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..




    Hi Derrick, I could probably make a decent argument for every player on the roster as to why they shouldn't or can't be traded. So how does the front office upgrade the team?

    No individual player is terrible and each had potential upside and no one wants to see players tearing it up somewhere else like Tommy Pham and Luke Voit. It's confounding.
    A starting pitcher would do it.
    Thanks for the great coverage, worth the subscription. With the struggle at leadoff, do you see Bader or Wong hitting 9th to maybe get more guys on base for Carp, and the Pauls.
    Thanks for the compliment. This would be the other scenario to switch around the lineup, and while it makes a lot of sense to me it's not been something Shildt has embraced. He has said a few times that he has looked into it, and wondered about it, and there was going to be a conversation during spring training with me and a few other folks about it. Can't remember why that didn't happen. Anyway, I think it's an interesting option for the Cardinals to consider. That was especially true when they struggled to get Goldschmidt at-bats with runners in scoring position.
     
    Think of the lineup as a spectrum, not a lineup
     
    1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-1-2-3-4-5-6...
     
    That means after the first inning you could slice it up any way and see this come up 7-8-9-1-2 or see 5-6-7-8, and so on. The best argument I've heard about the lineup is this: Get your best hitters up as often as possible and your hitters who do the most damage up with runners on base as often as possible. So, bat the best hitters higher in the order. Always. The 1-2-3 guys are always going to get more plate appearances than the 6-7-8 guys, or it's going to be even. But never less. 
     
    In the spectrum, one way to assure that the best hitters come up often and they come up with runners on base is to get them as far away from the worst hitters as possible. The spectrum helps visualize this.
     
    If the best hitter bats 2-3 how do you get the worst hitter (the pitcher) farthest away from him?
     
    We learned how to do this on the number line -- find the midpoint. Seventh would be the place right? That's five spots way from two, four from three, and it's another three spots ahead of No. 2 and four ahead of No. 3. Getting a team to buy into batting a pitcher seventh might be tricky, but you can see how batting them eighth works out in a similar way
     
    Spots behind No. 2: 6
    Spots ahead No. 2: 2
     
    Spots behind No. 3: 5
    Spots ahead No. 3: 3
     
    When you do this you get this spectrum
     
    1-2-3-4-5-6-7-P-9-1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-P-1-2-3-4
     
    After the first inning it means leadoff hitter becomes the No. 2 hitter (strong place for Carpenter at his best), Paul 1 becomes the No. 3 hitter (good fit), and Paul 2 becomes the cleanup hitter (perfect). You have three chances not two for runners ti get on in front of Paul 2, and he gets up in the first inning. That's the situation you want, and the Cardinals, in Bader, have a solid candidate for batting ninth and making it work even better. 
     
     
    If the Cards don't make the playoffs, do you foresee an effort to cut ties with some veterans and eat money to create some openings?
    That will be on the table and a likely move, yes.
    A chat on MLBtraderumors, the writer was putting aCards deal together for Bauer. Per his intel, it would look like Gorman and another strong piece would get 1.3 yrs of Bauer. Expensive for sure, but I would do that deal right now.
    I would not. I bet -- with some educated info on this -- they could get a move done there without including Gorman. Or, at least that was mentioned to me as a possibility. Could change depending on the interest, market, and the price that Cleveland can drive for. It may start at Gorman. Going to have other teams bidding them to get that price up there.
    Derek, love those behind the scenes stories like the one about Mo fighting for Grud and Porcello. Makes the chat even more interesting
    Thanks. That was my hope.
    Thank you for the chats! Aside from the current players playing better, is there one trade this team could make as you see today that would have a big impact on their postseason chances?
  • #TeamBauer. I'm just fascinated by that idea.
    With the ups and downs this year, the Cards are only 3.5 games out of first. And there is a real opportunity to pad the record the next couple of weeks. Let's hope they take advantage!
    It's a the soft spot in the schedule that they need to feast on.
    I am puzzled Last year everyone was asking for Matheny and Maybry to be fired. This year with about the same record no one is on Shildt or the hitting coach to be fired and yet this team is no better than last years. Did management again spoof the fans about this team as at this point in the season no playoffs are in the making.
    The records might be their only similarities. I don't see them as the same at all.
    Derrick, several years ago I attended the Winter Warm-up, and I remember going to a talk given by John Vuch. I don't remember his title at the time, it might have been Minor League Director.. He was asked what the most difficult thing about his job was. He responded immediately, he said, "don't fall in love with your players." What he meant was, don't become so enamored with a particular player that you won't move them.
    My question is this. With Mr Vuch's statement in mind, and the article in today's P-D, it seems to me Mo, Girsch and others in the front office are over-valuing not only the Cardinals own players/prospects when making decisions about to who to trade, who to keep, who to promote.
    Could it be the Cardinals front office is a victim of their own success, they believe they cannot make errors in judgment of talent. For whatever reason, most of the recent decisions (trades, extensions, etc) have not turned out well.
    Again, this is just one long-time fans perception.
    This is a truism that probably should hang in every front office because it's something that you'll hear a lot from every team. There are 29 teams that value their prospects, maybe overvalue their prospects. There are about 27 teams that really like all of their pitching prospects (I'm estimating here) and 30 teams that think they're the team that can the most from the prospect. They all "dream on" their players -- and that's similar to what happens with fans, too. It is very easy to see the best in a prospect when the prospect hasn't failed yet. It's harder to do once they've been in the majors for a while and the failures stack up because that's what baseball does. It layers on the failure. 
     
