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 from Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m. Monday.

    Alright, let's get this thing started. Sorry for being tardy. Had to find a wi-fi signal, and two of the options were CIA SafeHouse 2.0 and CIA SafeHouse 4.5, so I figured I better head to another neighborhood because we all know this baseball chat is ripe for hacking, and we've been through that drama before. Set up now at an undisclosed location in the nation's capital, ready to talk all things NLCS for a few hours.
     
    Away we go.
    I don't really see shildt changing the lineup facing a tough righty, he's gonna keep all his lefthanded bats in the lineup excluding wieters. Do you think he'll change the order?? Does it matter???
    It sure seemed yesterday after talking with Shildt that if he changes anything he'll change the order. Another leadoff hitter might be the most dramatic shift that he'd make. Not sure how that would look. Tommy Edman up top? Could be. Shildt spoke a lot yesterday about the lineup that got them here, that scored 10 runs in one inning, and how that lineup doesn't require a shakeup just a reassertion. It's what we all know is classic Shildt, and really what the world is seeing more of now: He's a fierce fan of his team and his comments to the media about how faith are the same ones he's making to the team in hopes they believe it too and reward it.
    Hey Derrick, thanks for heading into what will surely be a light and breezy chat today. Curious your take on a recent ESPN article that suggested that Shildt is "blowing" this postseason by showing way too much loyalty to guys in the lineup when it's clear they're not performing. Obviously his options aren't exactly great, but is there merit that he should be doing more with lineup changes to get more out of this offense?
    It sure seems like we only embrace small sample sizes when they say what our opinion is, and we reject them when they don't. If we want a show, we make stats our puppets.
    At what point does De Jong get cut from this lineup? What has he done to justify continuing to start?
    Isn't happening this postseason, if that's what you're asking. The Cardinals don't have an everyday, ready shortstop to replace him with. That's long been a part of this roster, and it's one of the reasons why DeJong will come close to playing 200 games this season -- including spring training and the postseason. That's bonkers.
    Would the Cards have been better off facing the Dodgers?
  • Nope. The Dodgers, according to sources, were also good.
    Is part of what we're seeing with DeJong just a worn-down player after not getting many days off in the season? Do you think one of the things Shildt will learn from this season is using his bench more next season?
    I think you could make that argument. He's been pushed farther with more innings than ever in his career. Only five fielders, including two shortstops, played more innings this season in the field than Paul DeJong, and not one of the five is still active in the postseason. DeJong's 1,372 innings at shortstop are the most by any Cardinal at any position, topping even Paul Goldschmidt, but just barely. I don't think this is something that is solely on Shildt either. This is a reflection of the roster. Period. They've got to put someone on the roster that they want to play more often at shortstop. Maybe they'll say that's Munoz or Edman, but their actions say otherwise. They've been available. And yet ... They've stuck with DeJong over and over and over again.
    Doesn't Tommy Edman have a lot of expierence playing shortstop? Do you see him in Ben Zoborist type role. Shortstop, 3rd, 2nd, and even the outfield.
    Most of his experience is at second base. He's capable of playing shortstop. The Zobrist comp might work because it can handle shortstop, but is more likely to play elsewhere, like Zobrist. We're watching Edman be Zobrist this postseason. Some 3B, some RF. So he already is in the Zobrist role, and that will carry into next season, unless there are changes to the roster via trade, etc.
    What do you think the plan for 3B will be next year? Will they look to upgrade or go in giving Carp another chance, with Edman as backup if it doesn't work out?
    Third base is in play for an addition from outside the organization. That much is clear. If they don't find that person, then they'll turn to Carpenter again at 3B. There is a good debate going in the press box whether Carpenter could be the LF for the team in 2020 if Ozuna walks. I am one who thinks that's part of the conversation. They're going to give Carpenter the chance to have a bounce-back season. They've invested in him. He's invested in that. And they gave it to Fowler.
    Is there anything to glean from our postseason lack of bats? Is this just a team gone cold or are there clear and obvious causes?
    They were the least productive offensive team of any postseason qualifier. They've spent the postseason showing why. They have also faced remarkable pitching. What Foltynewicz did in his first start was incredible, and what Max Scherzer did would have shut down the '27 Yankees. I asked Wainwright that question after the game. Given the shadows and given Scherzer's stuff what kind of lineup would have had success against him? Nine Hank Aarons? One thing that I really tried to do when covering that game was acknowledge the Cardinals struggles, for sure, but also highlight that Scherzer was excellent. You can't suggest that Jack Flaherty can go out and dominate a lineup and give all credit to Flaherty, and then in the next day say that the Cardinals' lineup failed when an opposing pitcher pulls a Flaherty.
    Good morning, Derrick: I read an interesting article in a national sports outlet yesterday that stated that the Cardinals did not belong here. The author’s thesis is that normally you can point to s stable of outstanding starters (like the Nationals have) or outstanding batters (like the Yankees) or both (like the Astros). He said that other than Flaherty, the Cardinals have pitch-to-contact starters who are good but not outstanding, their offense is humdrum, and rest defense isn’t enough. He felt that the Cardinals got here because of subpar play by the Cubs, Brewers, and Braves. Care to share your thoughts?
    Of course they did. Duh. That's how a division works. But they got here. Standings don't lie. They're not going to put take the division title away from the Cardinals. The Cardinals did have to go out there and sweep the Cubs in Wrigley and then oust Atlanta in the division series. They didn't luck into either series win. They performed. They're not a super team like the Yankees or Astros, they don't have the half-billion-dollar rotation like the Nationals. What they do have is an excellent run-prevention team that of course took advantage of the struggles of the other teams around them in the division. And caused some, too. Stop for a moment and consider that one of the reasons why it appears the Cubs underachieved this year is because ... (clears throat) ... the Cardinals beat them. 
     
