Cardinals chat with Derrick Goold

Post-Dispatch baseball writer Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions and comments in his live chat beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

    Tumble outta bed and stumble to the kitchen. Pour myself a cup of ambition -- and realize that for some reason the son is cranking the Deadpool 2 soundtrack and Dolly Parton's "9 to 5." So now that we've got that going it's time plunge into the weekly mosh pit of questions and fish out as many as I can for a few hours. Rick Hummel is on the South Side of Chicago with the Cardinals, covering the interleague series. I'm in midtown St. Louis, answering your questions. Should be a hot day in Mound City. Go ahead, bring the heat. Away we go ...
    Now might be the time to trade Wong. Might get a decent prospect package.
    Might. There have been teams interested. A team like the Kansas City Royals, for example, saw Wong as an underutilized value -- one who had the contract that made him a good value and wasn't in a situation to maximize it because of playing time, because of roster, whatever. There were at least two other American League teams that saw the same thing and wondered if he was a change of scenery candidate. Not sure how much they were willing to offer to test their theory because usually a change of scenery move is code for they think they can get him at a reduced price, too.
    Wong has almost caught Ozuna is OPS
    It remains remarkable to me that all of the moving of players up and down and in and out of the lineup and Ozuna remains this fixed point at cleanup and in left field. I asked Mike Matheny why Marcell Ozuna gets Most Favored Hitter status when leading-hitter Jose Martinez got benched and leading-player Matt Carpenter didn't know what position he was playing day to day -- and the answer was that the Cardinals spent a lot to get Ozuna, to find a hitter like Ozuna, and they were committed to him in that spot.
    I mentioned that the team also spent a lot on Fowler and committed to Fowler as center fielder and leadoff hitter. His answer did not change.
    Am I putting too much emphasis on the Cards playing the Cubs 5 games in 4 days followed by 3 games the next weekend. Feels like a stretch the Cards need to just survive and focus on a Wild Card and not get buried. Reminds me of a similar stretch in 2003 when the birds lost 4 of 5 at Wrigley.
    You are not. A few years ago the Cardinals went into Pittsburgh and had a similar series against a team vying for the division lead/wild-card berth. It was a pivotal series for both teams, and the Cardinals ended up on the right side of it and off they went. The timing of this coming series heightens its importance. The Cardinals entered this season feeling the edge they had was their day-in, day-out pitching and how that would help them win series after series in the division because they wouldn't have the dip at Nos. 4-5 that the rivals would in the rotation. Well, here's a test of it. Gomber could be positioned for one of those starts, so the Cardinals come out of the break with a rotation of 
    Does Gomber get one of those doubleheader starts, or do the Cardinals take advantage of being able to work their five starters into that one series because it comes right after the All-Star break? Either way, if they want to flex that rotation depth, this is the time because of one huge factor: This series comes right before the trade deadline, too. The Cubs are buyers. The Brewers are buyers. The Cardinals are still, in the words of the manager, "defining" themselves as a team. Well, the Cubs would love to define them as a seller, and that series is their chance.
    Not trying to be snarky, but are you finally ready to concede that Carp hits better at leadoff?
  • I don't want to short change Gyorko for how he has played lately, but do you envision a possible infield of Munoz (3B) Dejong (SS) (or Visversa) Wong (2b) Carp (1B) anytime this year? I think it has making of decent defensive lineup with some good gap power.
  • That could happen. It's entirely possible and plausible. An injury could make that happen. Lack of production could make that happen. Heck, the right matchup could make that happen. A trade of Gyorko to another team could make that happen. There are lots of reasons we'd see that infield.
  • Would be a pretty gutsy approach to start Mikolas back to back games but let's do it
  • Not sure that schedule allows that. Mikolas on Sunday. Monday rest. Tuesday rest. Wednesday rest. Thursday ... start? That's on short-rest. Won't happen. Unnecessary.
  • Do you think this team is lacking more star or impactful players?
  • What is the status of Wainwright and Wacha?
  • Wacha is set for a re-evaluation in the coming days, and as the Cardinals reach the All-Star break they'll have a sense of for where his throwing program has progressed and when a rehab start is possible -- soon, first week of August, later? Robbie Ray had a similar injury and was back in two months, almost to the day. That would put Wacha at August 20. Healing happens at different rates for people, obviously, so Wacha could push that and be back by the beginning of August and that would still be on the early end of the initial diagnosis.
    Wainwright is into a throwing program that has him strengthening up his arm as if he's getting ready for spring training and in the coming week he'll move into more familiar spring training-like work. The test will be when his arm is at full-strength how the elbow recovers from such throws. That's an unknown until he rebuilds the strength necessary to test things at game-like intensity.
  • A little off topic, but what is your opinion about Keith Law? I read through all Brian Kenny's Yadi HOF tweets yesterday and was a little shocked about how Keith Law responded to people, including you. I am not disagreeing with some of his points/stats to say Yadi is not a HOF, but the guy comes off as condescending/rude.
  • I've been called the same things on Twitter for most of the past week and it's been frustrating, to say the least, so I would be the last person to say that Twitter is the best place to judge a person's personality or how they would be in person, as a person. Twitter is made for short-burst, blunt statements -- and they offer no tone. So, for example, some of my attempts to be sarcastic come across as more point than intended in the ear of the beholder because I cannot control the tone in which someone hears my writing. Same goes for this chat. It's tricky.
    I enjoy talking with Law. I have had a chance to have meals with him and many conversations, and I don't get the same sense that you did from Twitter. Not at all. He is passionate about his opinion and respect the lengths he'll go to to win an argument, and to do so logically. We should all have our feet dug into facts that well. 
    I don't happen to agree with him about the value of Molina's mantel -- trophies, titles, Gold Gloves -- when it comes to an audit of Molina's career. That's all.
  • bader leads the OFs in bWAR by a significant margin, shouldn't it be more of a 4 man rotation than bader getting the short end of the stick?
  • I'm sorry. Isn't that what it is? Sure seems like Ozuna is the only one getting regular, everyday starts, and if we're looking at number of starts, it's not Fowler getting them regularly.
  • DG,

