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 starting at 1 p.m.




  • If Patrick Wisdom does not stay on the 40-man roster in the opening weeks of November, he won't be back with the Cardinals. He'll have the right to go elsewhere, and will be able to pursue playing time. O'Neill is penciled in as a factor for the 2019 outfield and the 2019 bench. Harder to see if Wisdom will be.
    Is Mikolas the newest version of Kent Bottenfield? If so, is there an Edmonds the Cards could pry loose some place?
  • That's a deep cut, and I dig it. Kudos for the history reference. No. Mikolas is a fixture for the Cardinals going into next season.
  • Is Daniel Ponce de Leon still with the team? I think there have been more Big Foot sightings lately than appearances by de Leon. If he's healthy, why isn't he being used?
  • He is still with the team. His whereabouts and role are asked about daily. The answers have not changed. The role he has been assigned or the opportunity to use him has not arrived.
  • Hi, Derrick. I'm really not trying to be argumentative on the Fowler situation, I'm just trying to make sense out of what doesn't seem to make sense. As you said earlier, you have to know why Fowler wasn't playing well to know whether he has had enough time to correct the problem or would benefit from more time, and that is very sensible. The problem we have is that nobody is telling us why the team thinks he had those problems. We have been told that it wasn't injury. The statistics cited earlier about results against power pitchers were very interesting, and would point to a loss of bat speed, but of course more playing time probably won't make that any better. What does the team think his problem was/is?
  • This is the spot we're all in, team included. I think Fowler's recent comments shed some light on this. Over the course of this season, I've asked him a few times if his foot injury lingered on. That can be a serious thing. We have seen pitchers (Wainwright) and hitters (Howard, Pujols) have their seasons and late careers sidetracked or derailed by foot problems, and here was Fowler with the issues last season that caused him such pain as he ran. He said that has not been the issue. He told me just this past week that the problem was solved and hasn't been something he's thought about all season. Was he limited in his workouts? Did he lose strength? -- any of those things as he recovered. Again, no. What he said was that he did not have "mental health." Mozeliak expanded on that in the article for Sunday's paper that has been linked before in this chat. 
     
    I understand what you're saying about how "nobody is telling us why the team thinks he had those problems." Well, they started to in that story. And if they don't have answers to offer you/me that's in part because they're asking the same questions and trying to find out.
  • Will Carson Kelly be the Cards first trade of the offseason?
  • Probably not. I wouldn't put that as the favorite, no.
  • I agree with you that the Cardinals did with Leake what many are asking that they do with Fowler. They determined that Leake was not as good as low-cost alternatives, and they shipped him out and ate the majority of his salary. Then you say that this won't happen with Fowler - that Fowler will get every chance (and I interpret this as substantial regular season playing time) to prove that his is a better player than Jose Martinez, O'Neill, Adolis Garcia, and anybody else the team could plug in there. Yet, when I look at the time that Leake had to prove that he was able to perform at a higher level, it seems to me that he had less time than Fowler has already had, hence my confusion.
  • Well, we can look that up. One second please.
     
     
  • Both players are in the second year of their deal at the time of this question. Let's start there. Mike Leake, before the trade, had made 56 starts and pitched 330 1/3 innings for the Cardinals. He was 16-24 with a 4.46 ERA and a 1.2 WAR. Those 56 starts are the equivalent of 1 4/5 of a season.
     
