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. Goold also will reveal his Hall of Fame ballot during the chat.




    Happy New Year. Hope everyone had a nice holiday stretch. I sneaked away for a little reset that involved seeing a few movies -- Spider-Verse (incredible), Aquaman (found it fun; son did not), and Mary Poppins Returns (wish I hadn't) -- and spending one chilling night in Rm 217 at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. That is otherwise known as the Stephen King room. I did not walk with the outline for a novel in hand -- but I feel more braced than ever for this chat. All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter.All work and no play makes Derrick a dull chatter. ...
     
    (...)
     
    Oh, and I filled out my Hall of Fame ballot. As a sucker for nostalgia, I did mail it from a box near Coors Field -- a place I remember visiting as a kid when it was just a cleared tract of dirt. So, in what's become an annual tradition here at the Cardinals Chat on StlToday.com I'll reveal my ballot and take your questions about it and the process used. Here's Chatty ... 
     
    (That sounded a lot better in my head.)
     

    My 2019 Hall of Fame ballot.

    Derrick - Thanks as always for these chats. I was curious how forthcoming the front office has historically been with you and what we can expect to learn after this off-season is complete. Do you typically hear of near-miss deals that could have happened, or does Mo share those items?
    Interesting question. The answer; Not very forthcoming at all. But there are still many other places to go for information about near-miss deals, and those always sort of bubble-up in conversations around spring training -- whether that's with scouts or execs, players or agents. Those kind of stories can come from anywhere. It's one way that we really came to understand what happened with the Cardinals when Max Scherzer was a free agent. Sure, there was coverage at the time about the Cardinals reluctance, and they weren't really involved in the list of interested teams or aggressively pursuing teams. But it was after he had signed, during spring training, that the description of how the Cardinals "did not engage" came up and has informed coverage since. There are many pools of information that provide such nuggets.
    Walker and Rolen okay. Don't know Billy Wagner's credentials. Is he a potential future candidate?
    He's usually one of the first ones trimmed from my list as I try to fit the 10 limit.
    If you were granted an extra 2 votes, who would you have voted for?
    Bonds and Clemens. I've set that standard. I've written about it. I must hold true to it.
    So, getting into your ballot, what is your definition of a Hall of Famer? Generational talent, best of era, or something else? Thanks as always - glad to have you back after a well deserved break
    When I first got a ballot several years ago I thought about how to come up with a policy/standard that I could hold to year after year after year. I learned that from being an MVP voter. I have landed on this consistent approach
     
    -- If the Hall puts their transgressions on their plaques, I'll vote for the players. I'd like to see the same thing for Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose as well, and preferably first.
     
    -- If I have spots on my ballot or the Hall shifts to an unlimited ballot, I'll vote for them.
     
    In the meantime, I'm left with only 10 votes and that means that I'm not voting for the players who are Hall of Fame worthy. I'm voting for the 10 most-worthy of these candidates. That means I have to use the tools at my disposal to cut, trim, slice my candidates down to 10. One of those tools is the sportsmanship clause. Now, what standard of information do I use to cleave between known user and presumed cheater? That's far easier. I treat the ballot as if it has a byline, like any article in the paper. If I can write in the paper, with attribution, that a player had a transgression -- whatever that transgression is -- than it's fair game for the ballot. If I cannot put it in the paper -- and I cannot put rumor or presumption in the paper -- then I cannot consider it for the ballot.
    Thanks, as always, DG. Glad you enjoyed your time away to recharge for a new year. Curious, I know I've read in the past about how you thought if a known PED user was ever voted into the HOF it should be on their plaque, and can appreciate/agree with the thought. I know a short answer may not allow nuance, but can you briefly explain your reasoning (not saying right or wrong, I get both sides) as to why you aren't voting for Bond/Clemens etc., or direct us to an article? Just as a refresher.
    Full disclosure, I'm coming from POV that they should be in but have the "blemishes" fully disclosed on the plaque, not give speech, something like that.
    In addition to the previous answer, here's a place to go for an explanation: 

