Cardinals chat with Derrick Goold

Bring your Cardinals questions and comments, and talk to Post-Dispatch baseball writer Derrick Goold in a live chat starting at 1 p.m.

  • That deal isn't happening, not with Cleveland. But, yes, teams are interested in Tommy Pham. In a recent story, I outlined a few of the teams that had called about or pursued Pham this past year as he just started getting going: 

    Pham thinks he can be faster, better — and Cards should keep him

    stltoday.comTommy Pham became the first player in 126 seasons of Cardinals baseball to bat better than .300, steal at least 20 bases, and hit at least 20 homers. His reaction?
  • Derrick you are getting more curmudgeonly with every chat hahaha Love it. Are you running for the Joe Strauss title? Miss him and thanks for your time. Cards have feasted on a fairly weak division for Years (like every good team should do) but anyone who follows baseball a little knew that was changing when Cubs hired Theo. Cards good core has aged/gone and I think their biggest fault has been overvaluing their own prospects. Had Wong, Adams developed as expected and Oscar not passed this is way different team right now. Ebbs and flows to all organizations. Some patience is needed but they need to develop the right guys.
  • It is not my intent to be curmudgeonly at all. I would prefer not to be. The chat can be hard. You cannot tell my tone in the typed word, and you do not see all of the questions that sometimes are just insults, vulgar or mean. I do my best not to let that leak into my answers for the people who come honestly to their questions, but I admit it's hard after a few hours. I'm human.
    There is only one Joe Strauss, and I won't ever compare myself to him or seek to replace him. He, like his work, should stand alone. Comparisons only prove to diminish the person making the comparisons, in my opinion.
    That's a fair look at how the past few years have gone. They expected Piscotty or Grichuk to emerge as the middle order hitter they now need. They thought they had that middle order coming in Oscar. And so on. Yes, all of these things have brought the organization to this point. I think we can understand that, and still hold the team to the expectations that they hold for themselves.
  • Thanks for all you do to keep us informed! I would love your comment on this: The 4 teams in the playoffs do something the Cardinals don' very hard on every play. Every Play! Don't know if it's a lack of player leadership or from the manager. We'll probably never get there as long as Yadi saunters down the line. Running hard 4 times a game wouldn't hurt any professional athlete, even the catcher.
  • I appreciate the compliment. But this is empirically, untrue. I have watched every one of these games, and I have watched every inning except for four or five of them, and I have enjoyed how close the games are and how well they've been played, and I have still seen jog after jog after jog to first base on routine groundballs. Pitchers. Catchers. Veteran infielders. Jog after jog after jog. This is not some characteristic that exists only for the Cardinals or only for losing teams -- this is a reality in baseball. And it makes sense.
    Let me tell you story.
    Back in 2000, The Rocky Mountain News hired me to cover a lot of different things for them -- baseball, basketball, some enterprise and feature writing -- and within a few hours of my first day there I was suddenly the acting beat writer for the Denver Nuggets. I had experience covering basketball, but this would be my first NBA beat. Highest level. Some of the most talented athletes in the world. One of the things that always bothered me about the NBA, however, was how lackadaisical some of the players seemed. Where were the Jeff Hafers? What happened to the players going all out all the time on every player, like we saw in college basketball. 
    I asked George McCloud this once after seeing him turn his back on a rebound that I wondered why he didn't try to dive or sprint to get.
    "I couldn't get it," McCloud said. I remember those exact words. The rest of his answer is to the best of memory: "I have seen enough of those shots in my life and in my career and in my practices to know what direction the rebound is going to go and how far it's going to go. I know how fast I could get there, and whether I would have to dive to get even a finger on it. I know all of these things and know that I had no chance because of all of that experience. So, why would I just exert after it to look like I'm trying when I had no chance to get there? That's wasted energy and when you've got play 82 of these games and want to play many more, you learn when to conserve energy and if it means not looking good chasing after a rebound I'll never get, then so be it. I'll dive when I have a chance. I'll sprint when I have a chance to change the game, not look good not doing anything."
    That taught me a lot. Being a professional athlete is more than running fast, hitting the ball hard, or any of those things -- it's also knowing the game. A good shortstop knows when he spend the time to set his feet and knows when he has to rush his throw. He doesn't throw all out on every grounder and he's celebrated for it. Why can't the same be said about players when running to first? They're going to have to do it many times in their lives, many times in a season, and yes many times in October. If they cannot make it, why do something cosmetic that is fruitless when they conserve energy for the time it really matters?
  • What are your thoughts on Sierra vs Mercado? Similar tools, but does Oscar showing some power this year make him the better prospect at this point?
