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

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

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

    Greetings, and welcome to the weekly Cardinals chat at StlToday.com, Thanksgiving-edition. It feels wrong to wish everyone a happy holiday season given the ongoing pandemic, the likelihood many of us won't be able to spend this time with friends and family, so I'll begin by wishing everyone a Healthy Thanksgiving and the start of a Healthy Holiday seasons.
    You've got questions. I've got the music on shuffle (Pink Floyd just came on, kid you not), and I'll do my best to provide answers, with some sauce and as little stuffing as possible. 
    Just a clarification, if a player is non tendered but is in the arbitration process, does a team interested in that player have to honor the arb process or can it offer a contract based on the market, meaning one of lesser value?
    A non-tendered player becomes a free agent, and available to the team of his choice at an offer that is not bound by the arbitration process. David Eckstein was non-tendered and came out of it with a multi-year deal from the Cardinals. Other players have to settle for less than the arbitration process would have offered. If the player has less than five years of service time, the new team would have the chance to then tender the contract a year from now and adhere to the arbitration process.
    Moe seems to have a good grasp of the business end of baseball and minor league management. He seems to have a little clue about free agents or Talent evaluation. Is the Cardinals organization starting to see this fact after trading away probably next year’s AL Roy ,American League homerun champion and not resigning the NL near Triple Crown winner. These are pretty damning observations
    They are, but not in the way you suggest. The Cardinals clearly didn't have any trouble identifying the talent those players had. They signed Arozarena, promoted him, ranked him high as one of their top prospects internally, and so on. Luke Voit was seen as a project, but one that had power -- and Mozeliak was a champion of Voit's, mainly because he saw the power that was needed by the team and not coming elsewhere. (See: Gonzales trade for O'Neill, another power-grab trade.) The Cardinals identified the talent. And it also seems like over time Mozeliak's role in scouting and drafting players has been lost or overlooked in these opinions. Jeff Luhnow, for example, gets credit for picks urged by Mozeliak, or for following guidelines set forth by Mozeliak and scouts to acquire athleticism like Joe Kelly, Trevor Rosenthal, and even up to more recent picks like Jack Flaherty. This was a trend that was covered at the time, going back nine, 10, 11 years, and that Luhnow gave credit to Mozeliak having them prioritize athleticism later in the draft, when possible.
    This is just my view, and you can agree or push back: The issue isn't identifying talent. It's prioritizing the playing time at the major-league level to unlock that talent. Too many players, recently, and especially hitters, have gone elsewhere and found success that the Cardinals didn't get from them -- and why is the most compelling and most important question confronting the Cardinals at this time. Is it the instruction? Is it the playing time? Is it something else? Is it the ballpark? Why can Marcell Ozuna have the year he had with Atlanta and not have a robust year like that with the Cardinals? Can it just be dismissed as the shoulder, or is there more to it, and thus something the Cardinals need to change.
    This is the question. It's not identifying the talent. They are clearly doing that. Evidence of their ability to spot talent is populating other rosters. It's releasing it, tapping into it, maximizing it on their lineup before seeing it done elsewhere ... 
    How much would the Cardinals need to overpay to convince the Cubs to trade Kris's Bryant in the division? We have the pitching they need!
    Maybe not as much a you think. It's only one of Bryant. It's heavy cost. And the Cubs would get pitchers they could have for years to come. It would be a package of prospects that would hurt for sure, but not because it's an overpay, just because the Cubs will want to get significant prospects. The Cardinals would get one year of the former MVP, one compensation draft pick, and several years of watching their pitchers throw for a rival who has struggled to grow their own pitchers.
    Since Arenado is unlikely to opt out in this current market, shouldn't that make a deal for him more likely? The Cardinals will certainly jump in now that one of the variables they always cited has been removed, right?
  • A team isn't going to make a deal on a hope, a prayer, and a likely. They would like certainty that he's not going to opt out. I understand what you're saying. Today it looks foolish to opt out. The market is sagging. He has a large contract he may not be able to land in today's market. All logic suggests he won't opt out, and it's entirely likely that the won't opt out. But at the level of this deal, the interested team is going to want to know. When it's known, this is a different conversation. Knowns matter.
    That variable has not be removed until Arenado removes it.
    Your dedication to your craft is appreciated even in Tokyo, where Mikolas honed his control.

    You’ve reported Yadi’s intention to play two more years. For non-Cardinal teams who have interest in Yadi’s service, what would convince them to offer a two year deal?

    With his age and average offense, I don’t see data analysis being kind to Yadi. How do teams justify a two year offer?

