Cardinals chat with Derrick Goold

Cardinals chat with Derrick Goold

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

    Salutations. What a memorable, remarkable weekend at Busch Stadium with three sellout crowds, a dozen or so ovations, and one of the greats back in town flipping the applause on the locals for a few days only. Not sure we'll ever seen anything quite like that again, or as Kolten Wong told a few of us last night: Once Mike Trout leaves, the game may never see a player like those two again. So the greatest player in the game and greatest Cardinal of his generation have left town, leaving the locals to deal with the questions about their own team. Two games out. Still playing staccato-style baseball -- pitching here, offense somewhere, and at least the baserunning has been steady. You've got questions. No doubt. I've got a few answers lying around here. Let's see how they line up.
    Allons y!
    Can Edman play CF...has he ever? Might they consider it? Don't they need to find an opportunity for him to play somewhere given the offensive struggles?
    This was a topic in the press box this weekend, and there's been no indication that he cannot. He has done some work in the outfield during BP. He's a capable fielder wherever else they've put him, and he's got a nose for utility, judging from his spring training work. It's worth noting that Yairo Munoz has also been hitting -- really, whenever he gets the chance -- and it wasn't too long ago that Mike Matheny said that center field was Munoz's best position and the place where his arm shined. Clearly, the Cardinals are sorting through options in center trying to find the group that clicks, and with Jose Martinez hitting it's center where the rotation could take place. Edman has been good. I wonder if Munoz might not be the better jolt you're seeking.
    Imagine we'll get this question a lot during the chat, and with as long as we go here we might even get an answer. But as of right now -- outside of being in the MRI room along with Hicks, there isn't any update. He was scheduled for an MRI around lunch time, maybe a touch earlier. That MRI will be read by a doctor and then possibly another doctor, and it's possible that hasn't happened yet. The MRI was scheduled as precaution. They wanted to get a look at the elbow and the muscle now that the irritation and swelling had died down. Hicks left the ballpark last night encouraged. He had gone through a second day of elbow tests and the results remained, as he said and the Cardinals said, "encouraging." That's where things are. As you can imagine the Cardinals don't advertise the minute-by-minute process of medical tests. They are considering an IL move because of the schedule.
    DG, what two things, offensively & defensively, need to happen for the Cards by the trade deadline?
    The Cardinals best hitters need to hit like the Cardinals best hitters. The defense is fine.
    Let’s say it’s like today – 2 games behind the Cubs for first and on the bubble for Wildcard, and it’s the morning of September 19th. 7 of the final 10 games of the season are against the Cubs. What three steps would the Cards best have taken between now and then to improve the chances of success? (I anticipate acquisition of a top shelf starting pitcher will top your list. This hypothetical scenario really brings the importance of that into focus given the opponent, so I suppose I’m curious as to what the other two steps might need to have been.)
    You answered your own question. The most transformative move the Cardinals can make now or July for September or October is the addition of a frontline starting pitcher that adds teeth to the rotation and maybe isn't afraid to bare them every so often.
    Derrick: “To players, reporters are beggars on the streets, asking for five dollars. Most days, players pass by with a cold stare, or maybe a sneer. Every once in a while, they toss you some change.” Evan Drellich (Athletic). How closely does this mimic your daily experience?
    It does not. I'm there to do a job, not ask for scraps. A right to speak is also a right not to speak. I'm cool with that. I will be courtesy, polite, and professional, and I hope for the same in return. Usually that happens. I don't always get it, and eventually I just stop asking. If a player is dismissive, rude, insults my intelligence, or, worst of all, is disingenuous with the answers, then I can stop talking to that player. Heck, if I do my job well then I might even outlast that player. Trust me, there are other ways to tell a story, to get news, to cover a team. I've mentioned before: There have been years where a player has refused to talk to me or I've told a player his act is old and I'll move on. I hope readers didn't notice. 
    I think Evan's article is important though because it starts the conversation. I meant what I said on Twitter and what I say each week in this chat. Media literacy is increasingly important, and the best way to improve that is media transparency. I try to be as honest as possible with you in the chat about how the job is done, how things are reported, and the standards that are required of my position at The Post-Dispatch.
    Is there not an opportunity to get Edman and Munoz more ABs in the same lineup? At what point will veterans, like Carp, start losing playing time due to lack of production?
    There should be, and soon. There's a DH in Seattle next week, but they shouldn't wait.
    Should the Cards take a look at signing Trevor Rosenthal to a minor league deal and see if they can straighten him out? Maybe a change of scenery will do him good? If they could get him right that would be a formidable tendon, Rosey and Hicks.
    A change of scenery back to the original scenery? The Cardinals showed no interest in a reunion with Trevor Rosenthal when he was doing rehab in their backyard. They just didn't. And I'm not sure he's done anything to change that -- except come with a lesser price tag. Maybe that's enough. He still throws hard. All he needs is command. It's the walks that are alarming. If a team fixes that, then they've got a fireball coming out of the bullpen. Should be able to do that. I just don't get any sense from the Cardinals right now that they want to be that team. Maybe Seattle. They've got a lot of Cardinals pitching connections up there.
    I hope Stephen Piscotty gets a Pujols like ovation when he returns this week.
    He will get his ovation, a warm, emotional one, I imagine. I cannot imagine that every time he comes to the plate in two days he will get the ovation. That's reserved for Pujols, evidently. And rightly so.
    What does Mo say about the current state of the cardinals when he is asked?
  • His comments have run pretty consistent with those in an interview with Rick Hummel in Miami. He sees an underachieving offense that hasn't executed as well as it must to win, and he sees a pitching rotation that has been picked apart by injuries, lack of performance, or bullpen assignments, and recognizes that's an area where the front office can be looking for help. He goes into more detail on the offense here:
    Everytime I watch Derek Dietrich bat (.941 OPS), I think what might have been. Remind me again why Drew Robinson was signed to be the LH bench bat? Is he still on the 40 man roster?
    He wasn't signed. The Cardinals traded for him. They traded Patrick Wisdom to get Robinson and add him to the mix, and one of the reasons why they did that was his versatility was valued, somewhat ahead of Dietrich's thunder. Count me in the group that thought Dietrich would be a good addition, and the Cardinals did speak with him. But they thought they had the thunder from Goldschmidt, etc., coming through the lineup and wanted a guy who could play shortstop and center field and found Robinson's blend of abilities and lefthanded bat a fit given how much offense they felt they had coming from the regulars. Obviously, they didn't know then what we all can see now. And Dietrich in that ballpark there in Cincinnati. Good get by the Reds. For sure.

