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 11 a.m.

  • That's my point. Votto put the at-bat in the hands of the umpire, not in his hands. That is the most fascinating part of the whole approach. Rather than say he needed to make sure he made something of the at-bat, he decided those are pitches he couldn't do anything with -- and whatever the call, that's the call. He was willing to accept a strikeout and not veer from his strike zone, even in that moment when a ball in play could have found a hole, tied the game, forced an error, something. I find that fascinating.
  • If Norris keeps pitching well, does he have the closer spot locked down, or will the Cardinals still go back to Holland
  • The Cardinals offered a hint at how they're going to work this Sunday. Norris got up for the middle of the order, and Holland would have been there for the cleanup save in the ninth. That's a way to ease him back into it while also maximizing the impact Norris can have on the game. This is the "targeted" setup reliever I've written about or talked about. He's targeted for a specific spot in the order, not an inning. Mike Maddux has talked about that approach, too. It's one that the team has planned for Hicks, and now for Norris as well. They don't seem to be in a rush to turn over all save opportunities to Holland because Norris has done so well, so you're likely to see this for at least another few games or so: Norris for the middle of the order in the save situation, whether that's the eighth or the ninth, and Holland moving toward the save either by getting the ninth or by getting the hold against the bookends of the order in save situations. That's what the Cardinals' actions say.
  • When might we see MLB take the calling of balls and strikes away from umpires? Since every park has the equipment and it's used to grade the umpires, why not wirelessly transmit it to the ump so he can call it correctly (or overrule when he sees fit)? With all the tinkering that Manfred's doing, this would seem to be a no-brainer.
  • A few years ago, a few of us went to a meeting with umpiring officials and Major League Baseball officials to better understand how umps are graded and evaluated game to game for their calls and their strike zone. Yes, the tech being used then was similar to Pitch F/x or the Fox Trax data -- whatever it is you see on your screen from MLB At-Bat or ESPN or Fox Sports Midwest or whatever. And that tech has improved. But what MLB has found is that it's still not 100 percent reliable -- and that would be the threshold, right? Why have tech that is only 98 percent reliable on balls/strikes? The point made in that meeting and since is that the umpires have a correct-call percentage in line with the tech because the tech can be bothered by things that the umpire is not. If, when the tech is advanced enough to call a strike zone without errors, when it's foolproof, this is a better debate to be had. This is the extreme: But one of the videos we saw at the time was of a pitch that was a clear strike. We saw it. The ump called it. The batter agreed. It was right there on the screen. And, yet, the box on the screen showed that the pitch had veered up and out of the zone -- nowhere near where our eyes and video showed us it went. One theory: It got distracted by a hot dog wrapper. Maybe the robots are more human than we think.
  • What did youthink of the Reds outfielder Winker?
  • Upside. Rather impressive, honestly. The Reds have reasons for optimism, somewhere.
  • In the age of social media, where the more obnoxious fans can have almost direct contact the players, has the luster come off the Best Fans in Baseball? Do any of the players mention the crazy stuff that gets tweeted at them, or the people they have to block on-line?
  • I don't hear much about "blocking" people, but that might be because I don't ask. My approach with blocking as always been not to do it. If I cannot take some of the questions or criticism or whatnot then why do I have this job? Part of the job is being able to defend myself against such things, even sometimes when they're vulgar, mean, or in rare case violent. I have, to date, only blocked one "bot," and that was because of the content it was trying to vomit onto the web. That's it.
    That said, I can't recall a more poisonous time for baseball discourse in some corners of the world we enjoy. It's troubling. And, yes, players do bring that up. You are incorrect to suggest this is a BFIB thing. This is a culture thing. This is the world. Other sports, other teams, other leagues, other players, other writers -- they all hear the same stuff, the same anger, the same frustrations. I have always been interested in how political coverage and sports coverage intertwine
    -- Elections are covered like sporting events, right down to the "scores" of polling.
