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

    Happy New Year everyone!
    How much young pitching would we have to give up for a young controllable OF like Adell, Frazier or Teoscar Hernandez? All those teams appear to need pitching.
    Interesting question. Because, yeah, that's what it would take. Frazier of this list is most interesting. Doesn't seem like Adell is on the move. I don't see a reason why the Angels would be eager to move Jo Adell, and yes I get that they need pitching, but they can go buy it on the open market and keep Adell. Same with Hernandez, honestly. Though, the Jays did reportedly field offers for him around the trade deadline. No indication the Cardinals were part of those conversations as they gained momentum. He had a great year in the shortened 2020. Won the Silver Slugger. Received MVP votes. Not sure what the move would be for the Jays considering he also THREE years of control remaining, and those could be his peak years as he approaches 30. Again, they can go buy the pitching they want, and the Jays may be one of the bigger players in the market this winter. That brings us back to Frazier. Lots of talent. Hasn't been able to really latch on as a regular, surefire, everyday player for the Yankees with all the other outfielders they had. Did that suppress his development? Limit his ability to get full-stride as a talent? At times it sure didn't seem like it. For a few years now, it seemed like the Cardinals could have that talk with the Yankees, and that's because it's not the number of young pitchers it would take for that deal, but the quality of the prospect. A high-end prospect would at least that get that conversation going, one who is in the majors, on the cusp of the majors, and has the years of control that wise teams prefer.
    Derrick-
    First, you are a terrific writer and we are very fortunate to have you covering our favorite team. How do you expect the Cardinals to handle Tyler O'Neil going forward? His defense and speed are clearly outstanding but, at the plate, there appears to be little hope that he is anything more than the .713 OPS he has demonstrated since he arrived in 2018.
    Thank you for the compliment. And it's a good question -- one that the Cardinals are definitely asking themselves internally as well. It would be a mistake for them to put too much stock in 2020, and just as big of a mistake to not consider the previous two years and what they've learned about all of their outfielders, O'Neill included. He has power that they want to access, that they feel he can get to consistently, and as you mention he's got the speed and glove to keep him in the lineup as he sorts that out. Now, could they maximize him by seeking better matchups. That's the direction of the conversation at this moment. There are some real limited sample sizes here, but O'Neill has had reverse splits to keep an eye on. He's slugged .445 vs. righties in his career in the majors and a surprising .329 vs. lefties. That gap was significant in 2019 when he slugged .435 vs. righties and only .308 vs. lefties, but he did only have 29 plate appearances against lefties. As the Cardinals continue to look for ways to enhance their production it's going to be looking at what Shildt calls the "holistic" approach to the outfield, and really to performance specifically. How do they get more from the whole group by utilizing that group in specific, creative ways. That could mean an outfielder of Carlson-O'Neill-Fowler vs. RHP, or Carlson-Newcomer-Fowler vs. RHP, and then Carlson-Bader-O'Neill vs. lefties. What the Cardinals don't want to have happen and they've had a recent reminder of this is trade O'Neill and see another team unlock that power and have another Voit or Arozarena to watch elsewhere ...
    Since Carlos Martinez can't be had for a bag of bats and a box of balls, will he be a starter or reliever in 2021.
    Teams aren't allowed to share baseballs due to COVID-19 policies. So they're not trading them either.
    Your guess is as good as mine on his role.
    In a couple of years, Machado's and Harper's contract will look like a bargain. It's a shame the Cards wouldn't make a move back then, because they will definitely not be in for acquiring players who are making or will make a lot of money in 2022-2023. It appears the fans are going to have to get used to be stuck in this rut for quite some time!!
  • What rut is that exactly? Winning seasons rut? Or not signing $300-million player rut? Could you please elaborate because one of those ruts is crowded with other teams, and the other is looked on enviously by other teams. So, defining the rut is important.
    Get back to me on Machado's deal when Tatis Jr. is a Dodger or a Yankee or elsewhere.
