Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your questions at 1:30 p.m. Monday

Cardinals chat: Derrick Goold takes your questions at 1:30 p.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to a live chat with Derrick Goold at 1:30 p.m. Monday

    Yes, I get the sense that many in baseball are frustrated with the look of the game and are searching for ways to reclaim the game from the approach that analytics has brought. That includes players, front office folks, managers, coaches, and executives. They are fans of the game too, and they see so much talent in the game and want to find more ways to bring that out consistently.
    I'm guessing the Cards will figure out something for Yadi ( 2yr/20 ) and Waino ( 1yr/5+), or at least one of them, knowing a vaccine appears close, doesn't it make sense for a play for Lindor? He's due $20 mil. I hate doing trade offers cause your never sure how the other team ranks players, but knowing the Indians a little, would Bader, Angel Rondon ( #13 AAA ) & Sosa ( MLB ready ) be enough taking on all the money for Lindor. Its just 1 year guaranteed. Cards don't get a chance to draft that kind of player with the " be competitive every year " mantra. Fixes a lot of things they need. Leadoff check, 3rd base ( DeJong ) check, more pop check. Oneill, Carlson, Fowler L to R.
    Cleveland's track record and past deals suggests they're going to want high-end pitching, and pitching that can contribute to winning in 2021. Not sure what Bader adds to a team that already has Mercado and other CF options. Going to need to increase that offer to get a seat at the table.
    Care to comment on Pfizer's Covid 19 vaccine trial coming in at 90% efficacy. Which is the same threshold for effectiveness as the vaccine for the measles and chicken pox. If I recall the White House a few months back said by election day. 6 days seems close enough for most sensible folks. DOW up 1,500. People, pay attention!
    I'm going to stride right out onto this controversial limb and admit to everyone in the chat. Here goes: I am pro vaccine.
    There I said it. I don't mind taking this stance. I think we should all be healthy, that not dying is good, and that science can help. 
  • My 2000's perspective: the Cards were only serious title contenders when they had Albert (Pujols, not Jeff) to cover their deficiencies, their overall evaluation competency fell off with the Houston defection and then the Correa incident that followed, and this ownership's focus has shifted from MV3 to BPV... and it isn't coming back.
    So the pennant in 2013 and appearances in the NLCS in 2012, 2013, 2013 and 2019 were by accident? That might be the biggest indictment of them all that ownership wanted a mediocre team that didn't contend and still they did. Oops.
    How limited was Zack Thompson in the Satellite Camp? Is there any concern his injury(ies) could linger into next spring?
    He had shoulder soreness that prompted a conservative schedule for him, and that was likely going to happen for him if there was a normal season -- the schedule, not the shoulder sourness. They were going to be ultra-protective of him in this, his first full pro season, and they knew that there was some concern back in spring. We were all told that he finished the summer healthy, feeling good, and set for a normal offseason after some additional rest -- because he has the time. It's not expected to linger. It is however expected to influence how the Cardinals have him get ready and some of the workout/strengthening they have him do this winter.
    Can Carlson be an every day center fielder,or should he kept in the corner positions for the log term?
    He can play center, and can do that in 2021. Sure showed that in 2020. His future may be in the corners, but his here and now can be in center.
    Hearing that MLB has decided to shut down many minor league teams is sad news to me. Minor league baseball is an experience that I would recommend for any true baseball fan, especially with ticket prices. With that in mind, do you have an opinion on the wisdom of removing baseball's antitrust exemption? I would argue that removal would bring back more "minor league" teams and adjust how we view baseball's secret finances.
    I, too, am discouraged by the shrinking minor leagues, and have a personal stake in it because for all of my youth minor-league baseball was the only pro baseball in the entire time zone. That's it. We had the Triple-A Bears/Zephyrs down the street until 1993, and that was my access to live baseball, and it's where my fondness for the game grew. How many Cardinals fans are in Johnson City, Tenn., because there was an affiliate there? The grassroots appeal of baseball is being yanked out at the root in some places, and that causes me concern -- and I'd like to hear more about how the game is going to replicate that, either with top prospects or college games in those areas, and is that the same thing? I'm skeptical, because it doesn't tie to one team. Can't give fans there an early peek at the talent coming here so they can say they saw them when ... 
    As for the antitrust exemption, I don't have that strong of an opinion on it, honestly. I don't think doing away with it would have the effect that you suggest. The two best doorways into baseball's "secret finances" remain the one team that is owned by a publicly traded company (the Braves) and any discussion about a CBA that is going to force the teams to define revenue. Once that's done, then you get more clarity.
    Haven’t heard anyone comment on Joe Bucks takes on the Cardinals front office and the Arozerena trade...his comments were spot on - the Cardinals don’t seem capable of evaluating players and making good decisions.