    I find this kind of navel-gazing silly. This postseason doesn't come with an asterisk for the Cardinals or for the Twins or for any of the other teams who got fat off worse teams. That's the point of the regular season.
    Do they not like Edman at SS, since we haven't gotten any looks at him there?
    Like the standings, innings don't lie. It's not like they haven't found reasons to play him. He's been in RF for crying out loud.
    Will the Cardinals inquire about Lindor of the Indians in the off season?
    Sure. They'll inquire about many many players, including those stars that are likely to be traded. That's a conversation they'll seek out. No telling how long it will last.
    The post season is small sample size time of year, isn't it? Otherwise, Gant would be pitching the 6th in these games. TLR and Whitey both managed that way.
    Gant struggled for more than a month and his walk rate spiked right before the All-Star break and throughout the remainder of the season. That decision was not isolated on a recent game, but on recent months. 
     
    I'm not sure what the reference to La Russa or Herzog is here. I only covered TLR in the postseason and even then there was a slow burn to when he pulled Rolen out of the lineup memorably in 2006.
     
    There was also an injury.
    Can you speculate on how many rookies will make the roster next spring? I am hoping Carlson and Arozarena for starters in the outfield (assuming that Ozuna departs). Would love to see Gorman get a shot at 3B in the spring even though be all accounts he is not quite ready for the major league just yet.
  • I have no clue, honestly. And neither do the Cardinals. There is a whole offseason to change and shape and add and take from the roster before we even know who is going to spring training. Any speculation done today is likely wrong tomorrow. Let's stick to what we know:
     
    -- Dylan Carlson will come to spring training with a chance to compete for a job in the majors, and that could be in center field, and that could be in the opening day lineup.
     
    -- Nolan Gorman is not as close and is likely speeding toward a Class AA assignment. He won't be getting that long look for 3B in spring training, not in the majors.
    Please forgive the snark, but I don't understand the point of spending millions in scouting and development in Latin America, spending money in signing and shepherding talent through the system, and then being reluctant to bring that succeeding talent to the majors, and then absolutely refusing to put that talent on the field when other players are not performing. Was Randy A the answer weeks ago when Fowler and Bader were putting together horrendous Septembers? Is he an answer now? I have no idea, and neither do the Cardinals, which is my point. Roster management and allocation of playing time has been baffling for a while now.
    Allow me to offer a window into what I think is a classic conflict between teams -- Cardinals included -- and their fans:
     
    -- Teams make decisions based on what a player has done and what they think a player is yet to do. A good example of this is Tommy Edman. There was a time this season when Edman and Carpenter were about the same player with the same production, and yet Edman was getting the starts ahead of Carpenter. Shildt made the point it was because of what he felt Edman was about to do and the rut he saw Carpenter stuck in. Manager was right. Edman took off, soared toward a .300 average, rescued that OBP and played well.
     