    Doesn't the batting lineup seem unbalanced to you? No leadoff hitter, then 3 guys who can hit 25 homeruns, (with nobody on before them) then 5,6,7,8,9 hitters most in the 240 range or lower. Wouldn't it be better to have 2 guys in the 1 and 2 slot with the expectation of getting on base and creating more balance?
    It would indeed. They've got an issue when they get four hits in one game from the No. 9 spot in the order and only four hits total from the top three spots in the lineup during an entire series.
    DG, thanks as always. Just wanted to let you and your readers know that "Cardinals Twitter" is running amok with claims that Edman should be playing 3B every day, that C-Mart belongs in the rotation, and that Jake Woodford would be our ace if only Mo would add him to the 40-man. In other words, the BFIB's proverbial "house is on fire." And yet we're only two games back!
    I think we are close to coming up with a name for this chat.
    Sometimes I feel like the grouchy dude on the porch grumbling to people that global warming is not a reference to the actual temperature on your iPhone and constantly having to explain why we park on driveways and drive on parkways, etc. Let's tackle these in order:
    - Edman at 3B every day. A) What would you do with Carpenter? B) Why not Munoz?
    - Carlos Martinez to the rotation ... we've discussed this. The Cardinals would like that, too, but with his arm and his shoulder and his feeling for his health, they have all decided it's better to get something from him (relief) than nothing (chasing the start). That's where they are. It's not ideal. Everyone agrees with you on this. I get it.
    - Mozeliak is a fan of Woodford. So, um, hey that's not what is holding him back from the 40-man.
    DG, if I had to pick one weekend road trip to join the Cardinals on the rest of the way .. which place would you recommend?
    Seattle. Doesn't happen often ... but that's a weekday series. So, go to Pittsburgh for the beauty of the ballpark and the great vibe of the city or Chicago for the baseball and the importance of that September series at Wrigley Field.