    And then there is the other end of this: Prospect fatigue. When an organization gets exhausted of a prospect that has been there for six years, seven years and not reached the majors and they forget that prospect has been around awhile -- but is still only 22-23 years old.
     
    The Cardinals are weighing how they approach this valuation of prospects and looking for ways they've missed on some of the players they've moved and what they could have done more with them in the majors or done to create opportunities for them. There is probably something to this "victim of their own success." It's affirmed their data-driven and conservative approach, and for years they've been able to develop what they need to complement a team. They have to ask if that's still the case.
    Enjoyed your coverage of the recent draft. Re the first round Cards pick, the description sounded like Marco Gonzales 2.0. More of a control pitcher vs a fireballer.
    Is that an accurate comparison? j Thanks
    There are definitely similarities, for sure. Seems like Thompson has more power, though. Gonzales could roll out of bed and get outs with his changeup. He once described that pitch as his best friend. Jonson has heat, and he gets swings and misses with that heat. Here's the scouting report from Baseball America: "Thompson has one of the best swing-and-miss rates among this year’s college pitchers in part due to a 91-92 mph fastball that can reach 94 mph when he needs it. Thompson’s fastball earns 55 grades, with a few scouts willing to call it a true plus pitch. His 84-85 mph slider is a high-spin rate, above-average pitch and has some power to it, although it sometimes gets loopier and slower as well. His significantly slower mid-70s curveball is less consistent, ranging anywhere from fringe-average to above-average depending on the pitch. He doesn’t throw his changeup all that often, but when he does, it is an average pitch as well."
    Pretty sure Wong hits better against lefties than righties. A platoon at second wouldn’t make much sense.
    Both true. And his glove can change games. And he steals bases.
    A typical refrain from an underachieving team is that the players just need to play better. But what if this is a good as this group can play, as evidenced by the past 3 1/2 years? Then what?
    Well, Goldschmidt would not have been here for that time ... I get what you're saying, but if you apply the 3 1/2-year blanket then you're going to have to apply that to Carpenter, too, right? So he's going to have a strong finish here then by that measure. And so on.
    The 3 worst hitters on this team by OPS+ are Wong, Carpenter and Molina, why not bat them 6, 7, 8 - and move Bader 1, DeJong 2, Goldy 3, Ozuna 4, Fowler 5 - How hard is this?
    One thing about stats: You don't get the ones from the past. You have to make lineups based on expectations of future performance, not the OPS+ already hit this season, but the OPS+ to come.
    I enjoy your articles that allow fans to see the team off the field. Goldschmidt and the chair seems to speak to an uncomfortable clubhouse environment. Is that a fair read? I’m sure there’s cliques (the hunting buddies seem a natural one). But, is the general feel much like the offense appears? Every man on his own island? I really don’t see a team here. I see a collection of individual players. Is that a concern that gets addressed by the team and what has caused the lack of team spirit among them?
    Not at all. That's not what was going on there at all, and if it came across that way I need to do a better job explaining that was a clubhouse-media situation, not a clubhouse-clubhouse thing. See, the clubhouse belongs to the players. It's the rare reporter who walks up and sits down in a player's seat. If there's going to be a long interview, you ask, you're offered, or you go to the dugout. That's the etiquette. In this case, Goldschmidt suggested I take his seat -- we were going to talk for a bit -- so that if a teammate had an issue with a media member taking his chair it would be Goldschmidt who took the chair. It had nothing to do with clubhouse dynamics and everything to do with clubhouse/media decorum. 
     
