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

  • Count me in the group that thinks Lane Thomas is an above average center fielder, and so the difference would not be as much as just saying it goes from a Gold Glove-caliber center field to someone else. Thomas is above average in center. Bader is elite. 
    Excuse me a moment I need to hop on a Zoom with the Cardinals' third baseman.

    I just read the comment for the person puling the plug on the P-D. I'm a subscriber but ONLY for the Baseball and sports coverage. I still feel you and your team's substance and integrity are worth every penny. He can go if he wants the loyal majority will still be here. Kudos to you and your team including BenFred and Ben Hochman.
    Thank you for the kind words. I appreciate both the compliments and the criticisms -- they act as reminders for what's expected from the coverage, and what subscribers should get. The goal is obviously to get as many people interested and invested in our coverage as possible. The Post-Dispatch makes baseball coverage a priority -- look no further than the amount people covering the team and the unmatched amount of content coming about the Cardinals; no other outlet can say that -- and it's a competitive business. We have to meet those expectations, or they will find someone else who will.
    I think the tendency of many fans, maybe most, is to think in terms of a set lineup that is trotted out day after day. But haven’t the Rays shown us that having several interchangeable players and being able to mix and match the batting order can work? In today’s baseball, with the starting pitchers going fewer innings and relievers being used more often, it seems that kind of roster is a good thing.
    Exactly. The Cardinals have been static when it comes to their lineup than other teams. It's an area where they had creativity forced upon them last year, and it's one where they should embrace it this year. Shildt has the ability to be more nimble with the lineup. He got the buy-in from the bullpen to be more nimble with their assignments, and this year that is going to also be the case with the lineup, as matchups guide his pen. At least that's the idea going in.
    Nogowski is tearing it up. Is there a place for him on this team? Can he play the OF? It would be nice to have his bat. He would have been a good platoon w Carp for the DH.
    He can play the outfield. Whether he'll see the outfield in spring is actually a question of some debate around here because the media has asked a few times about it, and Shildt each time has added how crowded the outfield is and getting innings for the outfielders has been on his list more than getting Nogowski out there. Maybe that telegraphs where he fits for this team. It certainly seems like his chances at the bench are tied to how the Cardinals view the options for Sosa and Williams. The path of least resistance is often the path taken. 
    Nogowski has done as much as anyone to force the Cardinals to have the conversation about where he fits. Impressive spring.
    Andrew Miller is on the Zoom. I've got to go ask him a question. Excuse me.
    Is it time to forget the money and treat Carpenter as just a guy? Realistically the money was spent 2-3 years ago and is long gone. What does it matter now?

