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 at 10 a.m. Monday in a live chat.

    Can we expect anything from Brett Cecil next season?
    Anything is better than nothing. Here's where things stand with Cecil at this point: The Cardinals are willing to give him a chance to prove that with his renewed health, the issues he was facing corrected, that he's ready to go. They have invested in him, and if he had a lesser contract he wouldn't get that chance, for sure. But here they are. And he gets spring to show he's ready to be a factor, ready to be a contributor, and the Cardinals' patience to see that won't last much longer than spring. If he's on the opening day roster then the Cardinals -- and you, the chatters and fans -- will have already seen how he can help them.
    What is going on with Rosenthal? Is he going to make a comeback ? We liked him.
    Ken Rosenthal? He's breaking news and taking names.
    Trevor Rosenthal? Yes, he intends to pitch in 2020.
    Does it seem reasonable for the Cardinals to expect bounce back seasons from both Paul Goldschmidt and Matt Carpenter? If those two return to, say, 2018 Goldschmidt and 2017 Carpenter, that would help fill some of the production that is going to be lost to Ozuna's departure.
  • It's reasonable, to a point. And, yes, that's what the Cardinals are going to argue -- that a return to norm from those two and an uptick from DeJong will cover the loss of Ozuna. They're right mathematically and they've made the contract commitments to say they have to try. But imagine, imagine -- I mean hold on for a moment and just imagine -- how good the Cardinals could be if they get the bounce backs from those two players AND an outfielder with an OPS of .800 or greater. Goodness, that just might be the kind of lineup that wins a division again.
    Derrick, is there any awards that you particularity disagree with that were just handed out and care to elaborate about? Appreciate the chats from Clearwater, FL
    Not really. Flaherty should have finished second in the NL Cy Young Award. That's all. No lower than third for sure. I don't get that one.
    Did Yelich likely lose out on mvp top honors getting injured when he did?
    If you tell me what he did in those three weeks, then I'll tell you if he did. He didn't have those three weeks to produce (or not to produce) and that could have swung the vote in any direction. Hard to tell. Bellinger was really, really good.
    What kind of technology do the Cardinals use to help with pitch recognition? Do they do anything with virtual reality?
    Like the Pirates? (And I'm sure other teams.) I didn't see that gear around the Cardinals much this past season. Some of the hitters I asked about it, had other preferences when it came to scouting the opponent and strike zone work. I do know they've made VR available to hitters previously, if they wanted it. The Cardinals were big on the tech that measures the bat and the body's positioning -- the Blast tech and the vests. Albert has that stuff, and the Cardinals invested in the Blast tech for all of the levels, I believe. Certainly for the highest affiliates. They had that data to go off of.  We're going to see expanded use of tech -- VR, too? -- for the Cardinals in the coming year. That is something that front office has advertised, and Albert has welcomed.
    I appreciate your response to my question. The reason winning one round of the playoffs doesn’t impress me is because of the way they lost. The Card were embarrassing and I don’t think it was a fluke. I think if they kept playing they would have kept getting beat, and I don’t think that only applies to the Nationals. The Dodgers, Astros, and Yankees would have all done the same thing. Admittedly the Cards would probably have at least scored a few runs against the Yanks pitching, but I believe they would haven been beaten easily. I’ve heard Mozeliak acknowledge the issue, but I get frustrated by all the half measures to address it. In my opinion the Cards are better than 75% of the other teams, but way behind those at the top. Hope is not a plan....unless you’re putting together the 2020 Cardinals lineup.
    I agree that it wasn't a fluke. The Washington Nationals vaporized the only offense in October to rank in the bottom third of the majors, and then went and quieted the best offense in all the land in the World Series. You bet it wasn't a fluke. The Nationals were good, and the Cardinals had their weakness exposed, and it all started with Anibal Sanchez. It was pretty much over from there. I think you make a fine point: The Cardinals have proven over the past decade, the past 20 years, to be one of the upper-tiers in baseball, but have stopped shy often of being titans, for whatever reason. It's not always by choice. It's sometimes by performance. But it is also by being restrained, by being disciplined. And when I bring this up to DeWitt and Mozeliak -- about the championships they may have left on the table by not making the big move to augment an excellent core -- they push back by saying such questions are locked in the bubble of a single season and such deals have ramifications down the road. In other words, their argument is that the moves you and I describe here might make then great for 2020, but they're goal is to be sustainable as contenders for 2021, 2022, and 2023, 2024, too, and while media and fans fixate on what might help for one year, what might have been for one championship, the ownership/baseball ops group has to have a larger picture. 
     