    This is a solid clubhouse. Truly. It enjoys being around together, and just when it seems like you've got a clique pegged there's some crossover. Ozuna's comfort and presence and personality in the clubhouse is a great example of this.
    I’m not sure if I want a Baumgartner brought in to St. Louis?
    Is it fair to question the people who are making decisions on which veterans the team is bringing in?
    Carson Kelly has an .873 OPS in Arizona, not only is that better than Goldschmidt it's way better than Yadi. Another one that got away.
    Carson Kelly is a good player, solid catcher. He definitely falls into that category of "prospect fatigue." Never understood why he wasn't more appreciated as a rising talent by a sliver of the fan base. That's OK. He needed opportunity. He wasn't going to get it with the Cardinals because of a basement full of Gold Gloves, two titles, and a Hall of Fame career that the other guy has going. But I guess there I go, splitting hairs.
    The big Sunday article this week was great and very insightful. But after I read it, I wondered whether the Cards are a team without direction at the moments. Is it fair to read into this article that Mo is at a loss for why the Cards are still struggling?
    Not at a loss -- as a guy orienting his compass. That's how I heard it. He's got the issues out. He knows the missteps. He knows what paths they're taking. He re-orienting the compass to follow.
    At their lowest point the Cards were 999-1 odds to win WS in 2011, Blues were 250-1 at their lowest. Vegas disagrees with your answer
    Vegas is trying to inspire betting so it can rake some cash from your pockets and balance the betting on both sides. I'm trying to offer you reliable information so that I keep my career. You choose.
    I was reading an article about the fallout from the Anthony Davis trade, specifically the impact on the Celtics. And it talked about how Ainge/Celtics did an excellent job accumulating resources and young talent over the last few years, but then never pulled the trigger on getting the veteran stars to and bring it all together. Now their window may be closing. There seems to be a lot of parallels with the Cardinals. They have all these outfielders and pitchers but if they don't monetize some of them, then their window will close too and they will have nothing to show for it.
    That comparison holds waters, yep.
    sounds to me that Mo might have been throwing you under the bus - in the article it mentioned pressure from comments or stories from the media....is their more stress and or tension now ? Is it harder to do your job ? Would you care to comment on the working relationship you have with the front office ? Is there a degree of animosity?
    It's professional. We've know each other a long time. If he was, that's fine. I'm comfortable in that spot. I'll show up tomorrow and take whatever frustration they have with my coverage. And the next day. And the next day. And they know that. And I know they'll be there to answer the questions. Like I said, professional. A player recently had an issue with something I wrote. He mentioned it to me, said he didn't want to deal with me for awhile.
     
    "Would you like me to explain why I wrote what I did, the reason I did?"
     
    "Nope."
     
    OK. We moved on. Had to approach the player recently to give him a chance to comment on something -- because that's fair -- and we had a conversation like usual. Professional. There's always more tension when they're not doing well, or when they think they're doing well and we constantly point out they promised to be better. But those are the grounds rules. If they don't want to be held to the standards set by the Cardinals, then don't be with the Cardinals.
    Alright. The game is getting going. It's time for me to put the chat to rest for a day. Lots of good thoughts in the questions today, and there are still hundreds that I didn't get to. Many many fair, thoughtful and pointed observations about the team and about where it stands as it tries to improve in the coming weeks.
     
    The chat will return next Monday, per usual. We're speeding toward the All-Star break. Enjoy Albert Week. Should be some moving moments and presentations at Busch this weekend.
     
    St. Louis made a new friend this past week and is already on first-name basis with Stanley. St. Louis welcomes back an old friend this coming week who also only needs a first name, Albert.
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