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.

    Yep. At the beginning. He'll have spring to prove his place. Or they'll move on.
    What do the Cards veterans think of a player like Bader? Young, unproven, but handed a starting job in CF. I like it, but wonder if it bothers others
    It does not. They've been around. They didn't have an issue with DeJong being handed the shortstop job or Michael Wacha being deeded a spot in the rotation or Jordan Hicks bounced from spring one day and on the opening day roster the next. You know why? Production matters. Production makes decisions easy. And if production cools, you know what someone won't be -- a starter. So production rules.
    What do you believe was the prevailing reason for the Cardinals base running blunders last year and how will that issue be addressed for the upcoming season.
    Ability. And I'm eager to see how that changes in 2019 with spring training. Shildt and his staff have some plans they're going to fine-tune in January meetings to work on this stuff. Having some of the faster guys and better baserunners on base more would be the first place to start, honestly.
    Did Fowler notify Cardinals front office or manager of his depression during the season? If so, was there ever thought of giving him a leave of absence to address the issue?
    Fowler and John Mozeliak were in constant conversation about what was ailing Fowler and how the team could best help. The injury made the decision for him. When Shildt became manager, he too got involved in the conversations with Fowler, and you could see the results of those conversations in the lineups coming out of the All-Star break. Part of the conversations was how playing time that yielded production would help all parties. Part of the discussion was how a fresh start with a new manager was worth trying. The Cardinals never really got to see if either of those paid off because of the injury. Fowler worked with Mozeliak on a lot of this stuff, and as you can imagine kept much of it to himself during the season. The Cardinals made it clear to him -- and have since -- that whatever assistance he needs, they will provide. The team does have a sports psychologist that meets with players at their request, and Brett Cecil has talked about how helpful that was for him after a family tragedy during spring training. 
    One other thing: It's worth nothing that Mike Matheny was a champion of players getting mental aid away from the ballpark. Not at the clubhouse. Not near the team. He suggested that it was more important than any one in baseball was comfortable talking about, and that it should be a bigger part of the conversation. Matheny said a lot of the things that really seemed right on this issue. Acting upon seems to be the next step for teams.
    As of today, does the overall game of Fowler, Martinez, or O'Neill best fit what the Cardinals need in RF?
    Aggregate? Probably. Just enough.
    I understand the reluctance to eat $50M so Fowler will get every opportunity to turn things around but we can’t play with a 22-23 man roster. How much rope do we give Cecil and Gregorson before the FO is willing to cut bait and eat their salaries?
    There isn't much. It's spring training. The players are aware. The team is, too.
    Derrick, so we see that Fowler has since changed plans and will attend the Winter Warm Up.
    Does this have anything to do with Fowler trying to re-invent his likability with the fan base that is quite skeptical of his right field starting position?
    Sounds like this was most likely at the request from the front office for PR purposes as Fowler has not shown any inclination to attend the past two winters.
    Either way, I think it's a smart decision for Fowler to attend.
    Alright, let's have this discussion, but first the facts:
    -- Year one: Fowler at the airport for his flight to St. Louis for the Winter Warmup. Flight cancelled. Another flight cancelled. Fowler stuck. Does not attend.
    -- Year two: Fowler and his family rent out -- what was it SeaWorld? -- or part of SeaWorld for his daughter's birthday party. It's the same weekend as Winter Warmup. He does not attend. However, he quietly organizes and hosts another event in St. Louis I believe for the Boys & Girls Clubs, and he does that when he's next in St. Louis.
    -- Year three.
    Here we are. I ask him about the Winter Warmup and how he feels about not attending for a third consecutive year. He tells me that he can imagine the response from the fans and knows what that will be like, but he has a wedding in Mexico for one of his good friends. He shows me the family calendar as if his word is not enough, complete with the dates from the invitation. I bring up the signing outside of Chicago. He tells me that's a same-day flight -- in and out. I suggest that it's being marketed as a Cubs thing, and it's not ideal optics. He tells me he's tried to look into similar flights for Winter Warmup that would get him from Mexico to STL or from Vegas to STL to the wedding, and it hasn't worked.
    (Aside: I have been asked on Twitter a lot about this notion of a three-day wedding and really how is that possible, yadda, yadda, yadda. Well, let me tell you about a three-day wedding, Mine. We had a destination wedding -- meaning we picked a spot where no on in our immediate family lived but it was centrally located for all families and friends. I had like two friends who lived in the area where we got married, and the rest had to travel. So, we had a Friday-night wedding -- and you know what? Many many many people made it a three-day wedding. Travel Thursday. Wedding Friday. Hang out in Columbia and see Mizzou and all of that on Saturday. Voila. And that was Columbia, Mo., not Mexico -- and not Mexico, Mo. This is offered up for information, not as a defense. But information. You decide.)