  • Mercado had a breakout year, and you're right it's the power that sets him apart. What you have to determine is whether that's fleeting or whether it will translate to the higher levels. What we do know about Sierra is that his speed and his glove will translate to the majors. He he is the superior fielder and that is no small thing. A good glove in center will keep him in the lineup and allow him to learn and adjust offensively on the job. Mercado is a good field and a better base stealer than Sierra, but there is more about his game that is uncertain. I think they have similar ceilings, and maybe Mercado's is a tad higher because of the power and how he uses his speed to steal bases. What Sierra has is the higher floor. Considerable higher known quantities in his game. I think in the end Sierra is the higher-rated prospect for that reason, but Mercado is on his heels. And we wouldn't have said that 12 months ago.
  • Does overuse in a postseason scare execs away from free agents at all? Looking specifically at a guy like Wade Davis, who is getting the Chapman treatment from a year ago. I would be hesitant of a dead arm period or potential injury in 2018.
  • It does, in some boardrooms, absolutely. They feel like there is a borrowed time on some arms as a result of what they had to do in the previous postseason. Absolutely.
  • Thanks for the chat, DG!
    Interesting that you say the Astros' tanking was "more troubling" for the industry. The Cubs have had MLB's 4th-highest annual revenues for a long time, behind only the Yanks, LA, and the Carmines, and during Epstein's first three years their payroll dropped from 6th to 10th to 16th to 20th.
    That's a team hoarding money and losing on purpose to simultaneously hoard cheap high-end labor.
    Makes sense if you're a low-revenue club like Houston, but it feels corrupt for an uber-revenue organization like the Cubs. (Such a payroll-gutting strategy would never ever be stomached by fans in New York, Boston, or LA -- and for good reason.)
    Also, thanks for all the time you give to us in these chats! It is VERY appreciated, even if we sometimes forget to say so.
  • Oh, I get where you're coming from. I do. I would suggest you spend some time reading Gordon Wittenmyer's coverage in the Sun-Times about the real financial situation that greeted the Cubs during those early years. Yes, yes, to all the things you say, but in reality they were dealing with new owners, lots of debt, improvements to the ballpark, and situations that put a severe cramp on spending, one that the Cubs didn't even want to acknowledge all that publicly. The coverage of it and conversations that followed were fascinating. Those days are gone.
    Houston, meanwhile, directly influenced postseason races because of its tanking. The imbalanced schedule meant that Seattle, Angels, and the AL West opponents had a 100-loss team to feast on and build a playoff berth out of, while the teams in the East and Central had the mosh pits. The Astros' willingly and eagerly losing had a direct impact on the AL playoff race, and that to me speaks of a tilt that baseball should have addressed. That's just me. Look at it from the Yankees' perspective. The Astros took a radical step back that allowed teams like Texas and LA to gobble up wins and, yes, get in position to reach the World Series, only to get to a spot now where they were good enough to, yep, possible keep the Yankees from the World Series. That's not ideal.
  • I don't disagree with you much....but man...I totally disagree with your reasoning for a major league player not to run out EVERY SINGLE ground ball...the difference is ...hell you never know where the throw might go.....the 1st baseman drops the now the game should be played....I understand what you are saying, and appreciate the opinion...but nawww...don't see why you can't run hard for 90 feet...EVERY 90 feet.
  • Agree or disagree. My attempt was to explain. Accept that they're playing the game at a higher level, and recognize that sometimes this is part of it. I'm not so arrogant enough to tell an NBA player that he should dive after loose balls just look good, just on the chance that my eyeball says maybe just maybe just maybe they get to it maybe! Just like he wouldn't tell us to use the third person to sound more intelligent in chats. It is entirely possible that the demands of the game create a calculus in their profession that deadline creates for me -- I know what corners I can cut on a story when I have 15 minutes to write 900 words; ask Tom Timmermann some time -- and I'm sure there's a pressure that creates the same in your career.
  • Might the Cardinals pursue Donaldson and Osuna together to kill two birds with one trade, so to speak? What would have to happen to make that possible? Toronto goes into full rebuild
    mode? Would the prospect cost be prohibitively high? What else? Thanks for all your work.
  • This is a conversation the Cardinals would like to have with Toronto, and I had one person suggest to me that it had already happened -- or there was an attempt before the trade deadline. I did not get confirmation on how long or substantial such a conversation was, or if it was fleeting.
  • Any chance the Cards make a run at Otani, the stud from Japan? They tried the two way experiment with Schafer last season and it didn't work. However, this guy looks legit. I haven't heard the Cardinals be connected to him, but why not kick the tires?
  • The Cardinals are limited, severely, in the bonus they can offer him. So, you're talking about trying to woo him with the city, the franchise, the situation, something beyond the pay, and there will be other teams doing the same. Given that situation, it's a fair question on whether St. Louis has a better chance of luring Amazon or the Cardinals have a better chance of landing Otani.