    It was nice to hear Joe Buck call out the Cardinals for incompetence. That’s what us average fan see. Why can cardinal management not see it? Making the playoffs should be a secondary goal to winning all the playoff games
    That's curious. How exactly does that work? Doesn't a team have to get into the playoffs before they can win all the playoff games? I really think there is an issue here with the Cardinals' messaging. The needs to have some kind of Town Hall meeting or outreach through Twitter or something because they're clearly not reaching some of their fans when it comes to their goals. I get the sense that the Cardinals could ask Joe Buck to call you personally and explain what they mean by talking about reaching the playoffs and winning a division as the goal -- because those are the required steps to a championship; like turning the ignition is the key to starting a car -- and it wouldn't matter.
    This is an issue for the Cardinals because there is such a disconnect in corners of the internet between their fans and them.  
    Last week I asked BenFred about a trade for Benintendi of the Red Sox. He is 26, a left hand bat, plays good D and when healthy was a good RBI man and a base stealer. The Sox would probably accept a couple of pitchers. He has good upside. BenFred disagreed, but gave a very thoughtful answer. What is your opinion?
    I agree that Ben Frederickson gave a thoughtful answer. I mentioned Benintendi earlier in the chat, and my answer was not nearly as thoughtful as Frederickson's. Benintendi has not built upon his breakout, and the question why has to be answered. He fits a profile that makes sense for the Cardinals, and there has been conversation in the past how that was a move for the Cardinals to make, a conversation they should have with Boston. The interests lined up, and Benintendi made sense for the Cardinals. He also had ties to St. Louis, and used to spend offseasons here with the Mathenys. Here is Frederickson's answer that offers even greater depth and detail:

    BenFred's Quick Hits: What's with Molina, McCann and the rumor mill? A Redbird pitcher for a Red Sox fielder? Why can't SLU and Mizzou get it together?

    STLtoday.comRounding up hot topics from columnist Ben Frederickson's live chat with St. Louis sports fans.
    Since the Cards refuse to sign or trade for major players, why don't they just commit to the young guys this year to see what they have. This year is gearing up to be like last year (shortened season; extended playoffs). That way they can possibly see what they have for 2022 when baseball gets back to normal and have and idea who can be traded for more prospects or pitching in 2023.
    Because they're paying Paul Goldschmidt quite a bit to man first base and bat third.
    Good morning, Mr. Goold.I know that Mozeliak said that the Arozarena trade was on him. I am curious, though, did Mike Shildt ever tell you why he elected not to play Arozarena more after he was called up? It wasn't like all of the other outfielders were hitting the cover off the ball. As of now, it seems like a major evaluation mistake on Shildt's part. Thank you.
    Thank you for asking this. This is a key question in the Arozarena conversation. Yes, it was asked. The Cardinals were about to shift Lane Thomas into a prominent, starting role with the outfield, and that was for the stretch run. He was going to take ABs away from other outfielders, most notably Harrison Bader. Thomas fractured his hand on Aug. 27, and all of those starts he was speeding toward in September went to someone else. Bader. The Cardinals' top-flight defensive center fielder made 25 starts in September 2019 and hit .191/.274/.372 for a .646. The question was presented to Shildt at the time why Arozarena -- when the team was hungry for offense -- didn't get the look that Thomas would have, and the answer was more general than specific. Shildt said defense got them to where they were, got them in the race, and got them ahead in the division, and being a run-prevention team would be where they found strength, and Bader was part of that. He was arguably the finest center fielder in the division at the time and they wanted that consistency ahead of the chance, gamble, possibility of more offense. There were questions about Arozarena's defense, and there was some question on whether the jumping-ball of Class AAA that year had hid elements of his swing that would be exposed in the majors. He had his advocates internally. The he-hits-everywhere crowd, and the final step was the decision to double-down on the known of defense (keep in mind Thomas is a strong defender).
    What are your thoughts on the lawsuit filed late last week by MLB and all 30 clubs? Also, do you think the market will pick up during the “virtual” winter meetings? As always thanks for the chat DG!