    Goold: Hall of Fame support is building for Bonds, Clemens

    stltoday.comFor the first time since PD's Cardinals beat writer earned a ballot, two greats tied to PEDs came close to receiving his vote. A deep discussion on why they didn't.
    Any prediction on where Harper ends up, given new developments? I would be surprised if he went back to Nats, but I guess money talks.
    About the week before Christmas, it became clear that there hasn't been this rush to offer Harper or Machado these decadelong deals, and we know that Harper already has one of the table. Increasingly, I see parallels between Matt Holliday, c. 2009, and Harper, c. 2019. The gravitational pull for him to return to the team that knows him best, has been willing to go to that long deal, and is likely to allow for a bunch of gizmos, doohickies, and such in the contract is where he'll end up. This is a the long game. Harper knows where he's comfortable. Knows what it's like in D.C. And so it becomes a game of how to get the best possible deal and most possible from the team that already had him. We saw the same thing for the Cardinals and Scott Boras in 2009-2010 -- right down to the meeting with the owner.
    Character Clause seems only to apply to PED use and Pete Rose. Chipper Jones makes a multitude of racist comments on Twitter and otherwise and is overwhelmingly elected last year. Schilling makes a multitude of racist, homophobic, and misogynistic comments and is close to being elected this year.
    I understand where you're coming from on this, and all I can say is this I gave consideration to all sorts of things, including the examples you mentioned, when voting and paring down the candidates. I cannot speak for other voters, but I do know that I have to pinch my nose and draw a line between on-field transgressions and off-field actions/opinions. It is my place to vote on how the person approach the game of baseball. It is not my place to use my Hall of Fame ballot to censor someone's opinion. Schilling was hard. His tweet that seemingly advocated the hanging of journalists was vile, disgusting, reprehensible, and he knows it. That said: It was his opinion. And in our culture, our society, his opinion -- while vile, disgusting, and reprehensible -- has the same right to be vomited into the world that I have to comment on his silliness in print, on Twitter, etc. So, I voted for him. I have voted him. Let him simmer on what that means. I won't use my ballot to censor. I will use my access to media to criticize.
    DG, When is the meeting with Boras/Harper going to happen?
  • I'm sure they're in constant discussions and meeting often.
    Hey Derrick any word on what the cards plan on doing next? Any bench bats or relievers they are looking at?
    They appear to be circling the pitching market, and while I'm doing the same it does seem that they have remained aware of the movement on starting pitching. Dallas Keuchel leaps to mind here. They have had past interest in Sonny Gray and did try to engage in conversations about a trade for him. On a different track, they have explored Shelby Miller's health and what an offer to him would look like. As we go along here today, I'm also looking for more information ...
    How legit do you think the Reds could be this year?
    Third or fourth place team at this point. Powerful lineup, though. Goodness. Great American Small Park will not be a difficult place to play for opponents because the Reds can thump.
    As we've been talking here, the Cardinals have made some baseball ops moves, most of which are title/responsibility changes and many you already know. Jose Oquendo is, officially, a minor-league instructor. Adam Olsen has been promoted to director of medical operations. Joey Prebynski will take over a new role -- "Major League Game Plan Coach."
    2 years $25 million for Miller, 3 years $39 million for Britton. Are you surprised by this? About the same AAV?
    I am not. Well, except for the fact that Britton isn't a surefire for four years. But he's got some clauses in there that add value to his contract. I figured they wouldn't be too far off as far as AAV goes, but that the years would be substantially different if teams were more concerned about Miller's health/mileage than they were Britton's. Turns out they were.
    Do you think Robertson left money on the table in his attempt to save a few bucks in agent fees?
    (Also, Robertson limited himself geographically, which is his choice because it was better for him. That has to be factored into a value he got from the deal, too.)
    Thanks, Travis. I have a feeling this is going to be a chat-rich year.
    WAR is not the end-all, but it is incredibly useful. For example, it factors in park effect. It also puts defense on par with offense. So, I think any HOF discussion should start there. Then tell me why a candidate is better or worse than WAR indicates.
    You kind of answered your own question. WAR is a fine place to start. It helps give a list order. It helps give you a starting point from which to lead. Here are the top WAR available on the ballot:
     