    -- Sports coverage borrows heavily from the language of politics. "Narrative" being one example of how a word that was appropriated by politics has become commonplace in sports.
    And that's just two.
    This past weekend the Cardinals the swept the Reds, won their seventh game out of eight, and let me check my email. Yep, there's two that express bigoted views of how foreign players should assimilate; there's one about the "stupid money" paid Dexter Fowler; there's another about how "Molina is tired and it shows" and the Cardinals are a "mirage"; and there's one about Matt Carpenter that you can probably guess its tone and purpose. I just went through the inbox again. There is not one email that has a positive purpose. Not one. They are all critical, most angry, and some just outright vulgar. In a recent New York Times article about his forthcoming novel, CNN anchor Jake Tapper described the political climate as having "a degree of just nonstop rage, grievance, prevarication." Seem familiar? Heck, this past weekend, I tried to engage in a conversation about where Carpenter hit in the order and the sly abuse of statistics only to have my tweets selectively quoted/retweeted to misrepresent the order or the argument. Swell.
    I have to remind myself that this is the smallest sliver of a cul-de-sac of the fanbase and not representative at all of the whole.
    Honestly, there are times when I worry that it's me. But then we see it everywhere. So much anger. So much bullying. So little interest in any other side of the story or facts that disprove an opinion. So, so, so much interest in shouting at clouds. 
  • Are they working with Jose at first about pulling his foot? I understand he is a first year 1bagger, but it seems like the guy can't stand still. He's lunging for throws too early and immediately pulling his foot. Is he injured in some way that doesn't allow him to hold a spot? Thanks, Mr. Goold!!!
  • Indeed they are. Jose Oquendo has established a schedule of drills and early work for all of the fielders, and Jose Martinez's work at first base continues, regularly. That is also true for Paul DeJong at shortstop and Matt Carpenter with his work at the various positions. One thing that Oquendo, with the help of Oliver Marmol, has to do is monitor the throwing of some players, like Carpenter. If he has to be careful of his arm then save the full-strength throws for the game and go with limited throws in drills. Marcell Ozuna has done the same at times in left field.
  • Would any other player in MLB get the same treatment as Carpenter? Because of his past work ethic and character, it seems as though the complete wrong decisions are being made about PT. I agree with your earlier statement that Wong is better if he plays more, which is really true for most players, plus his defense (ie 9th inning Double play turn) and speed. Gyroko is Obviously the best third baseman and currently a bigger threat at the plate. Your take?
  • Yes, it seems, scanning around the league at slow starts and such, that every other player in the league with the history/track record of past production that Matt Carpenter has would be given the same opportunity and the same playing time and so on that Carpenter has been. There is one way to look at this and it's something that we've discussed before, mostly when it comes to injuries, I suppose. Wish I had some cool name for it, and there's got to be one out there. I'm going to oversimplify this but it's at least a start.
    You have two players:
    -- One has the track record and potential of being an All-Star, an engine for production.
    -- One has a track record of being a complementary, streaky player. Solidly so.
    The first player is struggling and the other is playing true to type. Do you replace the former player with the latter because of those struggles? Because if you do you assure the kind of production you're going to get. You're going to get the solidly-so production. Whereas, if you stick with the former player you have the possibility of the "engine for production." If you don't give that player at-bats you're already assigning a "null" to his production and saying there's no chance he'll ever return to that level, to that track record, to that potential. If you believe so, then make that move. But if not, by going with the latter player, you are creating a self-fulfilling situation. 
  • I live in the Bay Area and recently went to a talk with SF Chronical writer, Bruce Jenkins, at Stanford on life as a baseball beat writer and now columnist. He was great. Two questions: (1) Do you or the Commish ever do that in a class setting? I think both of you would be great. (2) Bruce said he doesn't believe the DH will ever come to the NL because he said he's talked with enough NL players who hate it and NL owners understand how much their fans hate it. It's working now with 2 systems so he thinks the union and owners why ultimately say, why rock the boat? Thoughts on this?