    Any updates on Ryan Hesley? I know he was on the DL in the minors for a shoulder issue, but from what I understood it was more precautionary and to control his innings. I have not seen anything about him since.
  • He has a shoulder injury. A weakness in the shoulder that has become soreness, inflammation, and led to this prolonged rest. It's been long enough now that he has had to do some rebuilding of strength -- like we just talked about with Wacha -- as he gets ready for a return. The precautionary explanation you heard was not to avoid injury it was to avoid making the injury worse.
  • Do you think Mo noticed that only one Cardinal was (initially) named to the ASG? Not that the ASG matters, but I'm not sure Mo is paying attention
    He noticed. Trust me, he noticed. And while he obviously didn't state it well -- and he knows that, too, as you have probably seen in subsequent comments -- the whole goal of his comments during that L'affaire de Fowler was to let the fan base know that he saw their concerns, was aware of them, was acknowledging them and the fairness of the criticism and was trying to convey that to the clubhouse that the front office was not able to defend against some of the fan criticism. It just came out as if he was targeting one player. He has, even recently, stressed that the fans have a point -- and that he hears it.
  • It would be a waste of talent to trade for Machado. Why not admit what they are, pretenders, and be sellers?
  • On the podcast this week (great as always btw) you said you were not sure that Fowler at 85% and in RF was what would be best for this team given all of the OF options. What option did you have in mind as being better? Bader? O'Neil? someone else?
  • Harrison Bader. Speed doesn't slump. I wanted to bring up that possibility. That notion that maybe this team, with all parts at their best or at, say, 85 percent, didn't have a place for Fowler. Just a topic to bat around, and I wasn't sure of the answer.
    Do you think MO has a reputation with MLB free agents that he would rather sign cheaper option free agents and now can’t get any of the superstar free agents?
    Mozeliak, personally, does not. The view of the Cardinals, increasingly, is that they are not as desirable as they once were. I spoke to Evan Longoria this past weekend about what he heard and felt about possibly going to the Cardinals. He had mentioned in an MLB Network interview that he was either going to the Giants (he did) or the Cardinals (he didn't). I wondered where he was getting that information from, because during the winter -- at the time of the Colome, Longoria, Archer reporting -- I had been told that Longoria was reaching out to players to find out what it was like to play in St. Louis.
    "I really didn't need to ask," he said this past weekend. "I know what it was like to the two times that I was there, and how the fans are."
    He repeated some familiar views of the crowd at Busch and baseball in St. Louis.
    But he was the subtract of trade talks, not free agency, and here is where the game has changed, and Jason Heyward and David Price should have revealed it to everyone by now. There was a time, not too long ago, where the Cardinals' offers to those players would have landed at least one of them. But now every team has money and some of the biggest-market teams are active spenders (ahem, Cubs) and can offer things players seek -- size of city, geography, etc. -- that the Cardinals cannot. The Cardinals are viewed -- by rivals, especially -- as a team willing to spend, that has the payroll to spend, and yet doesn't now have the appeal for the players you'd spend that money on. Stanton, for example, strongarmed his way to the Yankees (big city) and said he'd only allow a trade to four teams (final four from 2018), and when he was asked about the Cardinals he said he got a real strong dose of their history and the history and the redcoats and the championships and the history, and what he really wanted to know about was the future. 
    The Cardinals have to start selling that to free-agents, and they'd often be better finding talent via trade. That's the spot they're in.
    Instead of using the phrase tanking, would Mr. Dewitt buy the idea of a comprehensive retooling of the organization?
    A duck is a duck, just call it a duck.
    Do you think the O’s would give us Britton and Manny if we swapped Fowler for Chris Davis?
    Take it or leave it: Cincinnati finishes ahead of the Cardinals in the standings at the end of the season?
  • Leave it. But how about that Riggleman? Glad he got another chance to show the kind of manager he can be -- and maybe now baseball will go, oh, hey, it was Washington, not Riggleman. He took a stand, and deserves this chance that he's received.
    DG, thanks for the time you put into these chats.
    Can you please help me to understand why the Cards' team leader in doubles, home runs, and slugging % (and also one of team's slowest runners) hits leadoff when there is a need for a good bat in the middle of the lineup.
  • I cannot, no. But there does seem to be this self-fulfilling prophecy at this point that Matt Carpenter -- who is an excellent hitter -- can only hit in the leadoff spot, and if he moves out of the leadoff spot and goes 0-for-6 in the No. 2 spot it's not because, hey, 0-for-6 happens, it's because he's in the No. 2 spot and zip up he goes into the leadoff spot again.
    Sometimes you create the rule you want to believe with your actions.
    I do not think Harrison Bader has a future in St.Louis with Flower and Ozuna contracts. They are just not going to eat those.
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