    For example, how would we be looking at him right now if he had signed over the off-season for Brad Miller money?
  • That is somewhat how he and the Cardinals are approaching this -- with their comments and their actions. They haven't promised him anything. They have replaced him at third base. They have said another player is the starter at second base. And if you trace this back to a few years go, Shildt made Carpenter a bench player in the beginning of this current extension.
    Just a note:Odorizzo won't be ready for opening day, so, even if we had signed him, there is still a need for a starting pitcher. Randy A came back down to earth.
    Or you could have argue some team should have signed Odorizzi earlier ....
    With MLB proposing numerous rule changes, do you believe that the rollover rule should be expanded to the minor leagues as well? It has several benefits that MLB is looking for: it speeds up the game, it saves pitchers' arms, it increases the strategy in the game. We have seen Schildt use it to great advantage this spring and might help the Cards with their uncertainty in the rotation.
    No. Rollovers should not be permitted in games that count in the standings. And the shift should not be outlawed. Period. These are my stances.
    Next up Gant -- in the Zoom. Be right back.
    When will we find out if Justin Williams will get another year of options?
    The hope is this week. Within a few days. It was advertised as mid-March. Here we are.
    Derrick, I believe it was you who, very early into ST, answered a chatter's question about how to judge the performance of the offense during ST by worrying less about hits and average, and instead paying attention to strikeouts. Am I remembering that correctly? Because I have been doing that, and, frankly, I'm pretty worried. The Cardinals are striking out at a prolific rate, and I have noticed that it's even worse against the opposition's front-line starters. Frequently, I've noted that he Cardinals have struck out in half their at bats against the other team's starter. Today is yet another example. As great as the Arenado deal was, the Cardinals still have three huge question marks in the outfield offensively, and, frankly, at shortstop as well. Is it too soon to start feeling nervous about this team's offense?
  • Indeed. Look at hard contact, and look at feel for the strike zone. Look at the swings and misses, and look at the strikes taken and the chasing outside of the zone. The Cardinals' internal numbers have them chasing those pitches outside the zone less, but you're seeing strikeouts for sure. With those two facts that means they're missing pitches in the zone -- could be timing, as we discussed earlier, and we'll see in the coming week if that's the case. The Cardinals have struck out 117 times in their first 401 at-bats. That ranks about the middle of teams this spring, but the Cardinals have played fewer games than all of the other teams with more strikeouts. They have 13 games. The rest have 14-15. 
    In spring training, it's better to look at the process more than the results. A groundball, 86-hopper up the middle past some Class AA second baseman will go in the box score as a hit, whereas a 107-mph rocket caught by a leaping Nolan Arenado is a better indicator of where the hitter is, and it won't appear as a hit.
  • Counter-point to the disgruntled former-subscriber: I am grateful that each of the chatters has a distinct personality and is able to use their own voice in their writing. It would be horribly boring if not. I am happy to continue subscribing and supporting the Post Dispatch. And for what it's worth, I cannot think of someone who is *less* Twitter-like than you are Derrick - Twitter tends to bring out short, angry, and rude comments that can get very personal very quickly. And those people tend to be anonymous. You've always stood by what you write, whatever format that is in, and you're nothing if not transparent and thorough with us. Even when we disagree with you (MVP votes, Hall of Fame ballots, etc) surely we can recognize and respect that. Remember, some people don't even publish their HOF ballots.
    Thank you for the kind words, Ryan. I wasn't sure what was meant by the Twitter-fication of the chat because I have been guilty of writing answers in the chat that are as long as some stories that are printed in the paper. Once an answer was like 16-17 inches -- which is the length of a sidebar. 
    In other words, I get wordy, as my editors have always said.
    Hi Derrick:

    Thanks for your consistent demeanor and thoughtfulness in your writing as well as moderating these chats! I’m a lifelong Cardinals fan and your baseball (and human) insight is a treasure!

    Last week I learned something about the Cardinals rather unexpectedly while watching the Mets broadcast of the Cardinals vs. Mets exhibition game last Tuesday with Mets announcers Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, and Keith Hernandez.

    Mid-game, a graphic was shown touting the Cardinals overall success as a franchise over the past half-century. It showed this:

    “Last non-strike back-to-back losing seasons: 1958-59"

    “14 postseason appearances in the last 21 seasons”

    “Winning record in 20 of the last 21 seasons”

    The last two statements I was aware of, because writers and broadcasters often mention those facts.

    It was the first one that got me. I even went to Baseball Reference to double-check because I had never heard this fact before. I then looked further to see that in 61 seasons since 1960, the Cardinals have had only 14 seasons of below .500 baseball. 14 out of 61!

    Also during discussion of this info on the broadcast, analyst Ron Darling said of the Cardinals:

    “That’s why they are royalty...The best National League franchise...”