    Bonds 162.8
    Clemens 139.6
    Mussina 83.0
    Schilling 79.6
    Walker 72.7
    Rolen 70.2
    M. Ramirez 69.4
    E. Martinez 68.4
    Halladay 64.3
    An. Jones 62.8
     
    Of that top 10, seven appear on my ballot. The other three all have direct links to PED use. Todd Helton ranks 11th at 61.2 WAR for his career and he's also on my ballot. That leaves two spots:
     
    Mariano Rivera 56.2 WAR
    Fred McGriff 52.6 WAR
     
    This is where WAR offers a compass, but nothing quite works like a map when you're trying to get a specific location. WAR struggles with catchers, and you have to know that before you can ever truly understand what, say, Yadier Molina brings to the ballot when it's his turn for election. Similarly, Rivera was in a role that -- by definition -- isn't going to chew up the WAR totals. Limited innings, for example. And yet in that role -- which has grown in importance and he did better than anyone ever -- he was elite and deserving of the Hall of Fame. I see parallels between River and Edgar Martinez, and Rivera as a closer was the best ever, while Martinez, at the DH, was arguably the best of his generation. Now, McGriff. He seems like a product of a different time. Walks, a lack of thereof, is going to explain the gap between he and Helton. Otherwise, I struggled to find a definitive one that separated the two.
     
    For me, I always saw Smoltz, Mussina, and Schilling as the same pitcher -- the same value, the same contribution statistically to the game, or at least similar -- and have voted the same. Helton and McGriff felt like a repeat of that group. Similar players. Both deserving, if one was deserving.
     
    What is the holdup on Machado and Harper signing? Do you expect signings soon? Are teams waiting for the price to drop?
  • I have come to believe that the free agent market is now like water. It will fill whatever open space is provided. There are no deadlines these days other than the start of spring training and thus there's no real push to wait. If teams are waiting for prices to drop today, then the agent can wait for them to rise next week. It becomes this staring contest. If baseball put a deadline in January or before Christmas we would see a lot more movement because there would be real urgency. Now there's no push, and there is also no real knowing that waiting is all that bad.
    McGriff is the only real surprise I see... what is your thought process on him?
    He's always been on my list of deserving players and then just moved off as I got deeper and deeper into the candidates I had for the 10 votes. A few years ago. He was a strong 13th. And that's where he's orbited. This year, there was breathing room on the ballot. So I had a lot more to consider, including coming as close as ever to voting for Bonds and Clemens. Next year's ballot is likely going to open up for me to do just that. This year? I got to a point where it was Todd Helton, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and McGriff for the final two spots on the ballot. Helton stood out. But as I dug in and tried to find the separators for him, I came to also find McGriff as right there alongside him. In many ways. Also, far different eras of the game . Looking deeper into Helton's career gave me a greater appreciation for McGriff's, honestly. I grew more comfortable with that being the vote.
    I see you did not vote for any player implicated in steroids scandal. What again is your philosophy there? Would you never vote for them? Do you think Bonds, Clemens, Sosa, will eventually get in?
    Explained in previous answers, but yes I think the ballot eases up next year and I'll have to stay true to my standards and vote for Bonds and Clemens at that point. I bet they get in. Sosa not so much.
    There's been a lot of talk the last few years about the team's "puke point" with acquisitions. Does the Goldschmidt deal represent the team pushing past that point, or is it more of a deal materializing that didn't cross that line? If the former, I wonder what that tells us to expect with acquisitions going forward.
    Paul Goldschmidt was the central-casting move by the Cardinals. In fact, it felt a lot like the deals that Walt Jocketty used to make. Find a team looking to cut salary. Find a player with a salary that could be cut. Deal prospects from an area of depth to get him. Rinse. Repeat. This is the Cardinals Move. Puke point? Cardinals didn't even have to walk across the street for a Tums when making this deal.
    Derrick, if Brett Cecil throws in the spring like we've seen him throw for the two past seasons, will the team really take a $14.5M hit and release him in Florida? Cannot see another team interested in a trade for him.
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