Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions at 11 a.m. Monday

Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions at 11 a.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to a live chat with Derrick Goold at 11 a.m. Monday.

    Have you been inundated with “Wouldn’t Adolis Garcia look good in left field” questions?
    Yours is the first. It's interesting because it wasn't too long ago that Texas passed Garcia through waivers and any team, including the Cardinals, could have had them. Not sure what that says about the Rangers' view of their own talent, the Cardinals not taking a second chance at a player they signed first, or the 28 other teams (Yankees are looking for outfield help) that passed on the chance to get him. Big whiff, eh? Kudos to the scout who advocated to get Garcia from the Rangers, and their strategy not to trade for him but to read the room and know the Cardinals had a roster move coming that would shake loose a righthanded-hitting outfielder and the Rangers only had to wait ...
    Derrick, no surprise here that Mikolas didn’t respond to rest following a long period of shoulder ailment and treatment. More surprising was the unwillingness of the front office to acknowledge the risk and failing to strengthen the rotation last spring. Derrick, I know you raised the same concern multiple times. Another case of hoping for the best in a suspect shoulder recovery, Mo overrating the minor league talent, or Mr DeWitt shutting down the budget after the Arenado signing?
    Starting pitcher was an area of depth for the Cardinals -- but not an area of certainty, and that's why I tried to point it out at every turn that they could use some certainty. It was a lot to ask for them to pull the arm and expect Gant, Kim, Mikolas and the group all to come up jackpot on the slot machine. But regarding Mikolas and his injury, this does not follow the chain of events that actually happened, though. He was not just prescribed rest. Here is the chain of events:
    Spring 2020 -- Mikolas experiences forearm issues, is shut down, given a PRP injection to promote healing of a flexor tendon.
    Summer 2020 -- Mikolas starts exhibition game, readies for regular-season debut, and on the eve of it has trouble recovering from that exhibition game. Soreness, discomfort, no sizzle to his pitches. He has surgery to repair flexor tendon. During that procedure, the surgeon looks at the elbow ligament to determine if it needs repair, too. Determines it does not.
    Spring 2021 -- Mikolas revs up the arm again, faces teammates in Live BP. Does well. Feels strong. Gets bite on pitches. Next day, has difficulty recovering. Prescribed rest. There is it. He comes back, plays an aggressive round of catch is set to throw a bullpen session, does not because shoulder does not respond, no oomph, some discomfort. Check of forearm, check of elbow, check of shoulder. Has inflammation and an impingement that require treatment, not just rest. 
    May 2021 -- Makes three rehab starts. Recovers without issue. Makes one major-league start, gets 59 pitches and four innings into it, and has issue with forearm tightness that feels odd when he snaps a slider. Concern mounts. 
    And here the Cardinals are.
    Of course the Cardinals are hoping for the best. It's what 30 teams in the majors do. They hope for the best. The Yankees hope for the best from Stanton. The Dodgers hope for the best from Seager. It's how teams are quite literally built -- they hope for the best. And they create depth, on a budget, to try and survive if they don't get the best. Even the Dodgers had to add Pujols as a starting first baseman due to injuries elsewhere. They were hoping for the best. They had to look for the best available.
    There are plenty of other examples when it comes to betting on minor-league talent or limiting the spending that may be better than Mikolas. It wasn't that the spigot closed after Arenado -- they would have considered a one-year deal with at least one of the free-agent pitchers -- it's that the Cardinals figured they could buy time to see what they already had on the roster, how these returning pitchers performed, and then find what they need via trade. The market should offer that.
    Derrick, I know you have said in past there was significant evaluation internally in Cardinals Org on the Arozarena miss. You have said some in org liked him others did not. Do you see any of that evaluation in play this year? I wonder specifically if it is showing in the handling of Justin Williams. He seems to be getting huge opportunities with minimal success
    I think that's a fine line to draw, sure. I would suggest that it wasn't that some people in the organization "did not" like Arozarena. He was universally regarded as a hitter who would hit at some point in the majors, and the questions were how consistently he would do that and whether he was good enough on defense to be an everyday option. That's how it broke down. When Lane Thomas was injured on the verge of taking over as a starter, the Cardinals doubled-down on defense with Bader in center and did not see if Arozarena's offense would have given them enough to compensate for what they would not have with defense. The Cardinals, in the crucible, sided with the known quantity, the thing they knew they could do well and didn't give playing time to see if lightning might strike.
