Cardinals chat with Rick Hummel

Bring your Cardinals and MLB questions and comments, and talk to Hall of Fame baseball writer Rick Hummel in a live chat starting at 1 p.m.






  • Commish Hummel assuming control of the chat this week. I'm sure everybody is satisfied with how the Cardinals are playing, but just let me know to confirm.
  • The issue with this team is that the roster is poorly constructed. You can't be a contending team with 2 leadoff hitters(Carpenter and Fowler) and a bunch of 6 and 7 hitters. They have no legitimate 3,4,or 5 hitters on this roster. Mo needs to surrender this year trade Lynn, Rosenthal and perhaps others to jump start the organization for the next few years. He misjudged and overvalued current player abilities. The question is do you think Mo is coming to a similar conclusion?
  • Mo surely is re-evaluating his evaluation of his players, some of whom obviously are not as good as we, he thought. Surrendering, however, is never an option in the balanced (bad?) NL Central. As long as they're three games behind the Cubs, there is hope. However, there is little or no hope as a wild card. So, it's Central or bust.
  • Commish are the Cards afraid to blow up roster and start planning for 2019 and beyond I think a total remake is required not sure owner and GM want to risk attendance your take?
  • What happened to 2018? There is too much good young pitching both here (Martinez), hurt (Reyes) and on-the-way in Flaherty to go full-blown nuclear about this roster. This will be a good team for several years to come, with, of course, some  touchups, such as a middle-of-the-order hitter.
  • Thanks for the chats, much appreciated. Long time Cardinal follower here, lean years and all. The current Cardinals; personal observation…your comment please.
    1. There has been an over evaluations of the minor league players and thus when depended upon at the major league level have just not performed to expectations.
    A. Exceptions are Martinez and maybe Reyes IF< IF< IF.
    2. There was a Matheny hire (I applauded at the time) as manager with no experience and brought in with a mature squad that became a squad of “promising” players. Two promising together.
    3. Failure to see the demise of two valuable pitching cogs in the rotation due to injury and age, Wacha and Wainwright.
    4. Oh and Rosie in the bullpen just weren’t at dominant as expected (hoped?). But then there are other teams in same position.
    5. A coaching staff with little big league experience-no “old hands” that teach the Cardinal Way.
    6. Signing of mid-level players to high, long-term contracts (Peralta might be an exception..he did help at first).
    7. Signing ONE good Free Agent (Fowler) was not enough to ignite a group of guys with potential (potential means ot having done anything yet but expected to do great things. It takes a TEAM.
    8. So that leaves management with a problem…the underachievers, potential only, players have very little value in the market if the team is “blown up.”
    9. From afar but close to the heart, the future looks bleak.
    10. So, Mr. Scribe, what happens?
  • What happens next is probably nothing on a major scale for the next two. What would happen more immediately is that Wacha will be either yanked from the rotation or skipped a turn, at least, if he fails to get to six innings in his next start. Wainwright might be on a longer leash but if the horrific starts he has had lately continues, he might be skipped a turn.
    Down on the farm, eyes are trained on young Jack Flaherty and, secondarily, Luke Weaver and John Gant, as possible pitching replacements. As far as trading for someone, it's a bit early to get too deep into the market because not enough teams, ,especially in the American League, are not out of contention yet. 
  • Hey Commish, thanks for the chat today.

    I totally see the NL Central as a train wreck and I get that the Cards are still within striking distance.

    But making the playoffs and hoping to get hot in October is an outlier, not a winning business model. For me, retooling with additional talent is the answer, even if it means not making the post season a year or two.