    Bad trades, bad signings and bad timing too
  • It sure seems like I've spent the past three chats commenting on that subject. To me, it's not a question of evaluation. They signed Arozarena. They advanced him to the brink of the majors. They didn't do that thinking he was a replacement player. They thought he was a talent. Heck, internally he had strong advocates within the Cardinals ranks. They thought he was a pure hitter who was going to hit at every level. I've said that before. And he did.
    The question for the Cardinals is one of development. What are they not doing at the major-league level to unlock this talent? \
    Is it playing time/opportunity?
    Is it health?
    Is it instruction?
    Is it position, something else?
    A few years ago the Cardinals traded an outfielder to the Dodgers and looked up to find that he was playing second base for LA. That was news to them. Why didn't they know he could do that? That prompted an internal discussion on how to be better aware of the positions players could play, and one spillover from that conversation was a few years later when they paid attention when a manager thought Paul DeJong could play short. So he did. Now he does. 
    That same kind of discussion faces them now because if they don't have a handle on how to unlock, unleash talent than it's going to be something that holds them back, not just with who they trade, but also who they sign. They don't want muted production from newcomers.
    What did you hear about Trejyn Fletcher from the alternate camp. I know you weren’t allowed there. I know information from the camp was scant. However, surely some comment about his camp was heard from someone. Is he a true prospect?
    He is a true prospect, yes. His athleticism puts him there. I didn't hear a whole lot of details about Fletcher, except for the extended work he got in what could be similar to an instructional league situation. Lots of exposure to drills and fundamentals, and most of all being around the game. That was something the Cardinals had in mind for Fletcher this season. I know at one point the thought was that he'd be at extended sprint and possibly GCL for 2020, but that he would get time around the PB-Cardinals team, even if that was just attending their games in the evening, etc., just to be around more baseball. And that is what the summer camp provided him, and by all accounts he made the most of it.
    Molina and Wainwright will be gone at some point. Is there anyone on the current roster who will step in to that leadership void?
    If they haven't already, then they won't. There are other leaders on the team besides those two.
    How much money is coming off the payroll after the 2021? Fowler, Carpenter, I believe. Is there anyone else that will free up payroll dollars?
    As much as $60 million, and more if the Cardinals step away from arb-eligible players.
    How many of Bader, O'Neill, Fowler and Carpenter will be regulars next year? (Regular being starting 50% of games or more)
    I don't know. I'm sorry. I have no idea what offers the Cardinals will have for trades, what newcomers they'll add, or any of it. And at this point they really don't either. Sorry.
  • 3 reasons the Cardinals will be serious pennant contenders at some point in the next 3 years?
    Pitching.
    Pitching.
    And expanded postseason.
    They need to add offense to advance from contender to division champ and team to reckon with in October.
    I guess I'm less interested in why Arozarena was traded questions (one would think the Cardinals gave him up for a bucket of balls, the way the conversations have gone - I for one, while disappointed he isn't doing what he did in a Cardinals uniform, am very much looking forward to seeing what Matt Libertore can do); I am infinitely more interested in what the deciding factors were that made the front office decide Lane Thomas was more worthy of a shot in the majors than Arozarena.
    He was outplaying him at the time. It's been a year and Randy Arozarena had a record-setting October, but if you look back at the stats that Lane Thomas brought to the majors from Class AAA or from the most recent season, it's not he was struggling. He was surging. Consider these four sets of production, sorted by OPS:
    A - .270/.342/.472, .815 OPS, 16 HRs, 44 XB, 113 Ks, 396 ABs (28.5 k rate)
    B -.264/.333/.489, .823 OPS, 27 HRs, 56 XB, 134 Ks, 515 ABs (26.0 k rate)
    C - .285/.372/.454, .844 OPS, 17 HRs, 44 XB, 110 Ks, 533 ABs ( 20.6 k rate)
    D - .344/.431/.571, 1.003 OPS, 15 HR, 44 XB, 71 Ks, 343 ABs (20.8 k rate)
    You may be able to eyeball who is who is, and maybe even when is when. But A is Lane Thomas' career at Class AAA. B is Thomas' 2018 season. C is Arozarena's career at Class AAA Memphis, and then D is his 2019 season, overall. Arozarena exceeds Thomas' production. He does so with the added bounce of playing during the rabbit-ball season in Class AAA, and still his production stood out, but that's part of it. And Thomas had the edge defensively for the Cardinals, who knew he could play center field. Arozarena had the speed edge, though the baserunning scores may have depended on who you asked. Thomas is also younger, though not by much.
