Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions at 1 p.m. Monday

Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions at 1 p.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to a live chat with Derrick Goold at 1 p.m. Monday

    Greetings from Roger Dean Stadium and Jupiter, Fla., where the Cardinals are currently in the top of the second inning against the Washington Nationals, as I type this. Ryan Zimmerman crushed a two-run homer. The Cardinals are looking at a few different ways to sort their lineup -- always a favorite topic 'round here. And ... well, what do you say we get the chat going early? I will field as many questions as I can around game coverage.
    Away we go.
    Should there be any concern with slow starts with goldy carlson and areando?
    Not much, but it's OK to watch with some interest. As of right now the Cardinals are halfway through their spring schedule. This is Game 13. It's common for the pitchers to be ahead of the hitters in many ways and in most games to this point. Over the next week that will change. The timing for the hitters will catch up. Some hitters will seek back-field at-bats to goose that process. There have been a few times where it was clear that Paul Goldschmidt was just a tick off on his timing from crushing a pitch. He will dial that in. All three have done well as far as maintain a control of the strike zone for the most part. I asked Shildt this morning about the difficulty getting Dylan Carlson and Tommy Edman the at-bats to work on both sides of the plate. I also think that's something worth watching. Edman will appear later in today's game. And both will be able to get at-bats on the back fields during a sim game tomorrow. But here's the catch: All righthanded pitchers are scheduled to throw tomorrow. In the coming week I wonder if the Cardinals use the lefties they've sent out or the two lefty starters they have kept around (Liberatore and Thompson) to get Carlson and Edman the at-bats from the right side that Grapefruit League games aren't always allowing.
    Jose Rondon has been impressive, what are his chances of making the team?
    Improving with each lash of hard contact he makes, and each inning he shows he can play shortstop. The Cardinals were intrigued by the noise he could make in spring training when they signed him. He had solid offensive upside, and the thought was he could also be versatile. Wasn't too long ago he had more than 20 homers at Class AAA/MLB for the White Sox, and if he could also be reliable at shortstop, second, and third -- well, then there was a way for him to leapfrog over Sosa or others and be the complement at a few positions and a pinch-hit option off the bench. 
    Sosa is out of options, so that will be a factor in the decision.
    If Rondon or Nogowski were lefthanded hitters we'd be talking in the chat and in print about how they had assured themselves a spot on the bench.
    How do you stay objective and not a fan of a team? Thanks for these chats.
    Or have it veer the other way -- where you're around something so long and so often and for so many hours that you start to dislike it. In all fairness, I always thought it was more likely that you come to dislike a place you cover more than like it. Like you know it too well, you are giving the stiff-arm too often. This can be an adversarial relationship at times and that helps. The goal is to remain professional. Honest. I'm a fan of the game. I try to keep that as my compass. Cover it from a place of fondness for the game and its history and an appreciation of what baseball means to St. Louis, and see the Cardinals as a public trust that must live up to their brand.
    Do you think Tyler O. has turned into the hitter the Cardinals hoped he would be?
  • He just had another strong at-bat here vs. Scherzer. He took a two-strike curveball to right field for a double. He's using the whole field. Haven't seen him do that this consistently, this well in any spring or season before. He seems more assured at the plate. Shorter swing. In control.
  • Derrick- What are you expecting at the plate from Paul DeJong this year? I know you've thought that he tends to wear down with the season. In reviewing his stats, he does hit well in April, but the rest of the year is fairly inconsistent.
    This is a big year for DeJong. He has proven he can be the shortstop for the Cardinals and play above average defense there. The team could help him by getting him some time off at that position so that he didn't have to log so many innings, shoulder so much of the work there and have it catch up with him later in the season. Offensively -- that's the question that follows him into the season. He has the life and power to be a part of the Cardinals' run-scoring improvement and he did set the SS record for the Cardinals when it comes to homers. As you said, consistency is what's lacking, is what he has to show, and that really is more than through the course of the season, it's within the at-bat. He's got the ability to bring more offensively to the lineup.
    Is it essentially DeJong's job to lose in getting a long look come opening day at batting behind the dynamic duo of Goldschmidt and Arenado?
    I don't see that way, no. Carlson finished last season in that role, and O'Neill has made a push for that spot this spring.
    Is there anyone else besides Edman and by design who figures to get significant time batting lead off this season?
    The Cardinals haven't even been coy with this. They want Tommy Edman to lead off, and he's going to lead off and that's the way it is. Dylan Carlson really hasn't gotten a look there -- that's just fascinating, honestly -- and Matt Carpenter has to leap over three things ...
