson was off the board quick. He would have been of interest. But how quickly he signed with Atlanta and for what spoke to what he was looking for, and where. There were few options, which further explains the Cardinals pursuit of Goldschmidt when they heard of his availability.