    Derrick, I know the name that's been and will continue to be tossed around for the Cardinals as a pitcher is Max Scherzer. He has no trade protection. Is that something that he would be willing to waive, or could it require potential incentive, such as a one year extension. I think something like that would make sense for both sides - no such thing as too much pitching.
    Correct. Any of those things are in play. I don't have any direct knowledge at the moment that Scherzer would approve a trade -- and that's mostly because of the timing, it's not exactly a frontburner topic in May, as you know -- but I also know there's no indication he would reject one. He can read the standings, read the roster, and if he sees a fit in St. Louis and a chance to win, I've been told in the past (not this year) that has appeal.
    Thanks for your great coverage Derrick. I feel bad for the players on teams in the middle of a rebuild, so in what year can we expect the Pirates to make a run for a wild card spot, and give the NL Central better competition?
  • It's a great point. We've seen a lot of young talent sweep through the Pirates, supposedly a part of their sustained contention, and then go elsewhere when the standings say otherwise. Looks like they're building toward being a factor in 2023. That would be Year 3 of Hayes, so halfway through the years of control they'll have for their standout infielder. Wonder if Reynolds will be on the move before then. I can think of a team ...
  • Thomas just hasn't been the same since he got COVID. Is he still feeling the effects? Does he have "long haul" covid?
    He says he has recovered from it when asked.
    Derrick - Do you know how/when players are told they are being sent down? For example, (save for an injury) everyone knew that someone would sent down when Mikolas was activated. Was Elledge told after Friday's game? Was he told when he got to the park on Saturday? How generally is that done?
    Both. The manager does it. And it sometimes depends on when the manager can get to the player. This manager -- and previous ones I've covered -- don't want to do this over the phone. They want it done in person, in the office, and with a conversation. When it involves a pitcher, sometimes Maddux is present. A lot of times Marmol is nearby, or part of the meeting, too.
    The preference is to always do it soon after the game before the news gets public, or the media sees what's happening. That's not always possible. There have been times when a player has left the ballpark before the manager is done with meetings, is done with the media, or some other reason, and they'll delay the move until they have a chance to tell the player in person the next day.
    I am in agreement with the philosophy of the front office; ie. pitching wins championships. I am puzzled that they have let so much pitching talent get traded for so little return. Sandy Alcantara and Zach Gallen come immediately to mind. Overall, it seems that other than the Arenado trade, we would be stronger if Mozeliak had left well enough alone and held on to the talent we had accumulated. What say you?
    They needed a middle-order hitter desperately and they needed that hitter to play the outfield. And they got Marcell Ozuna. I didn't know what Ozuna would do for the Cardinals. I didn't have that crystal ball. All I knew was he was coming off a year where he was one of the most feared righthanded hitters in the game, got MVP votes, and after seeing spring after spring after spring in Jupiter it was clear that this guy had a ferocious swing and a chance to be a superb cleanup hitter. As covered at the time -- he was not the upside of Christian Yelich. But he may have been the safest bet of the three Marlins outfielders because it was clear the kind of hitter he could be, and that would be costly to get. It takes talent to get talent, and the Cardinals had to give talent like Alcantara and Gallen to get Ozuna. They didn't have the benefit of hindsight. They didn't think he'd have the 32nd-highest OPS of cleanup hitters over the two years he was here, and why would they? There was no reason to believe that. Other teams didn't believe that. Scouts I spoke to thought he was on the upswing as a talent. His former manager adored him and knows a thing or two about hitting, no? 
    I know it's hard because we have the benefit of hindsight, but when the deal was made Alcantara was a true talent, a big-leaguer at the moment, and Gallen was a prototype college pitcher from the Cardinals' assembly line. Like Weaver, Gonzales, Hudson, and Wacha before him ... But how many people knew his name? 
    If trades could be made with future knowledge they would never be made at all.
    Your last podcast was a great listen, it was really interesting to get a take from an outside view of the Cardinals. I was really struck by the comments surrounding how the Cardinals signing of Fowler, despite all the bad publicity it gets in the chat, effectively dismantled the Cubs emerging dynasty. Even if it wasn't a move that payed off in the lineup, it was a huge blow to the Cubs roster composition. Also, the comparison of the Cubs to the 85 Bears was a great comparison. Really good stuff!
    Thanks for listening, Dave. I too was struck by the notion that the Cardinals signing Dexter Fowler might have been the move that stopped the Cubs dynasty before it really had a chance to start. Interesting theory -- especially for Cardinals Nation to consider. The podcast is available here: 

