With Spring Training fast approaching, MLB.com will take a look at a different aspect of this year's D-backs squad each day this week. Today's topic: How's your star?
PHOENIX -- There is no doubt a learning curve for new D-backs manager Torey Lovullo when it comes to his team, but one thing Lovullo -- just like Chip Hale and Kirk Gibson before him -- can count on is having Paul Goldschmidt at first base.
Entering his sixth full season in the big leagues, Goldschmidt is a model of consistency.
"He's our anchor," Lovullo said. "He's proven that through his performance over the past several years. He's a great guy for us to build around. In our opinion we have one of the best players in the National League, and that really excites us."
At 29 years old, Goldschmidt is still in the prime of his career, so there is no expectation that his performance will suddenly fall off.
You can argue that 2016 was a bit of a down year for Goldschmidt, but with a slash line of .297/.411/.489 it was still one that most players would love to have. And looking more closely at his season you can see that a slow start was to blame.
On May 15, Goldschmidt was hitting just .222, but over his final 528 plate appearances he slashed .320/.417/.507.
"Having watched him from the other dugout for a couple of series over the past several years I just know that he was a force offensively, he was a force on the bases, and the rest of the league recognizes that," Lovullo said.
For the production he provides, Goldschmidt also happens to be a financial bargain.
The D-backs inked Goldschmidt to a five-year, $32 million extension during Spring Training in 2013, which also includes a club option. At the time, Goldschmidt had only spent one full year in the big leagues.
The deal pays him $8.75 million in 2017 and $11 million next season. The club option for 2019 is for $14.5 million with a $2 million buyout.
Of course the same contract that makes him affordable also makes him attractive to other teams.
In the past the D-backs have refused to even discuss Goldschmidt's name in trade talks, and it doesn't appear that has changed. However, if the D-backs struggle again in 2017, it certainly seems possible that the organization would look to undergo a rebuilding process.
In that scenario, their most valuable trade chip would be Goldschmidt. For now, though, Goldschmidt is simply the D-backs' most valuable player.
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.