    -- O'Neill's play.
    -- Edman's play.
    -- No DH (thus far) in the NL.
    ... to even get consideration to bat leadoff, where he is in this game. So it's Edman.
    Did the Cardinals just make it easier for Alex Reyes to likely succeed in the short term by design in making the bullpen his home for 2021?
  • Interesting question. I like the way you phrased it. To me, they just decided not to even dare to find out how successful he could be as a starter this year. They talked themselves out of it. Again. They postponed his opportunity. Again. They seem intent on moving 12 months closer to him only being a reliever for them, ever. Again.
    Just stopping by to say you were right. I took your advice and decided to vote with my wallet if I did not like the product. Not about buying Cardinals tickets, but rather with buying Cardinals coverage. I paid for the PD subscription for years. Almost entirely for the chats. Ben Fred pulled his weight, and The Commish is always The Commish. What surprised me is how your chats have gone from "must read" to "nah, I'm good". I get that it must be tiring to deal with the constant nonsense. The Jon Jay hate became the Kolten Wong hate etc. And I can only imagine the racist stuff you see regarding players like Fowler. And FTR, I fully support your leash thing. But man, these chats have gone from informative to performative. You have twitterized the chats, DG. I don't come here to read you confronting everyone with whom you disagree. Or mocking someone or how their question is phrased. So yeah, I need three decent chatters to make the subscription worthwhile. Only getting two. I lapsed a few weeks ago and have no intention of renewing. Which kind of sucks because I actually pride myself on paying for content. But I would not pay for Twitter. And I have no interest in paying for Twitterized chats. And yeah, I now this will never make its way into the chat. I would never know if it did, to be honest. And I am really ok with that. Just a weird habit to break, clicking this bookmark every Monday.
    I'm sorry to hear you feel this way, and it's a good reminder to always stay on the ball with coverage and make sure that it's getting better, building on each week, not taking last week's coverage for granted. We have to earn subscriptions. We have to earn the investment subscribers make in our coverage, and that's one of the reasons why we have three reporters down here in Jupiter, Fla., covering the Cardinals in person when so many other outlets have zero these days. It's why the Post-Dispatch does have multiple chats a week and constant coverage for the web and newspaper -- perhaps more inches devoted to baseball every week than any other media outlet. If not, it's close.
    I will pass along your compliments to Ben Frederickson and Rick Hummel. They are seated nearby me here at Roger Dean -- socially distant, masks on, of course -- and are very much deserving of the compliments you gave them.
    All aboard the Tyler O'neil bandwagon!
    It is getting crowded as people take note of his batting average -- and how he's lacing hits to all parts of the field. I'm intrigued to see if he does get on base more how his speed could be a boost for the baserunning on this team.
    Would appreciate any thoughts you have on this: As a season ticket holder (two tickets) I was excited to learn that I would have first priority to purchase tickets for the April games. When sales opened I learned that I would be forced to buy four tickets and the price would be more than double my normal rate. I was very disillusioned and feel that this is a PR mistake. It is also interesting to note that opening day is not yet sold out which means I am not alone.
    It is interesting. I saw some of the emails sent to season ticket holders about this. And it does seem to be a part of the Cardinals' approach to carving up the seating to maximize the amount of tickets that can be sold. They did more four-seat pods because that allowed them to grow from 23 or 28 percent to the near 33 percent they're going to open with. They also could engineer in that way some tickets that would be available to the general public.
    (Aside: The team announced moments ago that some general-public tickets will be available for the home opener, and they will go on sale Tuesday. There are tickets available for all of the April home dates.)
    So if the emphasis was selling tickets in pods of four -- fewer two, and no sixes -- then the goal was clearly to allow for as many ticket sales and fans as possible while meeting local policies regarding social distancing. It becomes question of geometry, and then supply and demand. Clearly your demand was not enough to cover the cost of additional tickets, and they're counting on now having enough demand elsewhere to take up the supply.
    Is the DH still a possibility? Are we starting extra innings with a runner on second?
    The DH is always a possibility until the season starts -- and same with expanded playoffs. Rules have changed at the last minute before. There has not been much movement on these things, and there have been reports of no conversations happening. Shildt got curious enough that he reached out to people he trusted, people who should be in the know, and he described to us Sunday how there was no "smoke" about a universal DH.
    National League teams are approaching the season this way:
    -- As if there won't be a DH, and they'll be surprised if there.
    -- As if players like Justin Williams don't have the option year, so they expect to put him on the roster.