    Best Podcast in Baseball: Tony's Adventures in Second (Guessing) City - Best Podcast in Baseball -

    Tony La Russa's return to the dugout has not been a breeze in the Windy City, but he's definitely part of the buzz for baseball on the South Side, while the North Side wonders what might have been. David Haugh, longtime Chicago Tribune columnist and now morning co-host at 670 AM The Score, joins the St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer Derrick Goold on a brand new Best Podcast in Baseball to discuss all things Chicago baseball. La Russa made headlines this week by positioning himself as the arbiter of the unwritten rules of the game when he expressed frustration with his own player for hitting a 3-0 pitch for a home run in a rout of Minnesota. Was he behind the times -- or ahead of the strategy? The Cubs make their first visit to St. Louis' Busch Stadium since 2019, and they are a team at the fulcrum between maintaining their core players, some of whom won a championship in 2016, and moving on without the dynasty imagined. Haugh mentions the Cardinals' role in causing a pivot in the run of championships that wasn't. The Best Podcast in Baseball, sponsored by Closets by Design of St. Louis, is a production of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,, and Derrick Goold.
    The walks are killing me . Is it the pitcher or the seams on the balls thanks
    I appreciate your answer, it’s frustrating not because there was a need and we don’t have a crystal ball, but because our FO seems to create that need with poor decisions and then wastes good trade chips out of desperation.
    That's honestly how trades work. If a team wasn't desperate they wouldn't do it. I guess the Arenado trade wasn't a move out of desperation -- but it also wasn't a move without pressure. The Cardinals could sense what was going on in the fan base, knew what the media was writing about their inability to make a big move, their penchant for talking themselves out of the big contracts, and so on and so on, and so that created an urgency to make a move, but the chance to make the right move. Unlike years ago when they didn't have the patience to see if they could get Yelich because there was a desperation to get a bat, and Ozuna was the one they knew was available.
    When will the remainder of the promotional schedule be released? It’s been awesome having fans back.
  • That is coming soon. It's being revamped now that they're going full capacity.
    Would somebody like Taylor Rogers of Minnesota be a good fit for the bullpen? What is the typical market rate for such a pitcher? Thanks!
    Of course he would be. Rogers has two more years of control, so the price would be high -- the market rate you mention would be steep, especially because there would be several teams interested to drive it up -- and I'm not sure the Twins are looking to make that kind of deal. There is pitching talent to consider there in Minnesota especially as their season unexpectedly craters.
    Earlier in the chat, a question arose regarding Edmundo Sosa challenging Dejong for the starting job. You then made a comment about fans being in an uproar if the team had a 900 OPS bat on the bench. It sounds like Dejong will be out for a while so Sosa will continue to get an extended look. I have seen him described variously as an AAAA player, a potential utility player. But never as a true starting position player prospect. How has the last couple weeks potentially changed the view of his ceiling?
    You're not going to like my answer.
    It hasn't.
    A good week is not going to erase years of evaluation. Multiple consistent weeks becoming a month of new information, sure. But if a week rewrites a team's view of a player then what were they doing in the previous seven years? Edmundo Sosa has played well. This is the player that the Cardinals felt they were getting coming out of winter ball a few years ago when Sosa made such a leap as an offensive player and just became more aggressive at the plate. He's that now. But it's a week. There's a reason why the Cardinals have dismissed months of 2020 when it comes to making decisions on the outfield because they feel that small of a window is not a representative test of what they have. A week isn't going to be either.
    Am I crazy or has Nolan Arenado made a lot of errors? Or is he just expected to be so perfect that the errors are more noticeable? He’s had a few seasons of 10 + errors surprisingly. Is his unbelievable range what separates him from everyone else, maybe ever, at third?
    Three of his errors have been at shortstop while on a shift and trying to make backhand plays on grounders, two of which were hit by Josh Bell. One of his errors was not making a catch while on the run to third base and trying to tag a runner all in the same motion. Maybe it's just me but those errors should come with asterisks because Arenado is one of the few third baseman who would even try those plays to begin with.
    Other third baseman aren't good enough to get those errors, because they're not good enough to even try those plays.
    I might be asking again. Sorry for that. Didn't see my question or answer. Are there any free agents that the team maybe looking at that can help. Either being starting pitcher bullpen or bench. How do you see the off-season going as far as free agents. Who the will go after.
    Not at the moment, not from what I can tell. Poked around on this over the past week or so, especially as there were a few injuries that seemed to open up the possibility of a move, and didn't get any sense they were looking at the free agents that were out there. I got to thinking about this again yesterday when looking at the Team USA training camp roster, and again it didn't seem to be any match. Trade is more likely, it seems.
  • When are the Cardinals heading back to Boston? I had a trip planned last year to see Fenway and was so excited to see them play there. Is there any way to predict the inter league breakdown per year of what division youre playing vs who you are home & away at?