    There is validity to their point. There is also a clear misunderstanding that, hey, media and fans think about the future, too, and we get it that moves have longterm fallout -- and some are still worth it. Don't play us for dolts.
    Does Cecil throw a pitch next season?
    Sure. He must to prove he's healthy and can be a better of a team. They're not going to put him into the bullpen sight unseen.
    I saw your article about the Cubs hiring former Cards exec Dan Kantrovitz to run their draft, and that he had interest coming back here. Given the list of names attributed to him, isn't that exactly the kind of guy you want in your brain trust? Losing him to run the Cubs draft seems like a double whammy loss. Not only did you miss out, but now he is helping biggest rival.
    He had interest? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait, no, check the story again. The Cardinals talked to him about coming back. He was a free agent. He got a better offer from the Cubs. The Cardinals weren't going to put him in charge of the draft (that's Randy Flores) and weren't going to have him replace one of the assistant general managers. If you want to make the argument they should move someone aside to make room for him, then make that argument -- but it wasn't a case of his had interest and the Cardinals had none. If anything, the Cardinals made him an offer when no other team had. He would have come on as a senior adviser, or some title like that. The Cubs offered him a job, a really good job, and the Cardinals didn't want to clear that job for him to take.
    I think the ownership take the fans for granted. I bet the large majority of fans would take one or two more championships for 3-4 years of below average seasons. What is the point if you do not have banners to show for your efforts?
    I'm not sure. I get mixed signals on this from fans. They want a championship every year, and they want a winner every year, and they won't stand for a downturn. There is no patience for it. I don't think that if the Cardinals and won the NL pennant this year it would have made the previous three years palatable. If anything, this chat would be loaded with how many pennants the Cardinals could have won if they made the moves -- for Goldschmidt, for Shildt, for young pitching -- sooner. I think the Cardinals have made contending every year their brand, and they have accepted those standards and stoked those standards in the fan base, and now have to answer for them. The Cardinals want to be the Yankees of the National League. Fine. Then it's OK for the fans to not allow for a downturn. Just win, dudes.
    I know you hate hypotheticals but still curious your perspective. How much money, and ultimately financial flexibility, did the Cardinals cost themselves by prematurely extending Carp, Mikolas and Goldy last year? A Goldy extension may have ended up somewhere close but he's also coming off the 2 worst seasons of his career. I have to believe Mikolas would have been severely discounted as well and Carp you probably could have brought back for near league minimum if you still wanted him. Crying over what could have been with some of terrific fits available in the free agent/trade market.
    A bit, for sure. But not a lot if you wanted to bring that same group back. With no Goldschmidt, that's $26 million off the payroll -- though he'd likely get the same deal, if not better, in this market that the Cardinals got him for in February. Mikolas' year was better than his win-loss record, and it would not be a shock -- given what we saw Mike Leake get -- that Mikolas would be not too far off the extension he did get. He has age on his side. He has durability on his side. He has mid-tier price tag on his side. He just wouldn't have the market on his side immediately because so much of it will revolve around Boras' clients. Carpenter's is the one that stands out, obviously. The Cardinals didn't have to do that deal when they did, and as a result they locked him in for $18.5 million in the coming year. Now, his option for 2020 was just that -- $18.5 million. If there was any give in that number for 2020 it would be how the Cardinals could fold it into a two-year, $30 million extension, or something like that, if Carpenter would even humor such an offer. What those moves did, is it really limited the Cardinals ability to walk away entirely. Or to offer up a bunch of qualifying offers and see what happened.
     
