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.




  • This past week, as I tried to poke around on Bell's departure and what that meant for the Cardinals and whether Bell was indeed leaving, I was told that Oquendo was back in the mix and they had asked him to return to the majors. Did not know the role. Did know it was tied to the opening created by Bell's departure.

    As it turns out the Cardinals have talked with Oquendo a few times over the past several months about returning to the majors, and this was discussed during this past season what kind of role he would want to have in the majors, or if it was the same role. This came to a head after the season was over and Mozeliak and Matheny had a chance to discuss the shape of a new coaching staff, and where to fit each guy in. Bell's departure gave them one more spot to work with. Oquendo took the offer.
  • Jeff Luhnow drafted Mark Appel over Kris Bryant. Jeez that guy is not perfect just like no GM is. Mo could tank & do just as well as Luhnow. Do Cardinals fans really want to tank? Hell no. Man some of the fans are so so spoiled and short sighted. I hate Twitter.
  • I, too, have been confused by the revisionist history that has given Luhnow credit here recently for everything from acquiring Matt Holliday to drafting Michael Wacha -- two things he was not involved in. Heck, Luhnow was with the Astros when Wacha was drafted. Look, what Luhnow brought to the Cardinals is undeniable. He made them an analytical force, one that was ahead of the curve and remained so for much of the past decade. But he didn't do that alone. To suggest that would ignore the fact that DeWitt set the mandate and provided the resources and that Mozeliak gave the analytical department structure and direction, even trying to fine-tune their algorithm for what he saw as untapped markets and also areas where the Cardinals excelled at development.

    An example of how all these things and people worked in concert came with their development of pitchers, and it's something I attempted to explore, much to the team's chagrin, in this story:

    Cardinals rich with young arms

    stltoday.comNew formula for developing pitchers yields early returns.
  • Why did MLB abandon the "stay in the batter's box" rule from early 2016? Commissioner wants to shorten games... this move shortened games by about 10 minutes, on average, as I recall...and was abandoned and not enforced by June. With 4 hour+ playoff games, this would be a welcome addition!
  • It has not been abandoned. It just isn't enforced. That's the issue.
  • Thanks again for the time, Derrick. Any feel for what the Cardinals will end up doing with the staff? You outlined some options in your pitching coach, but do you have an "educated guess" on the way the FO wants this to pan out - outside option vs in-house? Also, and I don't mean to pile on Matheny - Lord knows there's enough of that going around, and my opinion is no manager is as good or bad as many think, players on the field are biggest impact - but it appears to me that the FO spends a lot of time trying to shape things around the manager. One year they have a roster trying to give flexibility, another year they decide that wasn't the way to go and they simplify. Next, they bring in quality control coaches, whatever that means. Now, they're hoping to bring in a pitching coach that sounds like they want to be more involved in decision making. They seem to be trying awfully hard to put Matheny in positions to succeed, rather than find a guy who doesn't need his hand held so much...
  • It's a good question. A lot of what I can verify about the Cardinals search -- which has been, until the past few days, very quiet, like usual -- is that they are looking outside the organization for at least one of the positions, and they have an in-house move likely for the bullpen coach. They are not committed because as we saw this weekend, the market shifts and suddenly now there are a lot more teams and a lot more candidates in play than previously viewed. That said, they do seem intent on looking outside for options that bring a new voice and a new approach and a new authority to the mix.
  • “I think we’ve been very clear that we feel there are people who could help us get better, have better communication, and look at some of the new ways we need to think about (pitcher) usage. … We have said the hope is that we find someone who can play a role in how decisions are made.”

    I found this quote interesting. Sort of sounds like Mo is saying Matheny hasn't been the best decision-maker with the bullpen in the past, and is side-stepping a bigger issue...I don't know if I have a question. Just an interesting assessment of his coaching staff here.
  • Definitely part of the move here is to augment the decision-making process and give voice to important moves, one that would certainly speak at the same decibel level as the manager.
  • Thanks for the chats Derrick...always a highlight of the week. If I recall correctly, Oquendo was happy with his role in Florida as opposed to returning to the Cardinals. If that is correct, what would the bench coach role offer to make him change his mind?
  • Turns out it was the third-base coach offer that changed his mind. Back home, for him.
  • Derrick, Luhnow pulled off the Verlander move quite well and may have secured exec of the year. There's that.
  • One move might make him the executive of the year -- which, mind you, Mozeliak has also won -- but one move does not a GM make, except for in the short-attention span theater.
  • Went hiking over the weekend and finally saw some fall colors. Just wanted to share.
     