    Would you please elaborate on this 61-year period and comment on the team’s consistent success in a historical comparative context?
    Honestly, it seems like you've covered it quite well. The Cardinals haven't finished with the worst record in the NL in ... a century? They've had a continuous run of Hall of Famers, pretty much from Rogers Hornsby to Albert Pujols and now possibly Yadier Molina, who is deserving and overlaps with Tony La Russa and Pujols' tenure. I also find it interesting how every generation for a century now has its championship team to celebrate.
    The kids of the 1920s had kids for those teams in the 1940s who had kids and grandkids to enjoy the 1960s teams with, and then those kids had kids that fell in love with the 1980s Cardinals, and long about the time those kids -- my generation -- had kids look here comes the 2006 and 2011 Cardinals, who my son grew up seeing.
    Not many clubs can say -- or benefit from those timely, separated titles.
    I've been looking through Cardinals history decade by decade and I was struck by the winning percentages that they had over and over again as well. 
    1920s .536
    1930s .566
    1940s .623
    1950s .505
    1960s .552
    1970s .496
    1980s .529
    1990s .488
    2000s .564
    2010s .555
    So, only two losing decades in that span. That is the tailwind of history at the backs of this year's team -- but it also rightfully sets the expectation for this current, young generation of Cardinals who are just learning how to contend. Don't be the generation that allows the Dodgers to catch up. 
    DG - allow me to preface my question by saying that I have the upmost respect for the work you do, your integrity as a writer/reporter, your knowledge of the history of the game, and the time you give us fans. With that, I must ask why what was the purpose of that article last Friday on Carpenter? Is the team so starving for this guy to appear useful that they now have the media writing about his ability to draw a walk? Sure, if he starts hitting and you want to reference back to that at-bat as when he felt things shifted for him, I get it. But I truly can't remember the last St. Louis athlete that the team and media propped up so much with artificial hype, especially when it would seemingly be in his best interest to have less focus on him now. It's crazy, man.
    Let's start here. The team had nothing to do with that story. Carpenter was not brought to the Zoom to talk about his walk. He did not seek us out in the stands to talk about his walk. No official reached out to me eager to talk about his walk.
    I'll offer this in detail in the interest of transparency and in hopes that a few people are interested in it, knowing that so many people have already set their mind to an opinion -- some without reading the story, or his quotes.
    This is what happened:
    I was assigned the lead that day, and early in the game Carpenter had an excellent play on a groundball into right field while playing second base. He has not played the shift that much because the Cardinals didn't shift this much (or at all) when he last played second base. He has shown the ability quickly to learn the shift and play well at second -- and the contrast of him playing the shift well after so many years of being frustrated as a hitter by the shift, well, that seemed like poetry. Here he was this spring having to show that he could both play the shift and not hit into it. You can see the contrast making for a good story.
    The question was could I get a chance to ask him about it.
    I left a message in hopes that he might agree to an interview away from the Zoom, so I could ask about that. He agreed and while I was in a concourse at Clover Park trying to find a quiet corner where I was permitted, he spoke to me on his drive back to Jupiter. This was an interview only the Post-Dispatch had, and it's something that we've tried to do this spring is bring you the readers information and comments and quotes that aren't so publicly available on the Zooms. It's not always possible. This time it was.
    Well, what happened?
    Mikolas happened. That was the news of the day. I exchanged texts with Mikolas -- who had not commented on his situation. These were his first comments. Again, not on Zoom. So that became the lede story that day (news should, right? exclusive comments should, right?), and I had to pocket the Carpenter interview for another time, even if it meant running at time that wasn't immediately after the game, wasn't immediately tied to the game where things had just happened. With an off day the next day, that's when the Carpenter story fit. 
    There wasn't nothing artificial about it. In fact, I found his comments candid and honest, and so many of the criticisms I've seen from fans were actually echoed by him. He says, bluntly, in the story that he has to hit, not just take hits away at second base -- that he has to hit to play. What's artificial about that? He's one of the highest paid players on the team and he is the highest paid player without a clear/certain role on this team. That is an interesting story to tell.
    Want to know one way I know that for sure? You asked about it. Lots of people talked about it. Still are.
    Hey Derrick! Greetings from Kansas City, where it is a little gray and dreary today - I hope you're enjoying the nice weather in Jupiter! My question is related to the one you answered about being a fan of the game and staying objective and professional. You have said for a while now that Nolan Arenado is the best overall player in the National League. As someone who is such a fan and student/historian of baseball, when you see a generational talent like that, are you able to appreciate and enjoy having the opportunity to see him in person every game, even though you can't have a rooting interest beyond hoping for a good story to tell? I think it would be disappointing to have to remove yourself from that aspect of enjoying the game, such as when he makes a really spectacular defensive play, so I hope that is not the case! We are grateful for your professionalism and commitment either way.