    Fowler has played in 208 games and had 825 plate appearances for the Cardinals. That is the quivalent of 1 2/5 of a season if you're expecting some time off, and 1 1/5 of a season if you're counting on an everyday player in terms of PAs. He has hit .230/.328/.410 with a .739 OPS and a 0.2 WAR. He had a better first season with the Cardinals than Leake did, and then didn't have the second season that went all that well because of injury. The injury, in effect, kept the Cardinals from having the same amount of time to decide on Fowler, and that makes sense, right? Because if he was healthy right now and not playing that would give the team a different set of data than it has right now, and thus a different decision would be possible. Fowler, too, would have a different view of a team that had moved on from him when he's healthy and available, vs. one that hasn't had him to play due to injury.
  • Of course, if a team has invested $80 million in a player and has $50 million guaranteed to that player they are going to want some return on that salary, no one is questioning that. The question is what to do when it becomes highly questionable that they are going to get some return on that salary. Do you keep playing the player, and hoping against hope that a miracle occurs and he suddenly improves, or do they turn to someone who is playing better than the player in question? Another question - you have said that the real question is why the player is playing poorly. I agree. Fowler says he will be much better next year, implying that he knows the answer. He also says he was not hurt when playing poorly. So if he knows the answer, what is that answer? I think we need that information to come to a logical conclusion on this one. Has he told you? I'm sure you have asked.
  • The answer was covered in the story. Mental health, he said. He called it a "reboot." I urge you to read the story, if you have not already. He has offered that as an answer. The Cardinals have offered their belief as an answer. You know what we cannot do? Know if that is the answer until he plays -- which he cannot until next spring.
  • If MCarp played in Wrigley 81 games/year, he'd have more HRs and a higher OPS than Baez. Oh wait.
  • That's just silly talk. And if Christian Yelich played at Busch Stadium he'd have different numbers, too. Miller Park is a fantabulous place to hit, hitters say.
  • Hate to keep harping on the MVP, but I'm kinda curious. I guess in a case like this, I mean where everything is close (at least between Yelich and Ozuna), you wait until the last game is played to make up your mind? Or do you know which way you're leaning, and it would talk some incridible last-week performacne to change your mind?
  • I make my grid and do my research and make my decision after the season is over. That's how I've done it for six years, and I don't expect to change now. I'll sit down with a pen, paper, highlighter, and stats on Sunday evening or Monday morning -- depending on travel -- and get to work. I will mix that with reporting that I have already done asking around for opinions from players, managers, and the like.
  • Is Carlos Martinez becoming a closer next year a reality? Wainwright seem to allude to it in the paper today
  • Carlos Martinez and the team intend for him to start next season. That is the universal statement from Martinez, his agent, and the team.
  • Hi, Derrick.
    I on the other hand am trying very hard to be argumentative on the Fowler situation. Or more specifically, on the Fowler article.

    I felt at every moment that I was being sold something. Something I neither wanted nor needed. Sold something by someone whom I respect greatly, or used to. But I'm honestly not so sure any more.

    Of all the articles that could be written, about all the players who've contributed mightily to this team and their great second half run, and all the players who have the potential to contribute in the future, we got instead a persuasion piece, a promotional piece about an aging, used-to-be-average player who had the worst season of anyone in the entire National League this year -- and unprofessionally griped about being benched. And still gripes about it. Someone detached from reality, who shifts the blame for his own awfulness onto his former manager. I never thought I would respect you this little. But I never suspected you to be a party to this nonsense, an accomplice to a fraudulent salespitch.


    The great enemies of mendacity Joe Strauss and Bryan Burwell have rolled over in their graves, sir.
  • Thank you for taking the time to read the story. I'm sorry you feel that way. My attempt was to talk to a player -- one of the highest-paid players on the team -- who had not spoken about his injury, his rehab, or his place with the team. Whether he had one or not. That was the aim of the story. 
     
    I ask only that you respect my late colleagues by not speaking for them. They deserve better.
    is there anything you, as a public figure, can do to educate the public about the fact that sometimes tweener power hitters just go on month-long power binges and it doesn't necessarily mean that they're suddenly more than tweeners?
  • I'm having a hard enough time trying to get people to realize Mikolas will be a free agent after the 2019 season, based on his current contract. One mountain at a time.
    For those who think the Birds need to get Manny Machado this winter.