    With his legacy, wouldn’t the Cards be the only team willing to go that length?
    Thank you for the kind words. Every indication at this point is that the Cardinals' edge is a willingness to talk two years. I do not know if they have made that offer -- at last check, they have not, but they know that's the request from Molina, and has been for more than a year when Molina's agent approached the Cardinals at the GM meetings in Nov. 2019. From the outside looking in, other teams see the Cardinals as the team most likely to mix emotions with financials to sign Molina, and that other teams aren't. Bill DeWitt Jr. told me this past week that he hopes they can bring back both Molina and Wainwright, and Mozeliak has said that the negotiations with Molina are going to have to include both an emotional/legacy element and a financial element. Again, signs pointing to the Cardinals being the team willing to go where others are not, and at the moment that would be a two-year deal. I was recently told that the market for Molina could move swiftly if the Cardinals make their move, because they are the team that best knows what he wants and he has consistently maintained his preference to return.
    Hey Derrick, When will the Talking Heads and scribes hold Mo accountable? Mo gets a free ride in The Lou. Some of you even try to down play his last few yrs of trades/signings. You say what about Mikolas, how about Kim, Goldy! Pleeez. Drop the Kool-Aid, WAY too many Swing and a Miss for Mo.
    "The future is certain/Give us time to work it out."
    If the Cardinals knew there was a chance Yadi wouldn't be back next year, why did Matt Wieters get so many ABs that could have gone to me? Any explanation from Mo or Shildt?
    He's a switch-hitter, so some of that was lefties. Also, they did pay Wieters to be the backup this year and use him. There were many questions about Knizner not getting at-bats to develop, and over and over the answer was that Wieters was there, on the roster for a reason, and a lefthanded complement that Knizner was not. We can take issue with that explanation for sure, and that's fair, but that was the explanation from the team. The Cardinals did have Knizner positioned to be the starter or in a 50/50 with Wieters if Molina was out for a lengthy period of time. When Molina tested positive for COVID-19, the team immediately said that Knizner would see more playing time as the starter, and then the team went back into quarantine and Molina didn't miss that many games at all.
    Cards are going to have to figure out who plays in OF. Got o neil and Thomas and Bader and carlson and fowler. So who stays?
    They can all stay. The outfield offers an ample amount of at-bats. In fact, they can all stay, the Cardinals can add another outfield and still be OK. It's one way for them to improve their offense, is to look where they're deficient (lefthanded hitters) and add one to create a platoon advantage.
  • Hi Derrick,

    Do you think Molina is just waiting on Realmuto or other FA’s to sign to see the market? If he wants to return and we want him back, don’t you think it would be done by now if we are giving him what he wants? Leads me to believe we aren’t meeting his needs and the longer we wait the better chance he leaves. Thanks.
    I think there is some truth to what you describe. Yes, if Molina wants to entertain offers from other teams, there are a few teams right now that will chase Realmuto first and Molina second, and also if Realmuto signs first then Molina's leverage grows, right? He'll be the available catcher, and can command a higher price. That's not unusual. We're seeing the same thing in the starters market. There were a lot of agents that took note of Smyly signing with the Braves because it meant one fewer starter out there, one fewer team looking, and that was going to shift the prices -- possibly up -- for their clients. Same thing here. As outlined in a previous question, that's part of why the pace for Molina would be slow if other teams are involved, and if the Cardinals meet his wishes, then it could be quick. But both sides are playing the market. They both want leverage for a better deal. If the Cardinals are going two years, they may want a lower AAV, or certainly lower guaranteed in 2021. Molina may want more per year and see if another team getting interested drives the Cardinals up a bit. That's common. That's how this game is played. What hasn't changed is this: Molina does have his agent circling back to the Cardinals, keeping in touch with the Cardinals, and that the catcher has remained true to that part of his statement -- that his first choice would be the Cardinals, but he's not going to ignore other choices. It can be exciting to see how other teams see you.
    Was wondering if the Cards might make a call to the Mariners about Mitch Haniger. They liked him a couple of years ago but he was injured, I think, and had a bad season last year. He might be ready to bounce back, and at a relatively low price.
    Yep. Definitely a name on the list. Part of due diligence, as they call it.
    Mr. Goold: I recently read Bill Shaikin’s article about Jeff Luhnow suing the Astros for being fired over their sign-stealing enterprise. Shaikin writes, “In his report, Manfred said Luhnow denied knowing about the Astros' sign-stealing schemes but suspended him because a general manager should be "aware of the activities of his staff and players."”

