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..




    I didn't write a word about Addison Russell this past weekend because Addison Russell wasn't with the Cubs at all this weekend. That's not some spin -- that's just my explanation. Thought I would offer you that transparency. And it's no smoking gun. I didn't see the ESPN broadcast Sunday night -- for obvious reasons -- and I wasn't a part of any conversations they had planning their topics. I do know that if Russell was there at Wrigley for the game or for the series it would have been a major topic, because it would have been impossible to avoid. It's at this point in time that I would like to point out that you are mixing many things together, and I don't blame you, but I think splicing the different media is important -- more important than ever -- and this offers a chance to do that.
     
    This is no smoking gun on that story.
     
    First, ESPN is a rights holder. ESPN pays for the right to broadcast the game, and as such is joining MLB in the promotion of the game for mutual benefit. There are benefits to being a rights holder. The walk-and-talks and access to the manager and in-game interviews, and all of it for the good of the broadcast. That's not uncommon. That wasn't the media that was being talked about in the story you reference. Second, beat writers and and newspaper reporters are not rights holders. They have credentials from MLB, but MLB has no say on the content of the coverage. There is no prior restraint. There is no trading of promotion. Credentials don't work that way. I read something recently that referred to beat writers as "access journalism." That's redundant. Journalism is reporting. Reporting is access. Otherwise it's guessing. The notion of access as a form of currency is fine as a analogy is incomplete. If access is taken away one place out of spite, it can be found another place, and the information still acquired. OK, so the report/tweet was that the Cubs were applying pressure on the second group there. There wasn't much coverage from that group, and that should tell you something. It hadn't happened to them is what it tells me. Or they had shrugged if off as nonsense. And Theo Epstein came out hard against the notion:
     
    “However you guys want to cover the story,” Epstein told reporters, per The Chicago Tribune. “If you want to write critical articles about Addison or the club’s handling, you’re more than welcome to. We believe in the freedom of the press. This is certainly an issue where we expect there to be strong opinions, and people have the right to have those opinions and express them however they want. We support that. We would never try to stifle freedom of the press or that type of free expression. I saw that story out there. I’m not calling it into question other than to say the threat of reprisal to a media member about any topic, but especially one of this nature, is not acceptable. I’d be really surprised if that happened at the Cubs, and if it did I’d want to know who it was because they wouldn’t work for the Cubs much longer. That’s a fireable offense to try to threaten a media member because of unfavorable coverage, especially on a topic of this nature.”
     
    Smoking gun? Hardly. Not even the smoke for a fire. But I'm glad you brought this up because it does seem like you are describing all the media in one pot of soup. Not so. It's more of a salad. Actually, it's more like different courses of the same meal. I guess print is the veggies.
    Why do veteran players who are going through a prolonged period of poor play prefer to sit on the major league bench to going to the minors to get regular work? I understand young players on two-way contracts who might be afraid they would never get back, but not established veterans.
    Because, in many cases, they can't. The union negotiated rules regarding when and how a player can moved to the minors, and they did that for the larger protection of players with service times. If those players suddenly elected voluntary to take assignments to the minors to get right, then it would undermine some of the rules protecting them when they've earned the right through performance, contract, and service time to stay in the majors. There are players who accept, as a last step, assignments to the minors. Allen Craig did that with the Boston Red Sox, for example. But that was to reclaim a career, to get healthy, not to work his way out of a slump. Players put in a lot of time to get the right not to have a team force an option upon them -- and given what so many go through yo-yo-ing between the majors and minors, and making little money at the lower levels, I can imagine you'd hold onto the brass ring once you've earned it too.
    Are the Dallas Keuchel drums beating any louder?
    Not that I can hear them.
    It was good to see Shildt talking to DeJong before his last at bat last night. Seems to be some good dialogue and vibes in the dugout. I have to remind myself that the season is a marathon.
    Communication is vibrant and a power source for this team, for sure. Credit "ball talk." Credit the personalities that are most prominent in the clubhouse.
    I noticed on a hit to left by Carpenter that, for the first time, his swing looked different, did you see the same thing? Is this something he has worked on recently or longer or was it just a fluke swing?
  • To me, the pitch was different. He's been trying to get that pitch to do that swing. He wants to have that kind of hit, he wants to foil the shift. That's something he's been working to do.
    Derrick, Baseball chat but what's your prediction for game 7?
    Blues. It's about time.
    Derrick, Where does Gant rank as far as the next guy up in the SP?
    Too valuable in relief. If Carlos Martinez replaces him in that role, then we're having a different conversation. What Gant has done the last few times out has been impressive, building on a strong start that has earned him the role of setup man.
    Alright. Sorry about the delay there. Had a chance to try to run down some interviews for future stories -- and actually get some better details on questions that I already see asked in here. Let's try to speed through another good handful of questions.
    "Relocate to the ballpark" I am shot with jealousy at those words.