  • 1) I do it as often as possible. This past spring I had the chance to speak to Mark Saxon's class at Webster University and talk with a high school group back in St. Louis. That high school group had great, great questions about the current climate in journalism and telling stories. Each year, I also make every effort to return to Mizzou and talk to the writers there. I treasure the time I had at Mizzou and am always willing and able to help the J-School and its students anyway I can. That means a lot to me to be able to go back, and for their sports editors, Greg Bowers (former) and Pete Bland (current), to welcome me.
    2) I don't agree. First, NL owners have become more open to the DH in conversation, according to officials with MLB, officials with the union, and some of the owners themselves. Second, the DH is an easy chip when it comes the forthcoming labor negotiations that are going to focus on why older players aren't getting the contracts they deserve, or that the system is supposed to provide. You know what position fits an older player? The DH. You know one way the union could get an easy win it's providing one more higher-paying job at 15 (or 16) different rosters. Seems like in the broad scheme of things the DH is in play as a chip for negotiations, and how hard baseball works to keep it out of the NL may depend on what the union is willing to give to get.
  • Harrison Bader has .7 WAR already. Impressive player
  • He's done well. A good reminder of how things change within the opening weeks of a season and how little oomph being on the opening day roster really has when it comes to saying who will contribute long-term to a team.
  • Just wondering if the Cards scouts in attendance at the Rays game is just formality or would the Cards be up to something there? It seemed like just normal scouting to me but thought you might think differently. Thanks!
  • See earlier, please. It's as close as I'll ever get to writing a Two-Minute Mystery.
  • In regard to your poll question, there is a 99% chance of the first question happening and a 1% chance of the second happening. I say this because, if you have watched Joey for any time at all, he is not one to chase. Votto knows his team isn't going to win many games, as it is flawed in many areas, He knows how he will be pitched.
  • Fair. But unless Joey Votto is a reader of the chat -- doubt he is -- I'm not interested in his view, which was published in the paper and has been discussed often. I'd like your views.
  • Does #5 go into the Hall with an StL on his hat? Does his personal services contract affect that or any of his red jacket appearances?
  • Let's start at the back and work our way forward. The fact a Cardinals Hall of Famer has been employed by another team has not impaired that player from appearing in the redcoat. You'll recall that Tony La Russa returned to wear the coat while he was in charge of Arizona, and even this season he wore a red coat while working for the Red Sox. So, no. There is precedent for the player to put on the coat even if he's getting a paycheck from elsewhere. It's the plaque that is the bigger question. Albert Pujols is speeding toward a first-ballot election, and that means that his induction will come in the middle of his personal services contract with the Angels. The middle. If he and the team continue with that contract, he will be an employee of the Angels standing up there at the podium in Cooperstown giving a speech about his induction. This to me does change the equation. And not in the STL way. I'm not sure there is precedent for that.
  • Is Ozuna normally slow to get going in a season? I don't believe last year was a fluke, but this start is somewhat concerning.
  • His previous trends have been to warm up into the season and then have a chilly second half. This past year, he put a full season together and as a result had the career year that made him so desirable as a middle-order hitter for the Cardinals. In his career, he's a .274/.331/.427 hitter in April/March with a .758 OPS. That heats up to .313/.360/.511 with an .871 OPS in May. His April numbers put that as one of his top three months, by OPS, and then it sags in the second half. He bucked that trend last year, and it was Don Mattingly who said this winter that he thinks Ozuna has figured out a way to stop that from happening in his career. I'm not sure that lowers the yellow flag on this year's slow start. However, there is something to the weather, the schedule, and all of the things you're seeing from hitters in the lineup. To suggest Ozuna's start is in a silo and not related to Fowler's or Carpenter's or DeJong's strikeouts or any of the things you're seeing in the Cardinals' lineup seems wrong to me. They faced five/six All-Star pitchers in their first three weeks of games. It's not like Syndergaard, deGrom, and Ray are getting battered around by other teams. The weather has been awful to pitch and worse to hit, and Ozuna has talked about that. Those are considerations that have to be inputted into this discussion, too.