    How do you think the FO sees it and are the BFIB savvy enough to see the big picture.
  • The big picture for the Cardinals is the same as the little picture. For now, play better with what you have. When July comes and there is no improvement, try to get better both within and without the organization. A second straight miss on the postseason is not really acceptable but a third is unthinkable. The Cardinals will not go into that kind of rebuilding mode. The fan base doesn't deserve a full-rebuild team.
  • Regarding Wacha, seems like something must be done soon and the bullpen makes sense. Is the type of work he would get in the bullpen (more frequent, less innings) something his shoulder can handle? Would it be more or less stress on his shoulder?
  • Wacha's next move would be to the bullpen, but only on a temporary basis. He could even be sent out because the Cardinals still see him as a starter. Relieving would, I think, stress his  shoulder more, because he would have to warm up more often.
  • In addition to being the best hitter on the team this year, Jedd Gyorko has been, by a few metrics I’ve seen recently, its best defensive infielder at his position. It would seem to me that obtaining a third base bat (like Longoria, Moustakus, or Donaldson) is receding as a fit, because moving Gyorko would likely further weaken an already weaker than expected defense, diluting the net gain. Am I wrong?
  • Despite your metrics, I would say all of the above are at least as good as Gyorko defensively, if not better. The Cardinals easily could find a fit for one of those fellows and move Gyorko to another position. He did play left field for two innings, after all.
  • So when the Cardinals failed to sign Luis Robert, Mozeliak indicated that the funds that would have gone to Robert could now be spent on impact free agents in the future. My question is this: is the Cardinals financial situation such that if they had spent 50-60 million on Robert that they couldn’t have then had the flexibility to sign an impact core player in the next 2 years? Because if they would have still had the muscle to do so in addition to signing Robert, then Mozeliak’s line seems like a misdirect from the point.
  • I think the Cardinals would have had the firepower to do both, i.e., sign an impact bat, also, depending on whether or not they intended to try to bring Lance Lynn back. That's going to cost them _ or some other team _ $90 million for five years.
  • What return would Randall Grichuk command given his current status this deadline?
  • Not very much. Scouts from other teams see the same things we see. He's a four-tool player who isn't able to display one of the most important ones, hitting for a higher average by making more contact. He'll get one more try in the barrel when he comes back and that probably will be it. He could be part of a trade but not the lead dog.
  • How is Alex Reyes healing? Is the organization able to project his odds for making a full recovery and being available next year?
  • Reyes is healing nicely and should begin throwing  in another 10 days to two weeks. Given the year-long timetable it normally takes to recover from Tommy John surgery, he should be ready for spring training. He might come back first as a reliever until he builds more strength.
  • If the Cards become sellers, guys like Oh and Lynn seem like obvious candidates to be moved. Is there anyone in the organization that's "more available" than we might think?
  • When your team  is as bad as the Cardinals have been, nearly everybody is available. Siegrist, Wacha and Grichuk might be candidates. Oh still would be a good bargain to retain here.
  • Is it fair to think that DeJong is gaining quickly on Diaz to be the long term SS?
  • DeJong will be in the Cardnals' infield, either as a regular or a super utility player. Diaz has his moments at shortstop but might be better suited elsewhere. For now, it's status quo.
  • Thanks for the chat! The Cards are a total mess. Now it's pitching that is the weak spot. We need a starter, relief pitcher & core players for the middle of the lineup. This team has the Fox TV deal & management has refused to get a bonafide star since Pujols left. It's absolutely unexcebale. The plan simply hasn't worked & everything else is just excuses At what point does Mo understand we must make changes & spend resources talent & financial to GET THE JOB DONE? He needs to make some real moves, the uncomfortable ones where you actually go big for something or get out of town! I know he's safe with ownership but his press conference made me sick. He put this team together. He needs to answer. Forget about firing Metheny, Mo is the one that has to ultimately answer. We are still close enough in the central to make a run so will he actually do something or do you think excuses & rebuild is what we have coming?
  • No, the time for excuses long has passed. But their needs not quite as dire as you had listed. Ignore the Baltimore series. Nobody much pitches well there. The Cardinals do not have to go outside the organization to get it. They have several at Memphis and farther down. Their bullpen actually isn't that bad either. They have two closers and Cecil is starting to show something. Hitters, yes, or two would be nice.