    I enjoy baseball tremendously, and do not hide my fondness for the game. I hope that it informs and inspires my writing. If anything having a great player on the team means that I have to rise to the occasion, too. Many of us felt that way around Albert Pujols. Check out some of the stories that the late Joe Strauss wrote about Pujols. These are going to be read for decades to come, they're going to inform books written later, stories told later, and details etched onto his Hall of Fame plaque and into his Hall of Fame exhibit. Yes, that's true because Pujols is a great player. But the greatest words will follow him. When I was a young writer at the Times-Picayune the great columnist there Pete Finney told me to never take a championship for granted -- and never fail to rise to meet the challenge of writing that. You may never get a chance, and you don't want your worst work to be your most read. Same goes when a great player is passing through and there will be more eyeballs on the coverage than ever because of it. Better make it worth reading.
  • What effect, if any, do you think facing these same teams over and over has on the development of the offense and pitching? I get why it's happening, but I'm kinda tired of the same teams, and also wonder if it puts the Cards behind at the start of the season. Or maybe it makes them better because they're all strong teams? Interested to hear your thoughts. Thanks.
    I'm not sure. I continue to go back and forth on this because it's like these full games against the full team you'll see during the regular season. For example, John Gant and Andrew Miller get the benefit of seeing big league regulars today because Flaherty isn't facing the Nationals for a third time, or whatever it is. If the Braves were in town, then Flaherty starts and Miller is getting that late inning against a Class AA hitter, and Gant may not see a big leaguer in relief of Flaherty. So, that's a clear benefit. On the other side, Scherzer doesn't seem bothered by facing the Cardinals over and over and over again, and Arenado just told us how that helps him to face an elite pitcher like that so soon and so often in spring. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are putting Flaherty on the back fields -- and tomorrow he'll face teammates. I always wonder if that's the best format, but it is one that the Cardinals like to use, and Maddux likes doing it for the purpose of workshopping specific things.
    Mike Shildt is on the Zoom. Be right back.
    Do you think that there is even a remote chance that Thomas will receive the opportunity to start more than Bader this season at all?
    Given the recent structures of the lineup, remote sure seems to be the right word. There are some corners of the Cardinals complex here where they would like to see Lane Thomas get more of a look in center, get more of a chance to sway the playing time, but we have not seen that consistently in the lineup. Lightning can still strike. But the brief run when Bader was not available for the lineup did not see anyone seize the playing time and shake it for all the production possible and change the setup of the outfield the Cardinals sure seem ready to take into the regular season.
    If DeJong continues to struggle this year offensively do you think the Cards would look at adding a SS next offseason or is his defensive value enough to keep running him out there?
    Sure seems like the Cardinals have committed those dollars to third base at the moment, and that DeJong is the shortstop they want to work out. Can't see them being a major player for in the high-dollar SS game now that they have their highest-dollar 3B in place.
    A quick update: Edman got time at SS today. They do want to keep him as an option there, and that's part of what people were asking about earlier -- there are ways that both Carpenter and Edman appear in the lineup.
    Is it all but certain now that there will no DH in games played in NL home parks for all of 2021?
    I would put the answer now at likely, but not impossible. Not until opening day arrives.
  • What is the level of concern with DeJong who has regressed every year as a hitter and has looked awful this spring ? Seems like he has always been better hitting in a lower leverage spot like 7th.
    The Cardinals would like to alleviate some of the emphasis on DeJong as a middle order hitter. Let him be part of the depth, some of the sock, some of what Shildt just called the "knockout punch" that follows the middle of the order. Again, this is worth watching develop over the coming week. It's a question on the forefront of conversations -- internally, in Zoom, in the cages, etc.
    Who was your favorite ply when you were growing up?
    Don Mattingly. Bo Jackson -- and when I really started to appreciate baseball, look at box scores daily, study, read Baseball Weekly, and follow college games it was Robin Ventura. He had that remarkable hit streak and Oklahoma State was in the same conference with CU, who did not have a varsity baseball team. I consider Robin Ventura my favorite player. Played my favorite position. Had the guts to take on and take down Ryan -- watch the tape. When I received a gift from my best man, it was a signed Ventura baseball, one of the few very signed baseballs that I have.
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