    They could have walked away them from a total of $58 million in commitments and had that to spend on other players to fill first base, third base, and a starter in their rotation. Would make for a fun offseason, but hard to see it being a productive one if they didn't get two of the above three.
    Thanks for the chats, Derrick! You described LaRussa's decision to go into the HOF with a blank hat as a "disappointment". Do you feel that his time with the Cardinals was sufficiently more of a contribution to his election compared to him years with the As? (His time with the White Sox, while important in his managerial development, certainly did not do much for his induction case.) I am curious as to why you described it that way when, to me, LaRussa's case seems about as close to "equal" between two teams as most. Pujols, by contrast, clearly made his HOF election based upon production in St. Louis. Thanks!
    This was explored in detail in the subsequent questions about it and TLR's tie to history and place in the Hall as part of a team -- that STL is his link to other plaques -- or as part of a nebulous blank group. It's about giving him a tether to the team, a connection to the other greats in Cardinals history and not leaving him out there with the blanks. That's all. It's a personal opinion. And we shouldn't treat Pujols' Angels year as if they're zero-sum for his Hall of Fame career. They're not. Those numbers matter.
    Thank you for your time, Derrick. If its shown that the Astros did cheat to the extent that is being reported - how would you compare that scandal with the PED scandal that baseball went through? This cheating scandal really calls into account the integrity of the game.
  • Way, way, way less. You're talking about the actions of a team vs. the culture of an industry. That's not even in the same galaxy, to me.
    I think this year, if any, shows how little patience the fan base would have for tanking. As Mike Shildt said, they were 2 games up in the NLC and it felt like everyone was down on the team. Anyway, just a thought. Does Dallsa Keuchel make sense for this team? A lefty with elite ground ball stuff. Do you think they would go after him and leave Carlos in the pen?
    Great point. Look at the impatience and anger on Twitter and in these chats or on message boards -- and while those are pockets of Cardinals Nation and don't speak for the group at large -- it's so interesting that it comes after they reached the NLCS. Goodness. And won the Manager of the Year Award. Clearly, Cardinals fans, as represented here, weren't doing the voting. 
     
    Keuchel makes sense. Length of deal is key.
     
    I think putting him as the starter with the strong defense behind him would be mutually beneficial. Good fit. Different look. Keuchel told me he expected an offer from the Cardinals last year and again during the summer and it never came. Now he's got some additional evidence of his health to show, and there you go.
     
     
    Again, for me, the Cardinals should make a conservative prediction for what they can get from Carlos Martinez as a starter and then go from there and try to find an upgrade, if possible. If Martinez isn't in the rotation, then he's the closer, and that's fine. Not ideal, but fine. And then there's an upgrade in past. That upgrade would also have to be compared against Gomber and Ponce de Leon. Don't add for the sake of having the same. Shop for better.
     
    Do you see Martinez as part of the starting rotation next year? If he does move up, how do you think the Cardinals will approach the closer position?
    Carlos Martinez reiterated recently his wish/plan to be in the rotation. In November, there's no reason to accept that and look at alternatives if he's not going to be, as outlined in the previous answer. As for the closer spot: The Cardinals, as of right now, think they can have a closer emerge from the group they have, chiefly:
     
    -- Giovanny Gallegos
    -- Ryan Helsley
    -- Andrew Miller
     
    And then see how things work toward July, as Hicks readies for a return to the bullpen.
    Do you think the fans take the cards ownership for granted?
    No. Fans are the consumers. They should have an opinion. They should demand the company provide what was promised. Cardinals promise a contender. Expect it.
     
