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.

  • Salutations. It's an off day for the frenetic, riveting 113th World Series, so it is the perfect time to log on for a Cardinals chat. My prediction -- Los Angeles Dodgers in six -- looked good early Sunday, then didn't, then did, then didn't again, then did, then didn't and certainly doesn't. A 1 o'clock "first ask" for the chat should have allowed plenty of time to recover from last night's bonkers Game 5, and to come up with some questions about the Cardinals, baseball, Jeff Goldblum as The Collector, or anything else that floats through the hopper here. The chat goes where you take it.

    Buckle up.
  • A while back you wrote about changing roster rules and the implementation of "healthy scratches" for MLB. Can you recap that and tell whether or not that idea has ever gained traction with the league/union?
  • Well done being the first question in the hopper. Not exactly that same as being first in line for Hamilton tickets at The Fox, but a whole lot cheaper! Let's start at the end of the question: Yes, it was brought up -- in some fashion, if not "healthy scratch" per se then something similar discussion. Both the commissioner and the union chief told me that the idea had merit and that there was conversation about how to handle the expanded rosters in September and not tilt the competition. The union chief said he planned to adopt the example of "healthy scratches." There has also been discussion about just expanding the rosters in general, for the other five months, as an allowance for the travel demands and injury concerns that the union had. Neither idea gained much traction during the recent CBA. It could come up in the future, as part of the next wave of talks. It remains a percolating topic.

    Here is the original story, explaining the proposal:

    Goold: As September arrives, baseball needs a 'healthy scratch'

    stltoday.comThe call-ups are coming, and for a game increasingly influenced by close games and bullpen force, expanded rosters could tilt the races. Here's a solution.
  • Was last nights Game 5 less than, equal to, or greater than 2006 Game 6?
  • Greater than in drama. But for locals less than because their team won. I've learned through the years that a fan's view of an exciting game is directly related to its outcome for their favorite team and how unexpected that outcome was. I'm still going with Game 7 NLCS 2006 as the best game I've seen. The most compelling. The most eventful. But last nights was a tremendous game -- better played from start to finish with more twists than the Game 6 played at Busch six years ago.
  • Why don’t pitchers just wear batting helmets when they pitch?
  • Have you ever tried to pitch with a batting helmet on? It would just fly off. Every time. Defeats the purpose.
  • Lots of talk about the Marlins as trade partners but I seriously hope the cardinals check in with the White Sox. If we could trade for both Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia our lineup would be set!
  • They will. The White Sox ask for the moon, the stars, and Saturn, and wait for a team to give it all.
  • Hi Derrick. Re: Maddux hiring, while Mo did explicitly lay out blueprint for the type of pitching coach he was interested in hiring, as some one, with at least a desire to acknowledges analytics and data, is it possible that if Maddux doesn't fully match all of the bullet points on the job description, he was just too good of a candidate to pass up?
  • It's entirely possible that is the case. It's also possible that the Cardinals learned a lot about Maddux during the interview process that maybe wasn't out there in the press or on his resume. The moment Maddux was hired I received, before I had a chance to ask, a series of raves from former players who have worked or played with him. I spoke with several people over the weekend -- Jeff Suppan and Jon Daniels are two that helped form the story that ran in Saturday's paper -- and they described a pitching coach who could shift from personality to personality, need to need. I'll give you an example. One of the stories I was told was about how Maddux would do by hand a lot of the statistics that are now readily available -- and in greater detail. But one of the things that he did was then slip those advanced stats that he did by hand into casual conversation, casual scouting reports, casual instruction for his pitchers. He cloaked some of it in humor. So, he was using the advanced stats all along, but he was repackaging them into morsels that the individual pitcher could utilize. In other words, he wasn't shoving stats down the throats of pitchers who didn't want them -- he was sweetening them into reports that the pitcher could handle, would handle, and would execute. That's a great skill. That certainly fits the communication box that the Cardinals set forth, and I think there's real reason to be eager to see how this works. Maddux doesn't have the professor reputation that maybe you hear about other pitching coaches, but he might have the adaptability to hide it and just be the favorite teacher who made you smarter without realizing it.
  • What makes a baseball team and “big market” team? It can’t be population, because Boston has fewer people than Miami.
  • Population is part of it. TV market-size is usually the determine factor. But also fan support, revenue, ticket sales, and history is part of it. Boston has a lot of those things -- starting with large TV footprint and continuing with market penetration -- that Miami does not.
  • What are the minor leagues that travel by buses? It doesn’t seem like the higher levels could possibly travel by bus.
  • They do when the trip is shorter. Even Memphis. If the trip is longer -- like say to the West Coast or Vegas or Colorado or wherever -- they travel by commercial flight.
  • Thanks as always for hosting the chat! With the finalization of all of the 2018 changes to the Major League coaching staff, has there been any reaction by the current roster regarding these moves, particularly with regard to the return of The Secret Weapon and the addition of Mike Maddux? Also, do you realistically think an enhanced staff could help at all with coaxing free agents to join the team in 2018 (in addition to the cold hard cash)?
  • Cash and the ability to win will still be the compass points for free agents. That's the case. We know of some players who have made a decision based on the manager and a relationship with said manager -- but that's down the list when it comes to the bucks and the chance to contend. Let's be honest. It's probably more likely that a city or a manager would turn a free agent off to coming to a team than be the deciding factor in why that player comes to the city or plays for the manager.