    My question is why wasn’t that standard applied to John Mozeliak when Chris Correa was caught hacking into the Astros’ database on multiple occasions? What the Astros did wasn’t a criminal offense. What Correa did was a felony, yet Mozeliak came out of the ordeal unscathed. I can’t help but think the friendship between Rob Manfred and Bill DeWitt Jr. kept Mozeliak from being suspended.
    Bruce, I can't help change your mind about what you and others think. But I can caution you to consider the clarification you yourself made: The investigation into the hacking scandal was a violation of federal law. This wasn't some sandbox, play-time infraction. This was federal law. The same law that protects Coke from having its secret formula hacked, that protects Tesla from having its designs hacked, that protects any major corporation from illegal espionage. Sign-stealing is cute by this standard. It's an adorable little bit of cheating confined to a game. Thus, the standards are different, the lawyering up is different, the investigations are different. There were times when MLB felt that it was not getting cooperation from the Federal Investigators. No kidding. It was a federal investigation. They were out for a conviction, not letter of thanks from the commissioner.
    That's important here, and that's also part of the fallout. MLB investigators were working off of what they could investigate and also what they knew from the court proceedings, and so they knew -- like we all did -- that there weren't others charged. This came up in court, and Correa had to testify to how many people knew or didn't know what he did. That was in court. Under penalty of perjury.
    Luhnow wasn't testifying in court. He may eventually. But he hasn't yet, and the punishment he received sure seems to indicate how MLB felt about his role in what happened.
    You have the right to your opinion, and are welcome to view the facts through a lens of your study, your own observations, and your own nose for something being a bit off, but I urge you not to compare or mix what happened with a federal investigation that sent someone to federal prison -- away from his family -- for a federal violation with something that was an on-field violation, contained within the walls of baseball, not into a federal courtroom. 
    Why do the Cardinals have so many pitchers who don’t live up to potential? Martinez, Wacha, Shelby Miller. All were top prospects that started strong then faded. Do you think Flaherty will be better or fade like them?
    First, because pitching is hard. Second, they have had far more reach their potential and contribute than any other team in the NL Central. You can run the numbers on that. Third, because it's a moving target, evidently. Carlos Martinez was a two-time All-Star and spent two seasons as one of the top five pitchers in the NL. Is that failing to reach his potential -- or did he fail to sustain it? Fourth, Jack Flaherty will be fine. He'll receive Cy Young Award votes in the near future, and may even win one.
    I don't know why all the talk about trades and FA signings with the Cards. From what I understand, they are going to stand pat and hope that the rest of the division is as bad as they are offensively so they can at least stay somewhat competitive with their pitching.
  • That would be a mistake on their part, and standing pat would leave them with an incomplete team for 2021.
    Soooo...for the sake of argument, after next year when Carps and Fowlers salary finally are off the books, who might the Cards go after. It sounds like Lindor and Arenado will be playing for new teams next year and probably will be under new contracts as well.
    They might be. Set to become free agents are a class of shortstops that arguably is the best ever to reach free agency. The Cardinals could have around $60 million coming off the payroll after 2021. Of course, they could also have a season of limited attendance or a reduction of ticket revenues that shapes the payroll, too. The 2021-22 free agent class also includes such luminaries as Freddie Freeman, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Max Scherzer, Lance Lynn, Noah Syndergaard, and former Cardinals' first-round pick Adam Ottavino. That does not include the players with opt-out or options, like Castellanos and Arenado.
    Are we going to see an extended evaluation of cards OF next year? Carlson and fowler should be the only two starters so far locked in. The rest can compete for a spot
    Yep. Absolutely. If they play the games, there will be an evaluation of the outfield, and there will likely be a new addition in that mix, too.
    DG...2 things:
    What are your thoughts on FSM becoming an ad hoc betting machine, I, personally, am disgusted by it.

    Have you heard of any movement on any front concerning the team honing in on trades, FA's or Waino, Yadi or even Wong?

    Thanks for your time and effort and information.
    1. There are things that appear inevitable, and since the Supreme Court decision it was only a matter of time before the opportunity was there and the money was right for baseball to make this leap. And, yes, the pandemic has put MLB in a position where it could use a cash grab or two (expansion?). Shouting at the wall of inevitable doesn't move the wall.
    That said, I don't now how baseball can square this coming presence with keeping Shoeless Joe Jackson out of the Hall of Fame and on the banned list. It's just silly at this point.
    2. When, if, we hear it and can verify it, we'll report it in the newspaper. The Cardinals appeared to have had some trade talks to explore this past season before putting Angel Rondon on the 40-man roster and protecting him for the Rule 5 draft. What those were, I don't know the details of, only that it's common for teams to try and explore deals before setting their 40-man roster. They undoubtedly were approached by teams about to DFA players, and the Rays would have called to check on interest in Renfroe. That's standard procedure.
    Things are moving at the expected slow pace for the Cardinals.
    Quick aside: Winter Warmup will be a "virtual" event this January for Cardinals, the team announces.
    Any interest in checking in on Michael Wacha with maybe a one year prove it deal?
  • Not at the moment, no. The Cardinals have been largely absent from talks with free-agent pitchers when last I checked. There was some rumbling that they had made an overture to a free-agent pitcher that was about to sign, but it was not the case, and the Cardinals had stressed that they have pitching depth at the moment. That would leave their pitching interest centered on bringing back Wainwright.
    Did the Cardinals leave anyone off the 40 man roster that you wish they hadn’t?
    They did not, sorry. I'm not really in a position where I "wish" on players. Leave that to the team.
    One second. I've got some news to track down. Will be back.
    So, if Carlos Martinez is an immature moron for riding a motorcycle without a mask, what does that make Justin Turner? Or, how many of these critical commenters are part of the anti-mask crowd in the US? Makes one wonder if the criticism of Martinez is motivated by more than just his actions.
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