    That being said.... HOW did it take the MLB 10 years to schedule Alberts return in STL?!
    This is one that we circle around in the chat ever few months. Cardinals were supposed to go to Boston in 2020, and then a pandemic happened and the whole schedule was rewritten for geography. The next time the Cardinals go to Boston will be in ....
    Well, let's address the Pujols question for a moment. The way baseball set up interleague play was to have teams rotate interleague opponents every year based on division. So in a three-year span the Cardinals would face the AL Central, the AL East, and the AL West, and then repeat. This was set up after the Astros moved to the AL, and it was supposed to bring some consistency to what otherwise had been random. Remember how many consecutive years the Cardinals just randomly faced the Tigers? And how it seemed like they rarely saw the White Sox? Or how the Yankees went a decade between visits to St. Louis. Yeah, the schedule was supposed to stop that and become more predictable.
    In 2016, the Angels were supposed to come to St. Louis. That was the plan.
    Do you know what happened?
    What could have possibly happened in 2016 that would have suddenly flipped that plan and sent the Cardinals back to Anaheim for the second consecutive turn against the AL West in interleague play? Cue the Jeopardy theme. If you said the Presidential Election, you'd be right. The conventions that year were in MLB cities. So the schedule had to be scrambled to accommodate those MLB teams not playing in their cities at that time, and in order to avoid a long road trip that would have violated the CBA, the Angels went from visiting St. Louis as part of a trip that likely included Cleveland -- maybe? -- to hosting the Cardinals because that's how the schedule could be adjusted.
    Had the Cardinals known that was possibility, they would have prioritized in their request to MLB that the Angels visit. But since they took it for granted -- it was part of the rotation! -- they didn't, and off they went to Anaheim and Pujols' return to St. Louis was delayed three years.
    ... which brings us back to when the Cardinal will go to Boston.
    Short answer: No clue.
    The CBA expires at the end of this year, and one of the things under consideration is a revamp of interleague play and the overall schedule. This has to do with tanking, with competitive balance, and general entertainment. There is a real sense in baseball that AL teams would benefit from having the Dodgers, Cubs, and Cardinals visit more regularly than every three years, and that NL teams would of course welcome the Yankees, Red Sox, etc., more than once every six years, and that TV would like that Dodgers-Yankees matchup to happen more often. So, look for that. Because it could be that the next time the Cardinals visit Boston would be 2022 or 2023, and then every year or every other year from there ... 

    If you can’t hit, you gotta’ sit!

    Unless you’re pitching or Yadi.
    But how do you decide when to determine that. Wasn't there a second baseman the Cardinals had who felt that if he went oh-for-four one day he was going to sit the next, and that he had to go five-for-four just to stay in the lineup? That's no way to make a lineup.
    Hi Derrick,

    “See the ball; Hit the ball” versus “Sabermetrics baseball”?

    Who ya’ got? Overall? Seven game series?
    Sabermetrics. In a sweep. It won't be pretty.
    If you were GM for the Cards and the deadline was this week, what one trade would you make to improve this team? Just positions, you don’t have to say players.
    Starting pitcher. I'm pretty predictable, and have been saying this for months.
    When do the Cards expect Carlson back? This lineup looks considerably weaker without him.
  • They are hopeful for tonight, or tomorrow at the latest. He made progress yesterday and they are going to evaluate him at the ballpark -- well, they might be doing that right now, actually.
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