    In his MLB career so far, Paul DeJong has been worth between 3.9 and 4.6 WAR per 600 plate appearances, depending whether you look at Fangraphs (3.9), B-Ref (4.3) or B-Pro (4.6). And Jedd Gyorko since coming to St. Louis has been worth between 3.1 and 4.3 WAR per 600 PA's. In other words, Machado would indeed be an upgrade, especially at 3rd base, but he would not be nearly enough of an upgrade to justify his massive salary. Same with Harper in the outfield, as Bryce has only averaged 4.4 WAR over the past 4 years, and the Cards already have plenty of 2-4 WAR outfielders in the majors or the upper echelons of the farm system.
  • This is one way to make the statistics shape an argument. I see room for debate.
    Hi Derrick! What are your thoughts in continuing to bat DeJong third? His slash line does not seem to be one of a 3rd place hitter. .239/.311/.435. At best Martinez and DeJong should be flipped. Thanks for the great job that you do.
  • What's the alternative? That's always the question. And the Cardinals have been searching. While protecting Molina at the same time. And now Gyorko. DeJong is the best fit of the available hitters given two things: Carpenter will bat leadoff, not third, and Martinez has done well at the No. 2 spot, which is arguably more important. There is a lineup theory that the Nos 2 and 4 spots should be better hitters than No. 3, and the Cardinals have that now.
    When Molina was injured in June, I noticed Francisco Pena looking in the dugout almost every pitch to (presumably) get the signs from Matheny. Does this happen when Pena starts now under Shildt? More broadly, how often do managers call pitches instead of catchers? Obviously having yadi back eliminates the need for this practice.
  • He was getting signs for defense, not for pitches. Molina does the same thing. Watch what they do when there is no runner on base. That will tell you what's going on.
    Bill James had Fowler ONE run below average in right field? That seems awfully, awfully gentle.

    At B-Pro it was 4.5 runs below average in RF. And at B-Ref Fowler was NINE runs below average. Safe to say he is a real bad outfielder wherever he plays.

    Question, DG: How many hitters have to improve dramatically and immediately upon leaving the Cardinals, for you or any of your P-D colleagues to at least entertain the possibility that John Mabry was an incompetent hitting coach -- and to publicly say so? I ask, because you said in a chat, when Matt Adams was traded, that if Adams immediately improved markedly you would write an article about Mabry's track record. You said this. So where's the article?

    Well? We're waiting.
  • It's an interesting and intriguing premise, and if the reporting/research proved it then by all means. I did ask around on this and Mark Reynolds was one of the hitters who raved about working with the hitting coaches here. Many players complimented Bill Mueller. And there wasn't this consensus. There was, however, some evidence that outside players had come in and regressed with the Cardinals -- Ozuna, Fowler, for example -- and that topic was illustrated and discussed in the coverage and followup of Matheny's firing. It came up because I asked Mozeliak about that being a concern. He in turn used the word "erosion" to describe some of the lack of production he saw. I'm sure you saw that article. Or, the one that Benjamin Hochman wrote about the hitting issues and the coaches that could be at fault -- or take the fall. I spoke to Matt Carpenter this past week for a story, and he again brought up how one of the voices that helped him break free from the early-season slump was Mabry. He said it at the time, said it after the firing, and offered additional detail in our recent talk about what Mabry meant for him. Ozuna, by contrast, had the shoulder issue inhibiting him, but also benefited from getting a voice like Budaska's to help him through some issues and open up another approach. So, the questions continue -- as always.
  • Derrick, I'm an old goat too at 61. All of the chatters who think that '68 team was the greatest, go look at the stats. I recall many games when they couldn't buy a run.
  • But they had Bob Gibson.
  • I think the Cardinals need a power hitter more than anything else. But I see two major problems. One, the players we have in the lineup are not bad players. At different times they all contribute. So, who deserves to be benched? Second, big free agents have not wanted to come here. However, I think the players are having a lot of fun now. Do you think other players notice that and think, you know, I might like to be a part of this?
  • The Cardinals are, after this season, poised to change their perception in the free-agent market for sure. And for the better. They have a vibe that will be appealing -- more so than they have had in recent seasons.
  • Hi Derrick, if Fowler had one year left on his contract, would the Cardinals still want to go into Spring training with him to see if he can make it back, or would they trade him (obviously it might be easier) or let him go. I am asking to get a sense of how likely they think he will recover and their willingness to invest the time and opportunities, since those are the marginal costs going forward, thanks
  • The conversation would be different. As would be their options -- and their cost. That would radically change the approach, of course.
  • Hi Derrick, I appreciate the time that you and other writers and the P-D take to answer questions, explain your thoughts, the teams's thoughts, the players thoughts. I am old enough to remember when i had to wait until 5 pm-ish for the P-D to get delivered to my house so i could read up on the prior day's game (and the Sporting News arrived on Thursdays with tons of extra information from the prior week) and it's incredible that i can get this much information and insight so readily. I am sorry that some people question your integrity
  • Thanks for saying that. I'm OK with the questions. I don't mind defending myself. It is part of the job. It should be part of the job. It shows that the coverage matters to people.
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