    I wish I knew how much of a the fan base shares the opinions expressed on Twitter or on message boards or in the chat -- all of which can be mediums that invite the negative, stoke the negative, reward the negative. Too often I see falsehoods spread quicker than facts because the falsehoods are sexier and the facts are dull. Doesn't make them less true. But they're dull, and who wants that on social media. Doesn't get the likes. Trust me, I know. My reporting on the Yelich situation isn't going "viral" because it's complicated, it involves game theory, and its sourced with information from all of the parties involved, including Yelich, and it doesn't fit neatly into the narrative or a tweet -- and it's so much easier just to scream how he could have been a Cardinal than to Google and god forbid read whether, hey, could he have been a Cardinal?
     
    I struggle with how much of the fan base is truly represented by how little of the fan base is controlling the conversation. I wish there was a way to know. But I realize that, no, fans don't take ownership for granted -- I'm not sure how that would work -- but increasingly, here and elsewhere, they take straight, truthful answers for granted. And that's a big issue. If there's not trust in my reporting on the subject, then I have a problem. If fans lose trust in ownership, then ownership has a problem. 
    Andrew Miller as closer? Are you serious?
    I'm always serious. It's in my coding. I'm an automaton programmed without a sense of humor and designed to host chats without a personality. Haven't you heard?
    In your reporting, have you seen the dynamic between John Mozeliak and GM Michael Girsch? Like how they collaborate and/or how they differ in strategy? I feel like Girsch would like take more risks than Mozeliak, but Mo is still a position higher than him.

    Thanks.
    Oh, you bet. For years and years. They definitely have different views and they're merging those strategies. Mozeliak has the second-to-final call. DeWitt has the final call. So keep that mind. There have been times here recently when ownership has pushed for a deal that the front office wasn't all that keen on pulling off (ahem, Stanton). And there are deals that Girsch has sought and worked on, that Mozeliak didn't have that large of role in and then signed off on. Mozeliak did the groundwork obviously on the Goldschmidt extension. He was the one guiding the Fowler talks. Girsch was involved in the Carpenter extension and the DeJong extension, too. I think I've mentioned before that this time of year they definitely split the work along the lines of relationships, and as GMs get younger and get a different background, Girsch knows more of them and has working relationships with them, while Mozeliak continues to have the talks with his peer group. Agents work the same way. Mozeliak has some longstanding relationships with agents and they gravitate toward him, while others are talking to Girsch. I will add that one thing Mozeliak has wanted to have happen in the coming years is to have his focus shift more to the larger scope of the organization and have the volume of Girsch's decision-making grow year by year by year. And the recent extensions offer security for that to happen. I've heard from both of them times they wanted to take more risks -- reach a bit -- and have had different reasons for not doing so. Sometimes it's their approach, their data, sometimes it's ownership, and, yes, sometimes it's their personality. The lack of a deal for a starter this past trade deadline I think reflected the data and their personality. They talked themselves out of deals.
    The thing I find most disturbing about the Astros scandal are all of the players that were knowing participants in the activity. Its one thing for an organization to cheat but to sell that to your players and have them go along is disturbing. Surprised this didn't come out sooner with player movements all the time and rumors.
    So true. That's why Fiers, the whistleblower, stands out. So often there are hints and whispers, and then, as a reporter, you try to go get information on the record, and those hints and whispers dry up and the story vanishes. There were questions through the years, and chatter. But pinning down the source(s) to pull the rug off of it -- man, that's some excellent reporting and also it takes players being willing to confirm. And then the sardine can opens. Look at the recent story from The Athletic about the email that allegedly went out to Astros scouts. They didn't exactly give their sign stealing, alleged, the highest security clearance there.
    Is there a realistic way the FO can improve the offense this year besides simply hoping for different results from key guys?
    Yes. Add an outfielder who will have the aforementioned 8 at the start of his OPS.
    What team(s) match up with Cardinals in the trade market in your opinion
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