  • The Ricketts family are billionaires. Wittenmyer's puff piece, public relations con job "journalism" exonerates an ownership group grubbing every nickel while concurrently throwing ballgames. Accounting tricks and doubletalk, good scribe.
    You're smarter than that, sir. Don't fall for that nonsense, DG!
  • I agree on the first part of what you say, and vehemently disagree with anything that follows. What Wittenmyer wrote was strongly sourced, insightful, and important to understand what was going on with the Cubs at the time -- and how it helped them slingshot into their current situation. They weren't crying poor, man. They were limited and they had they did tank. His explanation of where they can from is as good as anyone's. There's no question.
  • Explain you did...I was just explaining a different perspective of what you were saying. I AGREE that most NBA players know when they can't get to a ball out of bounds....I think the comparison would then be that a MLB player slows down AFTER the ball beats him to the bag...but not BEFORE. The play is still alive when running down the line... will the player be out most of the time on a routine ground ball?..Sure....but running hard can sometimes cause the defender to rush not set feet..whatever....I guess I am saying that the NBA example and the MLB one...are kind of apples and oranges , again in my opinion.
  • No, the whole point is that a gifted baseball player -- one playing at the highest level of the game -- has seen a groundball go to that spot thousands of times before and knows, like an NBA player going after a loose ball, whether or not he'll beat the throw at full speed. You can't accept one and reject the other because the whole argument in both sports is based on the athlete's ability to anticipate accurately what is going to happen. If anything, the game of baseball is played with such a high degree of anticipation -- the fly ball will cut here, the pitch will bend there, the grounder will hop here -- that for you to suggest a baseball player doesn't know where the throw is going "before" the ball reaches first base is absurd. Knowing where a ball is going before it gets there is actually required to play the game well, otherwise we would just see a bunch of sprinting outfielders picking up balls once they've landed.
  • Mr. Goold: Why should fans support a team that tanks? Is there a guarantee that comes with it?
  • To each his own. You'd have to ask someone more familiar with Houston on why that team was supported at the time. In Chicago, some of it was history. Some of it was packaging. A lot of it was two things 1) Messaging from a charismatic new front office and their track record of building a curse-breaker and 2) Wrigley Field was a social scene that could be sold as a place to go to scene, whether you were there for the game or not. I am not as well-versed in what happened in Houston, except for dwindling attendance and dwindling TV ratings.
  • We have seen many times where the great-hitting rookie falls off the table in his sophomore year. Might be sophomore slump, might be the league firuring out where the holes in his swing are. Chances that we see that with de Jong next year?
  • There will be an adjustment for sure. What we've also seen from DeJong is a swiftness to adjust. Sure, he needs to walk more. He recognizes that. And then you saw him do it. Some of that was he was being challenged, and some of that was starting to recognize and act upon a better feel for the strike zone. He's a quick study. That will serve him well and limit the sophomore slump, if there's one at all.
  • If the Cubs were financially "limited" it was by their own CHOICE in the way their acquisition of the team was structured -- THAT is the point. It isn't that Wittenmyer misled the public re the nuts and bolts facts, it's the way it was construed as the Cubs being handcuffed by circumstances NOT of their own construction. The ownership themselves made it so that they were "limited" or at least appeared to be so -- thus freeing themselves to be "blameless" while gutting player payroll.
    If I go out and CHOOSE to overpay for a house and then complain that I can't afford food, who is to blame?
    Thanks for your time, Derrick.
  • News flash. Every team in baseball is making good coin these days. Of course it was a choice. Of course it was a choice based on the level of revenue they wanted to have and level of debt they had to cover. Of course. This goes without saying. Or, I thought it did. Doesn't change the fact that they chose to impose those restrictions then to get better situated for the future. And they still don't have the TV deal that they need to complete the rebuild. That's coming.
  • I appreciate your answer about hustling to 1st, but we have all seen plays where the throw pulls the first baseman off the bag or he juggles the throw. If the infielder knows the runner will not run hard it's easy to make a good throw. But if knows the runner is hustling he just might make a poor throw. Think Pete Rose. Think Kris Bryant. I hate the Cubs, but they run hard. You never know when the infielder will make that bad throw; you have to put the pressure on him to make a good throw.
  • The point is that they pick up on when that's possible. You should give Kris Bryant even more credit than you do because he recognizes when something like that is coming. He knows the game well.
  • Mr. Goold: I'll give this one more try. Earlier in the chat you said Carlos Martinez was considered one of the best pitchers in baseball. To me, there's a difference between being considered one of the best and actually being one of the best. The Cardinals need Martinez to be one of the best pitchers in baseball, not considered to be one of the best. Thanks.