    The lawsuit was discussed earlier. My thoughts on it are minimal. But it's interesting because we get to see how well insurance companies write their policies.
    I would expect this week to be a lot like last week until teams are going to know more about the ticket sales and the games for 2021, and that's not being decided by baseball. The virus remains in control of that, and that's going to continue to slow the market because so many teams are just in that unknown. They'll talk. They'll express interest. They will wait to make offers. Lots of chatter coming this week. If there's any action, it will be on the non-tender players that teams have identified as must-gets and even then the players/agents might be reluctant to move too fast because the interested teams could multiple in coming weeks if the certainties do.
    Thank you always for the chat.

    With impending CBA negotiation and a few large contracts expiration (Fowler/Carp/Miller/CMart) after 2021 season, what will push the Cards to offer a multi-year contract to available FAs?

    Is there some hesitation for teams to “calculate” projection value equated in dollar terms due to CBA//COVID impact uncertainty?
    With the exception of Molina and that two-year discussion, I've gotten no sense at all that the Cardinals are eager for a multi-year commitment, not unless it's in the form of arbitration and control. I really don't get a sense that they have an appetite at the moment for a multi-year deal. There's been no indication in their comments, or from what I can tell of their talks with agents that would indicate anything other than, if possible, they'll avoid those commitments. And you outline the reasons why. And the market may allow them to take this stats.
    And absolutely the CBA and the virus are factors in those calculations and the flexibility the Cardinals insist they're prioritizing at the moment.
    Doesn't the absence of Wong mean there's a higher likelihood that Carpenter reaches 550 PA and therefore vesting the option year of his contract? If so, didn't the Cardinals just cost themselves $6million?
    Not necessarily. They could a) add a second baseman, b) play Edman plenty.
    Will teams wait til Jan to make moves due to payroll and covid issues.
    Entirely possible. Again, the virus is control. The vaccine is a factor. Teams don't yet know how many tickets they'll be able to sell for 2021. They'll say that limits their ability to set a budget.
    Derrick, without the pandemic as a factor, since he was signed prior to, would an NL team sign Paul G. as a free agent today for 4 yrs/ $104 mil?
    Sure. If the pandemic isn't a factor, definitely. No doubt.
  • Good Afternoon - I heard today that the universal DH is probably not a thing in 2021, what about the revamped playoffs where 8 teams are in? was that just a pandemic thing or does it have any longevity?
    All of these things are still being negotiated by the owners and the union, and that's why there hasn't been much clarity. They both have leverage they want to keep, both have gains they want to make, and both are thinking about the labor standoff that comes this next winter. I know of several NL teams that have been told not to expect the DH for 2021. The Cardinals are approaching their current decisions as if they WILL NOT have a DH this coming season, and that there will be a 26-man roster. That is what they are expecting, at this moment. 
    The commissioner has said he'd like to see the playoff format remain expanded. A reason for that is the money that it generates from the broadcast partners. And any revenue baseball can find in the coming years -- expanded playoffs, expansion -- they're going to consider. It's not certain, it's just been discussed as a likelihood that the playoff format will be expanded. I'll add this: Having a series to open the playoffs and not that one-game play-in was met with enthusiasm from teams and players. They liked that series idea better than a one-game.
    Seems to me if the Card's are serious about an offensive upgrade, they need to sign a proven bad like Rosario or Brantley; those are affordable, predictable adds. All these other names seem to be more risky from a proven add standpoint.
    There's an argument that Rosario is risky, too. And I've not been given any indication that Brantley is some affordable move, honestly. You hit on the challenge facing any front office. The cost of certainty, and what are you willing to save by going with risk. It's one of the biggest issues in baseball, honestly, because almost every team is going to choose the "best value" over the "best player." I can see why fans get frustrated when that's the conversation.
    Looking into the DG Crystal Ball, how many platoon positions are like to exist and how many true everyday players will there be?
    Three platoon positions.
