Cardinals chat with Derrick Goold

Cardinals chat with Derrick Goold

Post-Dispatch baseball writer Derrick Goold takes your Cardinals questions and comments in his live chat beginning at 1 p.m.

    Salutations. Touch down in St Louis moments ago and headed home to drop off the luggage after what was a rather eventful road trip for the local nine. Michael Wacha is on the DL, and the severity of his injury should be clearer today. Gant starts. The outfielders were shockingly unproductive as a group on the trip — until Bader and Fowler conspired to Drive the offense Sunday. Tommy Pham is searching for his swing, trying to kick the flu, and a team that looked ill, laggard, and sinking on Friday has a new vibe coming back to Busch. Not sure where the chat will take us here today. Eager to see. Ahoy ...
    Can we ban Machado questions for a week?
    Probably not. Would really limit the conversation to only pressing issues if we did.
    What are the chances of a pitch clock? It's very frustrating how long pitchers, especially relievers, take to throw the ball. Twenty seconds ought to be long enough and some take twice that many.
    This exists in the minors, has been test-piloted in fall ball, and has been advocated — or at least mentioned — by the commissioner. Seems silly to me. Two reasons.

    — Baseball is a game, unlike others except sometimes soccer apparently, that stands without a clock. No clock counting down to a buzzer, no clock counting up to a whistle. That allows for a different pace to the game, a sustained tension with pauses for conversation, and I think that is a cornerstone of the game that a pitch clock would jackhammer.

    — Steals. Maybe this has an appeal because it would be like a starter’s pistol for the basepaths, but I’m not so sure we’d enjoy steals like this would invite.
    I don't think they should take a valuable bat like Jose, especially when carp is marginally better on defence. Do you think they should sit their best bat when they might need it I the 8 or 9?
    Some factors, for me, should determine this.

    - the score. That’s the big one.
    - the ballpark. Batter-friendly, games go upside down Quick?
    - the opponent’s bullpen. What matchup might you prefer and how would depleting the bench by one shape late innings?
    - lineup. Keep in mind, planting the pitcher at No. 3, could eliminate No. 2 hitter’s chance to impact late in game or in extra innings.