    And, yes, Mo's job is not safe into perpetuity if the club does not perform better the rest of the season.   
    I would have to say, though, that signing Beltran was bringing in a star,  even though it was for only two years. He is still playing, so he must have been a star six years ago.
  • Have the last 1.5 seasons caused the organization to lose any faith in Matheny long term?
  • Mike Matheny is the midst of a long-term deal and wouldn't be axed this year. Now, if the Cardinals are trending this way a year from now, all bets are off.
  • The Dexter Fowler signing seemed to be a win now transaction-- 5 years and $80 million. With the emergence of Tommy Pham, Harrison Bader, Mags Sierra and other youngsters and the dismal performance of this year's bullpen, would the Cards have done that deal in retrospect? In other words, If Fowler was not on the Cards buy had the remainder of the 5 years $80million contract, would the Cards trade for Fowler today?
  • Fowler was the best free agent out there at the time. I don't deal in retrospect. Nobody knew Pham would be this good or Sierra and Bader that close, at the time. However, Fowler probably won't be the center fielder all of those five years.
  • Rosenthal probably would draw more because he won't be  a free agent until after next season, while Lynn is a free agent to be this year. Rosenthal probably is less replaceable for the Cardinals, though, because you're not sure about Oh's long-term future here.
  • Rick, On Saturday Gyorko hit a pop fly behind 1st base which dropped. Had he been hustling he would have been on 2nd but because he wasn't he only made it to 1st. After the half inning Jedd went to speak with Matheny, presumably to explain his faux pas. Matheny listened and said "OK." Given all the baserunning mistakes this team makes on a far too frequent basis hasn't it reached the point where it isn't "OK?" The attitude of this team looks flat-out lackadaisical.
  • You're right. The baserunning, if not lackadaisical, has been stupid. Gyorko, however, has been largely exempt, albeit not very fast.
  • Rick,
    At the conclusion of the '67 series, as the Cardinals are celebrating on the infield, it looks like one of the umpires runs past and takes Julian Javier's hat off of his head and keeps running. Am I crazy?
  • You are dead-on correct, and it all was explained beautifully by Benjamin Hochman in a front-page story in Sunday's paper.
  • Thanks for the chat! Ok, let's just get to it. The Cardinals have 40,000 fans a night showing up for games, a huge television deal that starts next year & a bunch of decent players without a bonafide star. Are the fans going to have to revolt & not show up to get management attention that this is not acceptable? The plan has not worked & we are getting worse Every year. Do you think Mo truly knows the fans do not appreciate this & an honest attempt at getting a star in town would go a long ways in terms of public perception?
  • I can almost guarantee you there will be a star offensive player here before the start of next season, if not in the next two months. You know that, I know that, Mo  knows that.
  • Commish,
    Thank you so much for these chats. Its not a great time for Cardinal Nation. I have a few arguments with my roommate who is a Brewers fan, its very interesting to juxtapose the different mindsets.
    Do you think the Cardinals will get away from their model and make a big splash in free agency for 2018, 2019?
  • The Cardinals will make a big splash either in free agency or trade for a hitter, eliminating neither from their approach but knowing that player does not really exist in their system..
  • Bernie I think talked about this best on his radio show last week. Said this team has a bunch of second basemen and 7 hole hitters. Not one move at this time could really save this team. So time to part ways like the Yankees did last year? Can they actually commit to doing so though? If you trade Lynn, Oh, Rosey, and maybe a couple other bats you open up slots of younger guys in the minors and can re-fill and be ready for 2018.
  • You and Bernie are right. They need a No. 3-4-5 type hitter but I would not like to see them trade Rosenthal and.Oh. They don't have replacements there. They could replace Lynn although not his experience and probably not his consistency.
  • Thank you for doing this chat, it is always informative. Do you see any scenario where the Cards may be buyers and sellers in July? It seems this lineup doesn't fully work, many good parts, but needs a jolt. Many they are buyers if a transformative player is somehow available, but still a seller to replenish some of the depth it would take to make such a deal?
    Also, your thoughts on Paul DeJong as a everyday player? Seems to be a man without a position, although I am not sure Gyorko and Diaz have strangle-holds on their spots. Thanks for the insight.
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