    Four or five everyday players, though not always at the same position.
    Yadi has said it is not about the money, and the cardinals want to keep the player and have payroll room after this year. It seems like there ought to be some sort of meeting with a 2 year contract paid over 3 years. Thoughts?
    Are you talking about deferred money? There are rules regarding what the team and player can do in this regard. They cannot do a personal services contract anymore to add some money at the end -- as if he's an ambassador of the team. Albert Pujols got the last of those deals from the Angels, and that's the final $10 million of his deal. They could factor in deferred money, and the that would count against the budgets and the luxury tax as today's dollars, once the union calculates that value. Maybe that's the direction to go. If they really wanted to reduce the immediate cost, they could backload the contract, but that would reduce their flexibility for 2022, and when they do the budgeting they may go with the AAV anyway.
    Let me just say this: It's about the money. And maybe the Cardinals should make the deal with Molina apart from the payroll and just say, look, there's the big-league payroll and then over here is this side pot where we figure out what to do to keep Molina. Make it as simple for two years at the price agreed upon, and call it a deal.
    Regarding my previous comment about making the playoffs being a priority rather than winning the playoffs. It’s obvious to everybody watching they don’t have a championship caliber team or roster. That’s what I meant. They don’t seem to put together a team that can win at all ,just one that can compete for division or make the playoffs
    thanks for your chat
    I am fascinating by the credit you give them for assuring that that the team is good enough to win a division but never lucky enough to win a championship. That is some kind of amazing front office that can pull off that roster that stops on a dime in October. At some point in time, if they get into October enough, they might accidently win a championship and completely screw up that model. This is the organization that got to four consecutive NLCS with this model and was a pitching decision away from consecutive pennants, 2013-2014, and then got to an NLCS in 2018. I guess your argument would be that the front office calculated to the day the offense would vanish and knew -- goodness what kind of skill does that take to pull off a prediction with that precision?
    You give the front office too much credit. But that's just me.,
    The issue of the disconnect between fans and the front office is a continuing topic. From 2003 - 2013 the Cards fielded a starting line-up that contained proven middle of the line-up hitters the fans had some degree of confidence in that they could compete for a WS title. Then 2015 happened, the Cards won 100 games with a mediocre line-up and great pitching. The philosophy appeared to change with that year that a decent line-up and great pitching could be the winning formula. The fan base has not bought in to that formula. How much influence do you think the 100 win season of 2015 has had on team construction in the last 5 years?
    The thought and clarity of this comment should be applauded. Thank you. The 2015 season both affirmed the approach they wanted to have and informed future approaches, for sure. But let's not ignore the mad scramble they made for power and attempted trades and signings they had during those years. They want their bedrock to be as you described --pitching, defense. But it wasn't like they didn't try to go get a middle-order hitter. They subtracted from their pitching/defense depth to add Ozuna, made that play for Stanton, and looked into trading for Eaton and Blackmon and other outfielders before pivoting to signing Fowler, fresh off the World Series title with the Cubs. So along the way they had the pitching/defense that you describe as their calling card -- and it is -- as their given, their certainty, the backbone of their roster, and then couldn't find the pieces to strengthen around it, or get the production from those pieces that paid off in ways they intended. 
    And that's probably where the fan perspective comes in. There would be a widely different view if Ozuna had repeated his 2017 with the Marlins while with the Cardinals in 2018. There would be a widely different view if Fowler was an All-Star he hadn't been with the Cubs because of the magic of the Cardinals laundry or something something something. 
    The approach that has worked for the Cardinals has been defense/pitching, as you describe, and as they worked for great success in 2015 and again in 2019. And the fact what they've tried to add hasn't met expectations of the fans (or of the front office in some cases) only creates a perceived deficit and the frustration.
    Again, I appreciate the thought put into this comment. Well done.
    (At some point in the near future I need to step aside to write a quick story for the web. I will return to the chat. But if you see a stretch here coming up where I'm not answering questions it's because I have to satisfy another assignment.)
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