  • Has anyone in the media asked MO or Upper management what Cardinals unform code is?
  • Yes. It's set by Major League Baseball. They follow those rules. Meaning outside of the preference from the ownership for red shoes there isn't a Cardinals-specific uniform rule. Ownership does prefer primarily red shoes -- not red highlighted, or white shoes with red bordering. That is a Cardinals thing.
  • THANK YOU for the Albert HOF rationale. My buddy and I have debated this before and I just don't see any way he goes in without an Angels cap. It's always been my belief that LAA 'bought' that part of his career as well with that contract, sort of an unspoken, nudge-nudge-wink-wink understanding
  • There is probably something to this, yes.
  • Regardless of the number of starts Wainwright has left for 2018, unless the Cards resign him before the end of the season, surely there will be a "Wainwright Day", right?
  • One would hope. At least informally. The fans here would pull that off.
  • Can you see a situation where MM and Maddox create a 3-man rotation spot between Wainwright/Flaherty/Reyes, maybe where Wainwright and Flaherty end up with 15-ish starts and Reyes gets a half a dozen later in the season?
  • Somewhat, yes. This is the "shadow" rotation we've discussed in past chats, or the de facto six-man rotation that the front office has at least considered, but hasn't had many takers from the manager's office or clubhouse. Let's tackle this first by saying that's not enough starts from that spot in the rotation. The Cardinals need slightly more than 30 from that one spot, and it's entirely possible -- given health -- that you see Wainwright get in that 22-25 range and the youngsters split the other eight to 10 starts, or one of them gets them all, and Reyes fills in when the Cadinals inevitably give Luke Weaver a turn or two off, or when the Cardinals arrange Michael Wacha's starts to get him a break. They've done that in the past. With Weaver, they intend to do it again. And that's where you'll see the understudies come into play, mixing and matching in a way that from 162 games they get Flaherty 10-15 starts and Reyes 10-15 starts and still have a rotation of five starters who get the majoriry of the starts. If every starter makes 30 starts, that's still 12 left over. If two make 25, that's suddenly 22 left over. You can see how the math adds up.
  • Derrick - I've read/heard suggestions that MLB will take steps to at least deter tanking. What can really be done?
  • Financial penalties. A draft lottery. A schedule where every team plays everybody. Sanctions. Lots of things can be done.
  • Austin Gomber has 11 strikeouts through five innings for Memphis. Yairo Munoz has a homer.
  • Speaking of uniforms.....any chance the Cardinals might do something new and fresh anytime soon? Like Maybe do away with the Gray, and do an all red jersey? Our norm has gone a bit stale.
  • After 127 seasons it's gone stale? Now it's gone stale. Ooof. Well, rest assured, in the coming years there will be a change to the uniforms. I believe the new Under Armour deal will start in 2019 with the company taking over the manufacturing of all the jerseys, and there have been reports that in 2020 the company's Tie-Fighter-like emblem will appear ON THE FRONT OF JERSEYS. Yep, that's right. The interlocking UA will fly over pinstripes just like the interlocking NY. You like Birds on the Bat? Well, get ready for Birds on the Bat under a crescent logo!
    I'm going to need a moment to start shouting at a few clouds. 
  • Easiest way to deter "tanking" is a salary floor.
  • It's one way. It is not at all the easiest. It would lead to some weird spending on older players -- not just good players. Teams could still "buy" tanking then just to get the floor. It would lead to faux spending. Some players would benefit, but the game wouldn't.
  • Daniel Poncedeleon is improving and playing well in his comeback bid. He appears to have mental makeup to make the bigs. Does his stuff play in the majors? Lifetime 2.70 ERA looks good, 21 strikeouts in his first 17 innings this year!
  • I think so. He'll get to the majors, and could do well as a reliever there, absolutely.
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