    There are times to play entirely for outs — and ballparks, and opponents — and that’s Matheny’s approach/idea when it comes to the defensive replacement at first. He’s going for outs now, with a lead, vs runs later if lead is lost.
    Can you elaborate more on how a pitch clock would effect steals? Would it increase them, or just change the strategy or dynamic? I didn't quite get what you meant.
  • Think of it like a shot clock in basketball. A player knows when he/she needs to leave his/her feet to get off a shot before that clock expires. Same could be said for a pitcher — and if that’s the case then a base runner can absolutely time that, too. He knows when a pitch must be made, when it’s getting close to buzz, and how a pitcher may rush to the plate, thus giving the runner a moment to go.
    Good afternoon and thank you for your time. What is the latest on Dejong? how is he feeling and any guess on when a rehab assignment would begin?
    Feeling good. Taking BP. Set to see specialist this week to get clearance for game-speed pitching. Could happen Thursday, or sooner. Then he will go on rehab. Pencilled-in to join Cardinals in Phoenix on Monday.
    This team is terrible, easily the most inept and pathetic defensive team I have ever seen. What will it take for the front office to see what 99% of fans see, team is garbage and going nowhere? Time to sell, everything. Starting with Carlos Martinez
    I'm guessing you slept through the previous two years. Maybe back in 2016? That was not a stellar defensive team. Oh, sure, they hit a lot of home runs, but they were, as a team, a 3 Defensive Runs Saved club. Smack in the middle, and sure looked, day to day, that they were worse. With more time could probably dig into such things as unearned runs and errors and overall plays not made, but a quick scan of the scorebook from that time show a lot of PNM -- Plays Not Made -- notes. 
    Selling everything? Give you think this isn't a good team, why would there be a buyer? If 99 percent of fans see that as a poor team with poor performance, then goodness, wouldn't 29 other teams?
    Carlos Martinez fast ball has been consistently in the low 90's since his return from the DL. Before the injury he was easily in the middle 90's. This is a big drop in velo are you hearing anything?
    Yep. He has said he's pitched "scared" of re-injury. It's a concern, and it's confusing for the Cardinals. And Carlos Martinez has talked about having to get over that. Another contributing factor is the lack of command he's had, and how he's dialing it back to find someway to avoid the walks and then ramp up to control at the higher velocities. These are all factors.
    Derrick, would it make sense to clear up some of the overlapping players for the Cards? I feel Carpenter, Wong, Gyorko, Munoz, etc.. all have different skill sets but no true starters.
  • Sure would. Easier said than done. Sometimes, the Cardinals have wanted to create depth, and instead of created redundancies.
    Hi Derrick—for 2+ years, the cardinals have been poor defensively, inconsistent offensively and have/had a so so bullpen. Couple that with some odd decisions by the manager makes watching the team difficult. Different year,same results. Agree? Ur thoughts ? Thanks, as always
    This is what Dan McLaughlin and I talked about on the recent Best Podcast in Baseball. Mostly me. But the concern for the Cardinals is something along these lines. They overhauled the roster after 2016. They changed the bench and bullpen for 2017, and this past winter they went and got a tent-pole bat, a strong-innings starter, and did some tinkering with the bullpen that included signing a $14-million closer at a time when the manager was lobbying internally and publicly for an answer in the ninth inning. I looked at this two ways:
    -- They have taken different routes and arrived at the same destination. So, isn't that a concern?
    -- They have changed the rims, updated the engine, got a slick new paint job, and did all the things to a car that this metaphor can handle, but if it drives the same, then maybe it's the chassis?
    Those are fair questions, especially as this team winds through a difficult portion of the schedule, holds serve this past weekend in the standings, and nears the All-Star break and, more importantly, the trade deadline. It's there where, if you'll permit me to now fuse the above metaphors, rubber will meet the road. 
    Is there some sort of rule that can be put in place so players are more forthcoming with their injuries? Perhaps fines or something like that?
    Nope. No more so than you would allow such a breach of privacy at your office. We are talking about someones medical/health, so there are laws.
    I'm curious: If you were running a major league franchise, what area of the game would be your top priority for putting a winning team on the field?
    Derrick, do you think it may be time to try to acquire another everyday position players? Possibly a 3B to play alongside Dejong?
    It's on the horizon, yes.
    You made some good points on Carlos M but what about the mental side of things? First, the missed play at first when he lobbed the ball as he was sitting on the mound, and then the wild pitch the other day that made him look like he was completely out of touch. How do they fix this stuff?
  • Great question, and I'm not sure -- having asked around about it -- if there is a great answer. A pitching coach cannot sit on his shoulder and whisper in his ear constantly. A catcher is there for a lot of it, but even Molina appeared frustrated when Martinez lost track of the signs and nearly fired the wrong pitch, giving up on it halfway through his arm swing instead. Asked about that moment, Molina encouraged the reporters: "You'll have to ask him." It is probably a concert of things, but the biggest part of it will be peer pressure. Other players, other starters, his friends -- they can not just set an example, but pull Martinez back onto it. It could be with such a young rotation (or, new, in Mikolas' case) these days there isn't that presence to command that.