    -- Fans want players who have yet to fail because they think they won't.
     
    Ladies and gentlemen, introducing the Cardinals' backup quarterback Randy Arozarena. That's what this is. That's why people what prospects like Gorman to get a shot at 3B in the majors or want Carlson on the postseason roster instead of Ozuna -- yeah, remember when that was a thing? -- and it's all because ... they ... have ... not ... failed ... yet.
     
    And they will. They will fail. This is a game of failure.
     
    And then we all see how the fans lurch toward the next new thing who hasn't failed yet, because we can all list the Arozarena's from the past few months. It was O'Neill. Then it was Lane Thomas (who never really got the chance he deserved), and 12 months ago it was this guy named Harrison Bader, who fans wanted and wanted and wanted and the Cardinals traded Tommy Pham to get more playing time for -- and now you want him replaced. Because, you know, baseball is hard and he had his failure.
     
    Teams that choose to operate like that are fickle teams and losing teams.
     
     
     
    Is the league changing course of what type of manager appeals to them? The last few years the preference has been young untried analytics wiz and now you see a Baker, Showalter and Girardi being interviewed for openings.
    I think that those managers are changing toward the analytic needs of the role, honestly. And it's great to see those names popping up. A manager who can handle the new game, the new style, and capture the vibe of a clubhouse is fantastic. Also, Baker got a raw deal here in Washington. Period. Glad to see he's getting a look.
    Turning to pitching. Is there a real trend to using pitchers like the Yankees did last night? That would throw traditionalists like me into a tither.
    Didn't the Rays use nine pitchers to cover nine innings of a playoff game? If you're not in a tither already, then brace yourself.
    When the Cards put the 10 sport in the first, I thought they might just let Wacha take the ball and save Flaherty for Washington. Do you know why they 'spent' Flaherty that way?
    Well, first of all, Michael Wacha wasn't on the roster, so they would have forfeited that game for using an ineligible player. Second, Flaherty had already been announced as the starter and had already batted so if he came out of the game he wasn't going back into it if trouble stirred. Third, trouble could stir. The Cardinals had just put up a 10 spot on the pitcher who shut them out for seven innings earlier in the week. Runs happen. They do. I know it doesn't feel that way in the NLCS. But they do. And the Cardinals went with the guy who they knew would get them to the win in the clinch and then when there were a handful of outs to get, pulled him so that he could do what they wanted him to anyway -- start twice in the NLCS, if needed. This didn't cost Flaherty anything, really.
    It’s been reported that Manfred has informed city officials that if the stadium situation in Oakland isn’t resolved he will move the team to Las Vegas. Zips that posturing or do you think he’s had enough and will do it?
  • Posturing. Like his Montreal statement for the Rays. All about the leverage. Though, moving to Vegas is more likely than splitting a season between Tampa and Montreal. So at least he's got that going for his foothold.
    It's fantastic. And the Cardinals are still playing baseball. That whole connection to the statue and everything is fantastic. The related statue will be in STL.
    We’ve made it to the NLCS. Do you think the front office will feel satisfied with the team due to this accomplishment, and make limited moves in the off-season, largely sticking with the exact same roster? What moves do you think need to be made despite the team’s success?
    They, by definition, can't. There are moves that will have to be made. Ozuna is a free agent. Wainwright can be a free agent or re-sign or retire. The bullpen needs some additions, fine-tunings. They seem pretty set at 2B, 1B, and SS and C -- and that's it. They'll have an opening in the rotation. By natural roster churn, they'll be a different team. This will be the roster that got them to the 2019 NLCS. Congrats to it. Now they need to make some moves to get them to the 2020 World Series, and that will mean some different looks to the roster. They know it. They need to look at the offense. Again. Still.
    Danny Cox...Andy Benes...Chuck Finley...Jack Flaherty?
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