  • What’s your beef with Luhnow?
  • Have none. Known for a long time. One of the most intelligent and creative people I've been around in the game, and he is a baseball person through and through, despite those early years of being called Harry Potter. He took the hard route to prove himself in the game, and man do I respect that and the team that he's built.
     
    My beef is with revisionist history.
  • I did say secured. He is more than a one trick pony. I laugh at your snark. You've been wrong a lot in the past.
  • Haven't we all. If you're asked to predict 1,400 things every Monday, then it's inevitable you'll get something wrong. Check my fielding percentage, though.
  • Derrick, thanks so much for these great chats. I am still concerned about the bullpen, which somewhat righted itself with the purge of a few arms in the middle of the season but still hardly looks like the elite arms that teams like the Dodgers and Yanks have amassed. Can we shape up the kind of pen that a new pitching coordinator will be able to use?
  • In reality, it has to happen. Now, will it happen by the start of spring training? My bet is no. The bullpen the Cardinals want to have at the end of the season, when they're are heading toward the postseason or trying to vie for a spot in the playoffs is not the one they'll start the year with. Never is. What they do need to do is go into the season with clear options -- not answers, options. That would be beneficial. Because last year they started with what they thought were the answers and when they didn't work, they were out of options. Better to work the other way around.
  • I have always been puzzled as to the teams lack of defensive shifting, since they are reputed to be very involved with the saber driven approach. Is the failure to shift much a Matheny thing, organizational philosophy, or what? Do you foresee this changing next year? Also, what will McGee's coaching role be?
  • This is a good question, and it stems from the fact that Matheny's default is go as far with the shifting as the pitcher is comfortable. They have had some push back from their pitchers about the use of shifting, and they've acquiesced to whatever makes the pitcher comfortable. They've seesawed on this a few time through the years. When the Cardinals made the commitment to more shifting, Matheny said they would respond to the pitchers. Then the next spring he said that they had to sell the pitchers on it because they were going to do more shifting. This past year, we saw examples of them drifting back to whatever the pitchers wanted, what view they had, and what made them comfortable. We can think of a few times this was the case with Leake, Lynn, and Wacha on the mound. Heck, the Cardinals didn't shift on Rizzo. Everyone shifts on Rizzo. Even the Cubs shift on Rizzo.
     
    This is something that the Cardinals want to change, and buy-in will be compulsory.
     
    McGee's role was detailed earlier in the chat and will be again at StlToday.com with some exclusive content coming for the paper. 
  • Nice picture! I live in Knoxville, TN and fall is finally getting here too. Where did you go hiking? Also, thanks for the chat and BPIB. Always interesting stuff.
  • Thanks for listening the podcast. The latest episode is available here: 

    Best Podcast in Baseball

    stltoday.comSt. Louis Cardinals baseball talk with Benjamin Hochman and Derrick Goold of the Post-Dispatch
  • Regarding this move toward pitching analytics, how much of it is medical? Figuring out availability, usage, etc based on metrics.
  • Yes, that is certainly part of it. The Cardinals have a Department of Performance in place that is making great use of data about how to prehab pitchers, not always rehab them.
  • Does the installation of Oquendo back at 3B make Matheny's seat hotter or cooler in your opinion? (or the most likely third option, wayyy too early to make any assumptions) I can see this as Mo turning the heat up saying we have capable guys beneath you now who could step in, or, we now have a better-molded coaching staff, let's see how MM can work with it and give it some time...
  • It does not change the temp of the manager's "seat." It merely gives him a seasoned and exceptional coach to go into the season with. The pressure is still on to perform, and that pressure is rising entering 2018, regardless of who is on the coaching staff.
  • Hey, Derrick!
    I've seen it said in many quarters, repeatedly, almost endlessly, that the one definitive undeniable weakness in Mike Matheny's managerial skillset is that he cannot handle an MLB bullpen. So I checked.
    Over his six years Matheny's bullpens have faced a massive total of 12,475 batters, and here are the bullpen's National League rankings, in terms of percentiles:
    ERA, 80th percentile
    FIP, 80th percentile
    WAR, 86th percentile
    x-FIP, 86th percentile
    Win Probability Added, 93rd percentile!
    So we see that over his 6-year tenure, Matheny's bullpens have in fact been *elite* in every possible category. The Cardinals are in fact the only N.L. team to be in the 80th percentile or higher in each category.