    Do you ever consider what a lucky dude that makes you to be able to regularly say that during your work day?
    I count myself quite lucky. It's a job I chased and wanted from a young age and never thought was possible. There are tradeoffs, as with everything.
    The Cards need a quality lefty starter. Keuchel is STILL available. Giants will trade Bumgarner and Gomber is 4-0 in Memphis. A good lefty will neutralize The Rizzos, Schwarbers and Vottos.
  • That is an entirely fair perspective, and it's true when that lefty is a strong lefty. When you're adding a lefty to the rotation to fill a quota and not to improve the rotation, you're doing it wrong. That's just my opinion.
    If the Cardinals Dept. of Performance makes a significant discovery related to recovery from injuries, or improvements in training program, do they share that information with other doctors, trainers, etc. or is that proprietary information that gives them a leg up on other teams?
    This is a huge question, and it's one that I've asked of the union, of Major League Baseball, and of several teams. And to be honest, they have not really given a quality answer because it's an issue they're hoping they don't have the address. I think they will. We do have some evidence of how it will play out when there is a medical professional involved. The Cardinals were one of the two teams that had players involved in the primary repair. And there are now others in the Cardinals' minor-league system that have had the primary repair surgery, along with Rick Ankiel. So, when that advance was made, it was shared as a possibility throughout baseball. The doctor did that -- because it's not an ethical competitive edge to withhold medical treatment that will improve someone's life or livelihood. That's where I side on this. Now, if a team has a way to get a TJ pitcher back in shorter time and throwing harder, that team you bet is going to be tempted to hold on to that advancement. I would hope baseball would step in.
     
    Do any of the current Cardinals collect baseball cards? I was looking through a binder of older cards and found two copies of 1992 Topps Carlos Martinez, Jose's father. Does he have any cards of his father? I would be willing to give him one if he wants it.
    Not that I know of. I know they had a wax pack-opening group session in spring training, and it seemed like Miles Mikolas was collecting all of the Cardinals for his side of the table, and he may have pocketed a few Harrison Bader cards to be used later -- for what I don't know. But there are no Nesheks in the group. He collects. He puts together complete series. I know that Jose Martinez has received cards of his father in the past. He had one with him I want to say back in 2017. We spoke about it in San Francisco.
    Much was made on the local TV broadcast of one of the recent games about Shildt seeming to talk to Molina during the game. Perhaps about strategy, perhaps about what he was seeing out of Wainwright. Was either of them ever asked about this? I didn't see any follow up. Related question: is this atypical for a manager? Or was it just atypical for Matheny so it was just a contrast?
    I talked with Shildt about it the next day, and he explained what that was about, and no that is not atypical for a manager and an experienced veteran and yes to me it offered a contrast of what used to happen in the dugout in some of those situations: https://www.stltoday.com/sports/baseball/professional/cardinals-notebook-shildt-rests-several-regulars-including-goldschmidt-for-first/article_55e389f3-2cbd-5566-8d80-352db18d37d1.html
    Look, that's not to say that Matheny didn't include Molina in the conversations. He did. He would seek out Molina for information on the pitcher, what he saw, and how the stuff looked, and some of the same things Shildt was asking. But now it's not just about stuff. It's about moves, strategy, feedback, and inclusion. It's inclusion in the decision, not input that might be used for a decision.
    Have you and more important your son been to the field of dreams in iowa
  • I've been twice. I first went in 1994 with my father and mother. My dad hit a home run into the corn. He never ever never brings it up to this day, nope, no, never. It was off of someone pitching. I went this past August with my son on a great American road trip. Rick Hummel was kind enough to cover the Cardinals for six days on the road so I could hit the road and go to Field of Dreams, Wisconsin Dells, Rushmore, Bad Lands, and Devil's Tower. We didn't mess around. But, yes, I took my son to Field of Dreams and we did play ball there. Despite his wishes and his prodding -- he may have been paid off by grandpa -- I did not hit a ball into the corn.
     