    It feels odd -- I get it -- that baseball hasn't given teams these answers yet. But it's not all that unusual. The new catcher and second base rules were introduced in the midst of spring training. Go back more than two decades ago and the wild card notion was launched while spring training was going on, too. Baseball -- needs a deadline to get action.
  • Nolan Arenado singles off Scherzer.
    I mean... this team needs a pitcher right? Cole Hamals or something to eat innings maybe?
    It has been my view in previous chats and continues to be that the Cardinals will look to add a pitcher at some point during this season, especially if they have a lead in the NL Central as the trade deadline approaches. That need does seem more acute this week. Acute, not urgent. The obvious, surefire answer is not out there, like it was with Odorizzi. So they can keep on keeping on, see if Kim does come back in time to pitch that fifth game, and in the mean time use these innings to see what they have, and keep an eye open for trade possibilities.
    I know it's "just" spring, but so far Edman is faring much better than Wong. Tommy is 7-for-20 and Kolten just 1-for-11. Opening weekend should be fun! Looking forward to it.
    It's just spring. Let see how this plays out because it will be an academic comparison to make all season -- especially with both of them in the same division. In this chat, in the past, I've said that Wong will be an All-Star at some point in his career. The robust voting machine that is the Milwaukee Fan Base -- some of the best All-Star Game Voters in Baseball -- may be what sweeps him to the Midsummer Classic. We'll see. I'll own that prediction and stick with it.
    So Reyes pitched 4 more innings than Gant last year and 0.8 innings less than CMart and yet he is the only one who can't handle a starter's load? Also, how does he go from 80 innings in '21 to 170 innings in '22? The math doesn't add up.
    Agreed. It does not. You know what a good way is to manage a pitcher's workload and assure that he gets innings and rest and is available when you need him?
    Make him a starter.
    Incredibly, you know when a starter is going to appear in a game and you know the days that starter is going to rest. 
    Pauly D has struck out in almost 50% of his spring at bats, he looks lost at the plate right now. Is it to early to hit the panic button?
    It's early, as we discussed earlier. It's worth noting now, not panicking.
  • Happy Monday, Derrick - and again - thank you for your time and insight. And put me in the category of people who like your chats and always make sure to be here for them. I've always wondered if it would be a 'good' idea to charge chatters a nominal subscription fee to maybe weed out the chaff. Anyway - to give some insight on Goldy's slow start - I lived in Phoenix for 20 years until last summer. Out there - Goldy is kind of known for starting seasons slowly until he heats up. So I wouldn't read too much into what he's doing in Jupiter.
    Thanks for the background and the compliment. Yeah, it wasn't too long ago that Goldschmidt had a low average coming out of May -- I believe it was May -- and then went on a storm to finish the season and rank high in the MVP voting. In his career, he has two months where his career OPS is less than .900 for that month. The two months are:
    April -- .284/.393/.501 for a .893 OPS
    Sept -- .277/.366/.473 for a .839 OPS
    When he joined the Cardinals we talked to him about the slow start the previous year and what clicked for him, what changed for him, and he talked about changing some things to get going quicker, but said it wasn't the same thing every year that he could identify. Also of note was the spring where he did miss some time with some soreness in his throwing arm. That hasn't been the case spring, so he's been able to get more at-bats.
    The whole Sinclair RSN business is - sure a business at best - but very annoying. I'm done paying outrageous amount for overrated content. I just want to ala carte the Cards and anything else I'm interested in. I'm not interested in paying for channels I don't even click on or browse over. What are the chances any kind of streaming deal happens this season with the ones that have cancelled since this time last year? Thanks DG!
    Doesn't seem likely from what I've read. Candidly, this is not my area of coverage, so what I know of it is what I read and some of what I ask around about. I do know that there's a lot of interest in the ala carte model -- for all of us, from folks who want news to people who want cartoons to people who just want sports. There are a few cable news networks that charge huge fees whether you watch them or not, and for the non sports fan there's a sizeable chunk of your cable bill going to the Cardinals when you may not watch an inning of them. The iTunes model -- pay by the song, if you will -- is an interesting one. I do wonder if MLB, with its app and its tech and the money it makes off that, gets there first and really does advance how fans get the product. I keep hoping that will happen. Let the blackouts fall. Let fans choose games like they would a movie, or buy a subscription like they do for Netflix. Heck, there's even apparently a name waiting for this kind of service.
    MLB+.
    We are 16 days away from Opening Day. For those of us that have to make travel arrangements to watch the Cardinals, can we assume that the current schedule is the one we can count on?
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