    Question: would you or someone at the P-D, at some point during the offseason, please, PLEASE correct this bizarre perception/reality schism by just writing ONE nice big thorough piece about Matheny and his relievers? Just one, I beg you. Thanks!
  • I have presented the numbers here without taking the time to verify them because that would really just put a crimp in the chat at this point. And we're speeding to a close here. Before writing such a thing, I would have to check them out. That said, you do have to find a way to parse between the personnel and the choices. There were times -- and Matheny has talked to me and others about this -- when he had a formula for the backend because he had Rosenthal rolling and Mujica setting up or Siegrist setting up or whomever it was that season. There were givens, and once he had that seventh, eighth, ninth option set off the went, and that could skew the number's you're talking about. For example, you could use the KC Royals and Ned Yost as a control group because for a lot of that same time the Royals had Soria, Holland, and Davis and away they went with that kind of known quantity in the backend, inflating these stats that you're relying on. 
     
    What we can agree on is that grading bullpen usage is tricky because so often it's based on hindsight or reverse engineering. I appreciate the effort you made here to use statistics that actually take into account the situation before the failure. That's a good start to talking about how team's finish games.
  • Might the return of Mr. 51 signal a shift in team philosophy towards (at long last) stealing bases/smarter, aggressive base running? Seems like launch angle/exit velocity has rendered the base running “arts” obsolete...don’t understand why a team can’t/doesn’t want to do both. Smart & aggressive does not require blazing speed.
  • Personnel more than anything will still determine that, and right now when it comes to speed and stealing the Cardinals still have a restrictor plate in place. What he will bring to the conversation is -- conversation about it. Talk more. Learn more. Be more comfortable doing it. And take it out into the field. Pham and Wong are two who could be even more aggressive, and with some suggestions from McGee, a new voice, maybe that will help. But this is not some signal of an overarching change to the amount of stealing going on. That would take a significant shift to the roster, too.
  • To answer your poll question: The Fans
    How wonderful it is to see well played games!!
  • In the age of the tank-and-rebuild and the league's youth movement, it seems as though the contend every year concept is nearly impossible due to the rise of super teams that are built around a handful of "elite" prospects (compared to ours built around a handful of vets and "good" prospects). The only way to afford that many top talents is to homegrow them and pay them league minimum for a few years. Therefore, do you think we can get back to a consistent championship-level franchise by finding a core from outside (such as Stanton, Donaldson, etc.) or will we eventually have to follow the trend and rebuild?
  • I wish I had an answer that was as good as this question because I think it strikes at the question the Cardinals must confront this winter, perhaps more than any winter before. They have tried to hold serve and get production internally for the past two years and ... this is where they are. The Cardinals are trying to pull off something that other teams have not done successfully, and there has to be a reason for that. The Giants, Red Sox, and Yankees have all had down years mixed into their success. The Washington Nationals have failed to capitalize on their peak years with a championship. The Dodgers are as close as the game offers to what the Cardinals want to be, but the Dodgers have been able to paper-over so many mistakes on the international market because they could throw money at the options until a few rose to prominence. They, effectively, bought more tickets in the lottery than other teams because they could to increase their chances. To me, this is the crux of the Cardinals right now. They want to annually contend and avoid a rebuild, even a slight detour of one like the sell-off Yankees had just a year ago. I want to find out if that's possible -- or rather if anyone in baseball thinks that's possible and how a team can pull it off.
  • The Cubs said something about maybe trading a player that was never before made available to improve the Cubs.
    Who would that be and any chance of a Cardinal-Cub trade? Carlos Martinez for Kris Bryant?
  • I don't have any inside details on what this means, but I would take a step into the speculative abyss and suggest they mean ... Javier Baez.
     
    And, no, a Cardinals-Cubs deal is not happening. Nope. No way. No chance.
  • Hi Derrick, Shouldn't both the fans and local media lambast the Cardinals approach toward team configuration? All the accumulated redundancy and so many holes? How many 2nd base types does one need?
  • This has been one of the themes of the coverage and conversation and chats of the past year. Always appreciate a first-time chatter.
  • Yes you are right in your answer about Jeff Luhnow but the Astros are in the Playoffs and World Series and the Cardinals are siting home watching?
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