    I bring this up, just to point out that there was evidence that Lane Thomas was a rising prospect, right there alongside Arozarena, if not ahead of him. The Cardinals even nurtured the notion at one point that Thomas could be their starting centerfield for a good stretch of 2020. He struggled this season, for sure, and some of that may have been related to COVID-19 and his recovery from the virus, the Cardinals have later learned. But let's not rewrite the backs of baseball cards that show he produced pretty well, too.
    Just to clarify, DG, I'm not meaning to imply that you are one having those conversations, but more pointing to the constant questions i'm sure you receive about why Arozarena was traded, online chatter etc. - apologies if that wasn't clear
    All good. It's certainly this year's Yelich conversation. One we'll revisit, I bet.
    I recently saw an article that the High-A club will now be in Peoria and Palm Beach will be the Low-A affiliate now. What's the reason for the reorganization?
    Geography. That's the plan. Limiting travel. Grouping levels by area. That's the plan for reorganization.
    How much do off the field issues and personality go into player evaluation rather than actual talent and verifiable statistics? I thinking of Pham being traded after his explosive SI interview and Arozarena being traded after he leaked Shildt's expletive filled postseason speech.
    Two elements this this: Teams do put off the field issues and personality into the equation when looking at players, and it's one of the things that teams have really tried to become better at when it comes to the draft. You've probably heard the stories of the Cardinals going to see Texas A&M on the days that Michael Wacha didn't pitch so they could watch him interact with teammates and see how he did on those days. The Cardinals (and other teams) have called clubbies who know how players act in the clubhouse to get a feel for the personality off the field. Many years ago, the Cardinals invited some reporters to a workout and later I was told the team wanted to see how the young players handled the scrutiny and attention that comes with Cardinals baseball. They were trying to get better at reading the players beyond the analytics, beyond the field. This is a growth industry in baseball.
    That said ... 
    These legends are false. Tommy Pham was not traded months after an article that sources within the Cardinals described as disappointing and silly, but not a deal-breaker. At the time he was their starting fielder, and he didn't say anything in SI that he hadn't said before to them. Pham is earnest, and he's not going to sugarcoat. People seem to forget that he was struggling at the time of the trade, that he and the Cardinals were having ongoing discussions on how to maintain his eyesight and what they needed to do for that, and Bader was playing well. Not the first time the Cardinals traded a struggling center fielder who was losing playing time to someone younger. 
    Randy Arozarena and Shildt had a conversation after that, and both came out of it feeling like they had resolved any lingering frustrations or confusion. If the Cardinals wanted to trade Arozarena as a result of that, they could have in November. They could have in December. They did in January -- after they had already explored deals for Jose Martinez, Lane Thomas, Adolis Garcia, and Tyler O'Neill all of that winter. They wanted to move some righthanded hitting outfielders, and, yes, there was an internal question whether Arozarena was going to get the playing time in the majors. Was that related to the video? Seems like a leap considering the month before the video is when this concern started -- that he wouldn't get the playing time. 
    We good? 
    I'm hoping Yadi comes back,but,if he doesn't who would you like to see come in?Is Waino coming back dependent on Yadi?
  • I don't really have a stake in this, and will cover and interview whoever they bring in at catcher. I don't think Pierzynski is going to come out of retirement, because I always did enjoy talking to him. Besides, you don't want a good talker as a fan, you want a good catcher.
    Wainwright told me during the summer that he and Molina spoke in the clubhouse and also later about sticking together. They wanted to keep that possibility open as they considered options. A package deal? No. Wainwright will have a handful of suitors, and he's got ties to at least one team that is interested in him (Atlanta). From talking to both player, it seems like being together is part of the decision, not all of the decision, not a litmus test for their division.
  • Does Jeff Luhnow have a case against the team or league?
    I don't know. I've read what you've read. It sure seems like he was fired for cause. How deep he's dug in his heels to insist he did not know what was going on is remarkable at this point. It's almost like he's admitting a lack of institutional control by arguing that he knew nothing about it.
    The buck doesn't stop with him, so he can get the bucks?
    The team is not verbally committing to spend in '22 but they are alluding to it with their '21 approach. I am incredibly skeptical that they will spend in '22. I think we will get a new hitting coach and the same basic roster make-up with the emphasis being on a "new approach."
    Let the record show that the first chatter to give up on 2022 did so on Nov. 9, 2020. If the Cardinals are terrible in two years, we can refer back to this prediction.
    So the fear of Molina and Waino leaving is the leadership void and a similar void at catcher. But when Molina signed his last contract it was supposed to be his last and Waino has been operating on 1-year deals, so why is this team being caught flat-footed at both catcher and in the installation of clubhouse leaders when we all knew this was coming?
    It's not. That's pretty apparent.
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