    why are people so excited about ONLY being 2 games out? All that means is no one team has gotten hot yet without having an equally cold time frame to follow or precede, and chances are, if one does, it won't be the Cards. Chances are if one of these three top teams limps into the playoffs barely ahead of the 2nd and 3rd place teams, whoever they are will get blown away in the playoffs. Now if to or three teams were playing winning, exciting baseball and looking like they go somewhere in the playoffs, that would be exciting to me, but that's just my opinion.
    I think it has to do with the fact that when the Cardinals were below .500 and struggling to break free of it -- they really still are, honestly -- then we all said "you are what the standings say you are." So, now the standings say the Cardinals are two games back in the division and they are still correct. The standings don't lie. And if they're true for when the Cardinals are struggling and have a losing record, then they are also true when the Cardinals have done meh-OK-kinda-solid-fine and are 2 games back.
    Oscar Mercado is still hitting .300 after a month in the bigs.
    And he steals bases and plays center field. Who'da thunk it. Oh, right ...
    Suppose I think that Edman is a serviceable replacement for Wong.

    What sort of deadline trade value might Wong have?
    First, suppose he's not. Really unsure why one week in the majors -- a good week, granted -- suddenly gets a player christened as the Golden Boy when Wong makes a play like he did last night and that's discarded by some as -- what? a fluke? He's been the best defensive second baseman now for a good 24 months, at least, and that's not enough? I bet a few teams would lineup to offer a prospect or two for him because they see what some refuse to around here. The Angels are one. The Giants, too, if you're talking about a starting pitcher. Angels have come calling before for Wong. If the Cardinals would listen to offers, I think the Brewers might find a way to use him. The Cubs would, definitely.
    I understand carving a path for Bader to get playing time, but why did they eliminate a ton of CF competition in the process? Here we are again with a CF that can't hit, while the guys they traded away are thriving.
    I seem to recall a clamor for this to happen in the chat and all around the Cardinals this past year. This winter, the Cardinals made Bader the face of their promotions, too. Was that a response to his play, or to the fan reaction to his play? He's a gifted defensive center fielder for sure.
  • DG...last year, when Shildt took over the club, it seemed as though he was much more progressive in his pitching staff management. Am I correct to have observed some regression in this area recently? I'm thinking specifically about how long he left Gant in last night when it seemed he didn't have "it."
    Well, I think last night's a good example of what Shildt has been having to navigate around at times this season: A tapped bullpen where there are players just not available. They were down Hicks and Miller. Carlos Martinez was going to get one inning if the Cardinals tied the game, and then the long man for extra innings was ... drum roll please ... Adam Wainwright, Wednesday's starter. That's not ideal. So Gant had to wear it as the game got away from him. Not ideal at all considering that was a game there for the winning -- and that was true long before they ever got to the eighth/ninth innings. The one area where Shildt/Maddux has not been as cutting edge as they talked about being in spring training was with the closer, and riveting Hicks into that spot has cost them because he has gone lengths without being used. That's willingly dry-docking one of the best arms in baseball. I don't get that. Seems like there would be reasons to find creative and meaningful uses for him. Otherwise, I think the biggest difference between last year's bullpen and this year's isn't how they want to use it, it's the return on those uses. Giovanny Gallegos has been impressive, and his assignments have been aggressive and more impactful with each week. Tyler Webb has been used in non-traditional spots and responded (see: Sunday). That too me shows what the manager/pitching coach want to do and can do when they get the performance.
    Was Kolten Wong ever tried at shortstop? Is his arm strength a limitation there?
    He wasn't really, not as a pro. Arm strength and utilizing that range on the second base side has always been the preferred play for the team -- other than that one day in the Wrigley outfield.
    The old manager and hitting coach vs. the new manager and hitting coach-I don't see much difference,do you?
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