    Back to the story. So, after I leave Las Vegas on Friday morning, Fowler and his family discuss the Winter Warmup thing. They elect to change their travel plans and be in St. Louis for Winter Warmup. I had been told by the Cardinals that this was always a possibility, but was unsure. Fowler and his family made the decision -- and notified the team. I wrote my story Saturday based on the latest info I had. Sunday the story is printed. Fans react. But, I get a heads up from the Fowler family that a decision had been made -- and he was going to attend. They had just notified the team before the story published. I updated the story. And here we are. 
    Yes, he talked about the commitment the team made to him and what that meant to him, and yes he talked about a shared commitment he could make with the team and the fans. He often mentioned "wiping the slate clean," and he told his wife that he wanted to "earn the chance" to be the player and the personality and the presence that the Cardinals and the fans also want him to be. 
    We good?
    DG, thanks for the chat and yesterday’s article and tweet about Fowler. Good information. On another note, have you heard if the Cards are leaning to acquiring Descalso for the bench or sticking with the new guy, Robinson?
    Leaning toward? No. Considering? At last check, yes. The acquisition of Robinson did not mean they wouldn't add another lefty to the roster. They would have to remove someone from the roster at this point to do so, but they're going to have to do that anyway, really. The idea now is they have their lefthanded-hitting center fielder -- the one they didn't have at the higher levels in the organization. If they could get some LHB thump they would be interested in that or a LHB who could play shortstop consistently if needed then they'd do consider that, too.
    Do you feel like the impact a full season of Dejong could have in this lineup is being overlooked by fans? Looks like a potential 30 double, 30 HR guy, and batting 5th Behind Carp (?) Goldy and Ozuna, could make for some serious run producing opportunities
  • I don't think it's being overlooked. It's being discounted, for sure. He could be the team's No. 3 hitter for much of the season -- and deserve that spot. He has that ability.
    So how glad are you that you don't have to cover the Blues? I call them finishing 36-46(hockey equivalent of 7-9) I blame Jim Thomas. #freeJTfromthesuffering
    Here's my rule of thumb: It's awful covering a mediocre team. That can inspire apathy, and apathy leaves you without any readers. Bad combo. The benefit of covering the Cardinals is even a mediocre team is so bad that fans are outraged and hardly apathetic. The benefit of covering these Blues is they're so awful and their style of hockey so bonkers awful that there's no room for apathy.
    I mean, you know, off the ice. Seems like there is some on the ice.
    Let Fowler go to his wedding, geez. He can do an extra autograph session in April or something.
    He made the choice. Not sure how he doesn't even get a win here.
    Good gracious, enough of the Dexter Fowler winter warm up drama, he’s a human being not a bobblehead, let it rest.
    No kidding. Spread the word.
    I see the Cubs are talking to Bud Norris. He is projected to have a 9.3 SO/9 next year. Is any of the Cardinals’ non-interest in bringing him back because of the Hicks controversy?
    What Hicks controversy? Please don't make me type out another filibuster. Fowler was just at Norris' wedding in Hawaii. Said it was lovely.
  • Scott Rolen's my favorite Cardinal of all time. However, after watching his press conference and reading all of the compliments from former coaches and teammates, Goldschmidt may end up giving Scotty a run for his money. Do you see similarities in the way those two go about their business and play the game?
    Yes. You are not the first person to make this connection. In fact, hours before the trade was official, I talked to someone who knows Goldschmidt well, and they used this exact words: "He's Scott Rolen, just at first base." That's a high compliment. 'Round these parts, for sure. Now, Goldschmidt may not have Rolen's wry wit. We'll have to find that all out together.
    What do you think of the Boras charge that Mark Lerner broke collective bargaining rules by saying that Harper was moving on from the Nats? I think Boras has too much power and gumption.
    He has a point. He's really quoting a warning that teams got from MLB. Not anything teams haven't had presented to them in recent meetings about commenting on free agents, etc.
    Are the Cardinals using this time to gauge whether Goldschmidt wishes to reach free agency and that impression is affecting their willingness to go after Harper?
    They talked to his agent this past week. Last I was told, the Cardinals don't want to force the conversation on Goldschmidt because they have time together. The Cardinals also believe they're selling point is better if he's actually, you know, been around the organization some. They see the benefit of both sides getting to know one another.
    Doesn't it seem kind of obvious that the Cardinals are planning a tear-down after 2019? At least a partial 1-2 year rebuild?