    Yes, several of the players took to Twitter about Oquendo's return. Several others expressed their excitement in other conversations. Have not heard much about Maddux's addition but that's mostly because so many of the pitchers the Cardinals have don't know him, have never worked with him, and only know him from competing against him across the diamond -- and even then it's only been the past two years that he's been back in the NL. There just isn't much to go on. We'll see if/when Maddux begins reaching out to his new pupils and the relationship he starts to build before spring training.
  • That was an amazing game last evening, DG. I'm not sure I have ever seen such two evenly matched teams in the WS, have you?
  • Last year's seemed pretty evenly matched. This World Series has upped the back-and-forth nature of the games, for sure, and thus the drama. Last night's game, specifically, was one of the most compelling games because there was never a moment until the final moment that it seemed like one of the teams had a hold on it. Tremendous baseball.
  • Hey DG. Still a lot of talk on the Donaldson front. Please tell me that Mo is not gonna sell the farm for a one year rental whose numbers add up to somebody we already have in Jedd Gyorko.
  • Selling the farm for one year holds no interest for DeWitt. He has said as much. If they can take on a large contract and not give up some of the prized, top-level prospects. That's the deal they want to make. They're willing to move quantity to avoid trading top-tier quality for a short-term fix.
  • What would you recommend to someone who would want to be a beat writer?
  • Read. Read a lot. Read as much baseball coverage or sports coverage or news coverage as you can. Read plays (to understand how dialogue works and how to use quotes). Read books. Read novels. And then practice. Get out in the field and write, for whomever will hire you or read you. Write for yourself. The first game story I wrote was in a spiral notebook in 9th grade (maybe 7th, not sure). It was for no one but me. It was awful. But it was a start. And when you've written some, worked on that, go back and read some more!
  • If the Cards are really interested in Stanton are they allowed to talk to him or his agent to see if he would agree to play for them (before an offer is made to Miam)?
  • Only if Miami allows it. The Marlins would assign a window for such discussions, and it would be part of the negotiations.
  • Do you see any way that the team keeps Diaz in the hopes Oquendo can work magic? I have been presuming he and Grich were clearly history, but wondering if JO changes that equation for Diaz?
  • Sure. I see numerous ways that Aledmys Diaz is part of the Cardinals in 2018. And if Oquendo changes that equation it would only be for the better. I saw numerous ways for Diaz to be part of '18 before Oquendo's return.
  • Hey, Derrick.
    Did the Cards stumble onto something here - converting kids (Kelly Knizner) from third base to catcher? Are there any other catchers around the league who have similar beginnings?
  • This is not all that unusual around baseball. Teams routinely try to find the position where a player's bat plays best. So, if you see a player who maybe doesn't have the power hit tool for a corner position, then you see what other positions he can play -- to maximize his impact on that team. That could mean moving from shortstop to center field, that could mean moving from third base to second. It's all about maximizing the fit along the glove bat spectrum:

    Great glove ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Great bat
    C - SS - CF - 3B - ..... - LF - 1B, arguably

    So, in that way, teams are always trying to take a player and press him into the highest possible fit on the defensive spectrum, and they are doing so with an eye on what traits and qualities they have. Third base translates to catcher because of the arm strength needed and the quick reactions and footwork that also fits the positions, and then spills forward from there. In Kelly and Knizner the Cardinals see the traits of a catcher in their approach and understanding of the game. So they try. It doesn't always work. There are players who have tried to move to catcher and just not felt comfortable at the position, and so back to third or over to first or out to right they go, depending on arm strength.