    In my defense. I had to toss it to myself and then try to crank it. I one-hopped the corner. My father never no never ever brings this up when I see him. Ever.
    Just wondering from here in KC? Do you know who Soren Petro is? He has a phrase he uses, where he says professional GMs are in the "get it right business", which I take to mean, at the end of the day, regardless of injuries, trades that didn't work out, and other sometimes anomalous matters, in the end, if things continue over a certain period of time not to work out, then it is time for said GM to go. Do you feel like Mo is succeeding in the last few years in the get it right business?
    If the business is getting the Cardinals into October then no. Full stop. But that's not the business. That's the brand. The business -- as set forth by chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and the ownership group -- is building a thriving, self-sustaining and cost-effective minor-league system that provides a team that contends every season and draws 3.4 million ticket-buyers to the ballpark. That's the business, and that Mozeliak has done. In previous chats, I've launched into detail about how ownership sees Mozeliak and the work he's done in more than two decades with the team, the past 10 as the king atop baseball operations. I offer ownership's view because in the end that's what matters. Not your view or my view or Soren Petro's view. Ownership's. I hope that's clear because if I'm to summarize this for the sake of time I want to urge you to consider that ownership looks at the total health of the club, not just the standings in the majors. If you want to guess at how ownership feels about Mozeliak or when his job is in jeopardy, then do take the time to take the same view as ownership, or at least consider their view.
    Did Shildt ice the offense by sitting most of the starters in Washington? They haven’t been the same since.
    No, the Cubs defense did. That was a master's class in scouting, prep, and shifting.
    Walker. Walker.
     
    Ferris is Bueller.
    Hi Derrick. Thanks for the chat. In thinking about potential veteran additions to the rotation, I was wondering about the possibility of Max Scherzer. He's owed a bunch of money for the next three years, if I recall, correctly. He's also struggling this season a bit. If Washington falls further out of the race in the NL East do you think they might make him available? In almost every way this is NOT a move the Cardinals would make (they do not want to block young pitching prospects and so 3 years is likely too long for any veteran move) and the cost will be substantial in talent and dollars. However, he is THE clear free agent miss of the current front office. I wonder if they'd overpay or extend themselves further to bring in the hometown kid and future HOFer.
    A clear whiff on the Cardinals part several years, and one they acknowledge. Well, at least president Bill DeWitt III did when I asked him. I keep wondering where the patience point is for Scherzer -- that is when his patience for the Washington Nationals ends and he wants out. It may not be this season. This season could lead to him even having one, or next season could, or maybe he never has one. Maybe he's in it not matter what. That organization is a curious one. That organization has yet to win a playoff series. He has as many Cy Young awards with the Nationals as the Nationals have division titles with him. They don't ever seem to have the culture they insist they have -- as if this winning tradition can be purchased and not earned. Whatever. My point is this: When I spoke with Max Scherzer this past week he repeatedly said the reason he comes through those clubhouse doors every day is to chase a championship and it's because he thinks the talent is in the clubhouse to win the championship. Does there come a time when he's not convinced that it is and he asks to walk out of those clubhouse doors to a team that does have that chance? Only he knows where his patience point is or when it is or if he has one, but if he does and he's still pitching like Max or even Lite Max then the Cardinals should have that conversation.
    In looking at the numbers of some of the low minor leaguers, it's nearly impossible for me as an average fan to get a sense of what might indicate future success. I was stunned to realized, for instance, that Dylan Carlson, whose numbers were fairly pedestrian at the lower levels, was playing nearly four years younger than the average player. So,obviously that's a factor in evaluating him. I remember thinking that the Cardinals whiffed on him, and now he's holding his own as a very young AA player.

    So, how do you as an experienced reporter whose seen so much evaluate players in the low minors? What are some things that will make you believe in player whose numbers don't pop yet?
    Great question. I do look at the age of the player and the level. That's always a good place to start. I also always look at the trends of the level. Is it a pitcher's league, is it a batter's league, is it a mix of both depending on where they play. How often does a pitcher throw in Vegas, how often does a hitter have to hit at some of the bigger, nastier, meaner ballparks in Florida? Those are the things I look for. I also look a lot at what hitters can control. Walks. Strikeouts. Those are going to tell you a lot about a hitter and even more about a pitcher at any level. Batting average, ERA -- not so much. Too many variables. For a hitter, I also look at doubles. Take a look sometime at Colby Rasmus' production in Class AA, or Oscar Taveras' or Matt Adams' or Kolten Wong's and then use that as a guide for what you look for from Carlson or from Gorman in the coming year. One prospect who produced well can give you a reference point for the next. As far as Carlson, I would hardly call his season at High-A Palm Beach pedestrian last season. And that comes from having a reference. That was a breakout year given his age and how the league swallows hitters whole. Take a look at Gorman's strikeout rate some time and you'll have a reference point for how his first look at Class AA could be a challenge, at his age, with that habit, and yet if he still finds power there regardless of what the average looks like, goodness, what a prospect.
    I wonder what the starting pitcher thinks when he sees a “getaway game” lineup posted.
    "Karma is gonna be awful."
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