  • Let's take a look at this. Carlos Martinez's ERA ranked 12th in the league, he had the fourth-most strikeouts, and only 10 starters had a better WHIP than Martinez. His 20 quality starts ranked fourth in the NL. his K/9 ranked ninth, and his DIPS -- that is defensive independent stat -- ranked 11th in the NL. His Average Game Score ranked ninth. 
    You're right. I need to change how I worded that. Carlos Martinez is considered one of the best pitchers in the league because he is actually one of the best pitchers in the league.
  • I found your Hudson as future closer take interesting. I thought he was more of a 3-4 pitch starter without the dominant pitch(s) to be a closer. Could you elaborate?
  • Classic slider/fastball combination that we see coming out of the bullpen. Enough velocity to pull it off, and a plus/plus slider that could be a strikeout pitch. Greg Holland, for example, works with a similar set of pitches, and look what he does with it. Hudson brings the feel for a third pitch and the aptitude to improve on the job and work on other ways to get guys out. You could see him tighten the slider at times for a cutter, and the away he goes.
  • Derrick, I've been a Cards fan for half a century and I am trying to remember the last time the public actually displayed their displeasure at management by significantly decreasing attendance. The team is teflon when it comes to fan support it seems. Help me out here-I recall a dip in attendance in the mid-90's, but in the past 20 years has there ever been a cause and effect? Have we reached the point where it just isn;t a factor anymore?
  • Entirely possible. We've tried to explore that exact topic in the podcast. I think it's worth discussing, though I'm unsure of the appropriate forum. I did wonder if the Cardinals' brand is strong enough that it could start taking some stands within the community, even political stands, without harming its sales.
  • Throwing out a theory for you. Matheny has player x who may be inexperienced/struggling. He plays that player often and in tough situations to show that he believes in that player - sometimes at the expense of someone else who may be playing better at the moment. After some bumps in the road that may cost the team in some instances, that player starts playing very well because of encouragement and opportunity from Matheny.
    Do you think this overly simple explanation summarizes Matheny's approach to managing? And if so, do you think that some players have eventually played at a higher level because of this approach? By the way this approach is extremely frustrating for fanbases, but if in the long run it is effective then I get Matheny's value.
  • This has happened, a handful of times, and it absolutely is part of what goes into the making of a good and consistent and valuable manager. Saw the same thing with La Russa. See the same thing with relievers and Bochy. See the same thing with Maddon, and hear about the same thing with Black, Francona, and a few others. It's not always covered well -- and, yes, that's on me -- because Twitter is instantaneous and daily coverage in the paper is just that -- daily. So you don't see the long game like this. You see the struggles play out. You see the odd commitment to the player at a time he's struggling most. You see the trees. We should pull back sometimes and see the forest and how eventually some of the trees grow to reach the light. Absolutely.
    There are also examples, however, of moving on a from a player so fast that he never gets that chance, has to scramble from the back of the class, and does that slower because of the limited looks he's getting. We see that too. That is a little easier to cover.
  • Perfect offseason:
    Paul DeJong + Alex Reyes for Andrelton Simmons.
    Jedd Gyorko + Tommy Pham + Sandy Alcantara + Mags Sierra for Manny Machado. Sign Machado to 7-10 year contract effective immediately.
    If either deal needs a further sweetener, include Dakota Hudson or Delvin Perez or maybe, just maaaaybe even Carson Kelly. Or use one or more of the above to trade for standout relief pitching.
    You're welcome, sportsfans.
  • You would have buyer's remorse in May, and it would linger into the 2020s.
  • Can you ask MLB to have an earlier start time to the Cubs game, 8pm is a little late, esp for 4 hr games
  • You ain't kidding. But on the upside you could wake up in time to catch the finish!
  • Derrick, Will the Commish and you do weekly chats in November? HOPE SO.
  • That's the plan. I'm back at the keyboard for a bit here, through October. Then I will definitely be doing chats from the GM meetings in November, and throughout that month. We will also unleash the hounds of coverage at the winter meetings for blogs and chats, per usual. To be honest, I needed to step aside last week. That was necessary, just to reset, refresh, rethink a few things, figure out a few things. So I did. And now I'm back to type a lot. Write some. Type a lot.
  • Seems like a good place to stop. There's a game going on, and a game yet to watch. Been a solid afternoon folks. I tried to wade through what as a lot of repetition to get to some different questions. I get where people are coming from on the "surprises" or the "names we haven't heard" questions, but I am at a loss to answer those because if I had a name that you haven't heard mentioned, then I'm not doing my job for the paper. It's my job to mention names. To report them. Not to save them for the question in the chat that gets a lollipop. Looking forward to an active and interesting offseason. It needs to be a fruitful one for the Cardinals. It will certainly be one for the conversation here in the chats. Aloha. 
    I'm off to take the Disney cruise now. Hope I get to meet Tigger.
  • Or Phineas. I think he and I would really connect.
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