    This is not something the Cardinals have patented. Other teams do it, too. The Cardinals have just had strong success with conversations, especially anecdotally.
  • Thanks for sharing your great insights, do you think the bat we need might be in Memphis, Mercado or Garcia?
  • No. That bat must come from the outside. The Cardinals have spent two, three years trying to conjure that needed middle order hitter from internal options. Hasn't arrived.
  • good afternoon DG, hope you had a good weekend! Would you care to make a guess as to who will end up as the winner of this world series?? Second question, who would surprise you if they were not protected from the rule 5 draft and left off of the 40 man roster? thanks again for your insight and consideration.
  • I picked Dodgers in 6. I'm wrong. I'm good with sitting here and just being wrong and enjoying from here what's been an excellent World Series. Mercado would be the surprise. For me. I'm real eager to see what the Cardinals do to create room for him on the 40, and also what that means for other candidates, like Wisdom, who I could see as an early pick in the Rule 5 draft unless he's traded first.
  • What is the Cards backup plan when Waino and Wacha shut down in mid-season? Are they going to get a starter in the off season?
  • They intend to look at the starting pitchers and possibly add to their rotation depth, absolutely. They recognize the need for certainty they have there. And, as we've chronicled in print and in the chat, there are plenty of options out there -- some of which can even be revisited after spring training starts. This market and this game does not lack for pitching options at this point.
  • Where to you see Luke Voit's ceiling if given a chance. He seems to be a power guy who sees the strike zone well, is there any way he gets a chance given the Cardinals crowded infield?
  • Not likely, no. He seems blocked at every turn, at this point. Like Matt Adams before him.
  • Thanks for the chat DG. I read with interest your report on the AFL and it got me to thinking. Several of the playoff teams have basically gone "all in" with trading their best prospects. For sure that includes Chicago, Boston and Washington with the cupboards bare. Are we heading for the absurd situation where the Cardinals could lose some of their best young players to teams above them in the standings via the Rule 5 draft?
  • Sure. But not in a way that would render the farm system depleted. The Cardinals have depth and it's come ashore at the higher levels. And, yes, that has created traffic and conundrums when it comes to the 40-man roster, but not so much that they will just be leaking talent all over the game without getting anything in return. They have time with some of the top prospects before they have to be protected, and they'll create room for a few others.

    I think you bring up an interesting point about the Cubs, Nats, and Red Sox. We've all seen the cycles that the Red Sox have gone through in recent years where they contend, fall, contend, win, fall, contend, contend, win, fall. That's a cycle that the Cardinals say they want to avoid, even though we've seen it result in titles for Boston. Washington and the Cubs have a reckoning coming. It will help the Nats that they kept Turner and Robles through all the dealing, but their depth is slim, and that could be tested as this window begins to close on the Harper/Strasburg Era without a playoff series won. For the Cubs: They're going to throw money and prospects at pitching, the most volatile of areas on the depth chart, and we've already seen how that slowed their dynastic intentions this summer. Sure, the "hangover" effect is real, and I get that, and maybe the poor Cubs were really, really tired after several long October runs, but you know a way to fight fatigue?

    Get two new starters and call me in October.
  • How much does Maddux believe in advanced metrics? From what Mo has been saying, the direction they wanted to go was getting someone who really believed in them. From what Bob Nightengale was saying, they were about to sign Hickey, who really uses them, but Maddux became available so they turned to him.
  • Mike Maddux uses advanced statistics. This was detailed in an answer earlier in the chat. I think it's fair to think of Maddux's early use of statistics as how Dave Duncan used them -- they both created their own. Regardless of what they said or what you want to believe, Duncan was doing advanced scouting and advanced metrics before there were words for such things. He had detailed charts on each hitter -- where they put what pitches and how they hit what pitches and what damage they did on individual pitches. He would track all this by hand, and, yes, Jose Oquendo would glance at those to determine positioning and move infielders around based on the pitch that coming. So, Duncan was doing some hyper-detailed scouting and strategy before there was an iPad handy to do the number crunching for him. From people I've talked to who were with Maddux in Milwaukee and Texas, he was doing the same thing.

    Jim Hickey has the same kind of career arc, just had a brush with Maddon and Tampa Bay that maybe burnishes his reputation in this regard because of the highly publicized "new metric" belief system in place with the Rays and the mad scientist mojo Maddon carries.

    Hickey was one of the Cardinals preferred targets, and I was told several times that they had narrowed their list down to a focus before the weekend everything went upside down. And, no, that's not a Stranger Things reference, though it did get strange. Bosio was fired. Cubs were in the market. Baker does not get renewed, and Maddux -- who could have come back to Washington, likely -- becomes a free agent, or at least let it's known that he'll consider offers out there. In the span of 48 hours or so the Cardinals went from having a short list of options to adding two names to that list (calling Bosio, long discussions with Maddux) and a new rival in the chase for Hickey, the Cubs. I was told things got "murky." All in one weekend. And then you saw it sort out in the span of three days, and we see that both the coaches and the teams had a list of favorites, and tried to find the match.
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