    I refuse to accept that the front office is stupid or careless. This HAS to be a deliberate plan. It appears that they are even looking at short term solutions for the bullpen e.g. Will Smith. It also puts the Harper non-pursuit in a different light: why pay all that money if he opts out after 3 years if you're only competing in 2019? Years 2 and 3 would be an $80MM waste.

    Is there validity in the notion that management wants to give one last crack at a championship and then let all the FA's walk before the next arrival of non-pitching prospects? There may even be a stud or two at 3b and OF in that batch (or on the roster now: O'Neill?). At that point they would have tons of money to spend as well.

    What do you think?
    Deep breath. I feel a filibuster coming on. I can completely understand why you would take these tea leaves and make that reading -- but that is not what's going on here. It's the opposite. As of today, the Cardinals are on a short-fuse with this current group. They are giving it another big bat (Goldschmidt) and additions to the bullpen (lefty TBD) and they are saying this is what should win a division, and if it doesn't then they can peel off in another direction. They can abandon this core and go get another. That's not a rebuild. That's a tank. That's not a teardown. That's a retool. And that's because they have so many pitchers under control and several position players that can help under control as well. As outlined in the newspaper and in the reporting by me and others, the Cardinals will come out of this season with the following free agents and options:
    Goldschmidt -- if it's a match, they'll re-sign him.
    Ozuna -- they're counting on a big walk year and a comp pick.
    Wacha -- they're counting on a healthy year, and TBD future.
    Carpenter -- they're counting on a strong year and an easy option decision.
    Wainwright -- they'll see, year to year at this point.
    Mikolas -- they want to talk extension in spring training and have already started this conversation with his agent and both sides know there is mutual interest. Let's see if he can get a Mike Leake-level deal.
    So they get to the end of the season and see Goldschmidt as part of their future, Caprente rthere for another year, and the free agency of Arenado and Rendon on the horizon. They will be in position to make a play. That's not a rebuild. That's a team with revenue to make the move they want -- and no roster holding them back.
    No love for Brebbia in the closer poll? You need to fear the beard, my friend.
  • A miss on my part. At least he doesn't have to yo-yo between levels this season, it seems.
    What happened to all the P-D OBP sing alongs when it came to Fowler, Marp, Ozuna.. Those were fun BPIP times. I can not believe this FO wants to put their eggs in that basket one more time.... And then now were exposed to it was this and it was that, sore foot, depression, not feeling appreciated in STL as a city. Cmon people, this crap is getting old. Call Oprah! Or, here's a thought, start hitting and catching the ball!
    Paul Goldschmidt exists. You should check his baseball card. No wait. Let me.

    Oops, sorry wrong card that first time.

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