    I will try to make this question short and sweet. How on earth would a staff change now benefit this team? If the team respects MM and the squad is over .500 why make a change? I don't understand my fellow fans belief that this would be a good idea. Follow another team, every team goes through games where they don't play well. Offense hasn't been great, but how does Mabry affect them striking out looking so much? It's not as though he tells them to take pitches with two strikes. I just don't get why coaches get all the blame. Players have to execute. Amazing how good players make a manager look good as well. Thanks!
    Your opinion has been presented here because it does stray from so many of the questions in here and presents a different look. You also have the same definition of "short" as I do when I'm filing stories, clearly. That said, there is a part of this that is worth discussing: The taking with two strikes. Fascinating story in the New York Times this past weekend about the Yankees and the approach to take with two strikes. It's uncomfortable. It's leading to called strikeouts. But the Yankees insist over the long couse of the season there will be a benefit, and that having a feel for the strike zone is better than breaking from it just to chase outside, or gearing up to swing at that two-strike pitch. In that case, it very much is the team telling players to take those two-strike pitches. That hasn't been in play for the Cardinals, best I can tell, but they all do have a "grind" approach, and that can put them in pitcher's counts, especially when a pitcher they expect to be around the zone is now in the zone, or a pitcher they expect to have one kind of breaking pitch, now sports another -- and all of that, as we've discussed before in the chat, is part of the preparation. 
    A change now would be done to jolt the team. The argument presented this past weekend -- and we'll see how this turns out in this home stand -- was Thursday's loss did.
    So Yadi doesn't look like he'll win the All-Star vote. Do you think he gets brought in as a reserve?
    More with each passing few days, yes.
    As a fan, I often long for the Cardinals to make moves in the direction of being the best team in the league. Do you think it is fair, though, to say that from the organization's perspective, while being the best team in the league would be great, the true target is 90 wins and a playoff spot?
    This is an interesting way to put the question, and I think it strikes at the disconnect in someways between how the team presents its goals and what the fans want to hear. The Cardinals, like the Cubs and other teams, are built to win what they think is the threshold to get into the postseason. This is an approach that I first hear best articulated by Theo Epstein in 2004 when he was with the Boston Red Sox. The goal isn't to build a team that finishes one game ahead of another team whose roster you cannot control -- that is foolish. The goal is to construct a team that you think, odds on, is going to win 90-95 wins. Cardinals have said 90, and they mean that range. Cubs have just said 95, but they mean the same range. That's the target. That's the model.
    Fans want to hear, like you said, "Moves in the direction of being the best team in the league."
    Team says: "We cannot control what other teams are doing, what we can control is building a team that we think has the best chance to get to a level of wins few teams reach, and with fortune and health that could be the best team."
    Fans: "Best team is best team. Keep up with the Joneses."
    Team: "Built a roster to win 90 to 95 wins in 2015, and ended up winning 100, and needed every single one of them to win the division, but the goal was to hit that 90 to 95 win sweet spot, and so emerged the team with the best record in baseball."
    Fans: "Best team is best team. Get us Machado!"
    Team: "Best team is a moving target. Ninety-95 is a proven target."
    Fans: "But what if you need 96 to win?"
    Team: "Out of our control."
    Fans: "Wait! Sometimes I wonder if we wouldn't have been better ff taking different approaches, each one with hindsight. We weren't made for the same road."
    Team: "It's not certain."
    Fans: "No, nothing is certain."
    Team: "We can still contend, if you think it would better."
    Fans: "It's not worthwhile now."
    Team: "No, it's worthwhile now."
    Fans: "Shall we go get Machado?"
    Team: "Yes, let's see."
    (They do not move.)
    Who will go to the minors when Deming comes back, your best guess?
  • No clue. There are still five, six games to play and there could be an injury that makes the decision for them. If not, then the roster will. Munoz has options and plays the same position. Greg Garcia does not have options, is the lone lefty off the bench these days, and has a role with the team.
    What was more embrassing Cubs 4 game sweep by the Reds or Cards Thursday game.
    Cardinals on Thursday. Sweeps happen. That brand of baseball shouldn't.
    I like gant fine but if the goal is to give yourself the best chance to win why don’t we bring up Hudson?
  • This is complex, not the answer you want, but it's the answer that's true, and it was discussed in this morning's paper: 

    Dakota Hudson dominates in Memphis, awaits call from Cardinals

    stltoday.comOn the periphery, for now, of the Cardinals’ discussion about what to do with Michael Wacha’s spot in the rotation, Dakota Hudson sent word from Class AAA Memphis that he
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