Derrick Goold is back from the World Series and ready to chat Cardinals baseball at 11 a.m. Monday

Derrick Goold is back from the World Series and ready to chat Cardinals baseball at 11 a.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to a live chat with Derrick Goold at 11 a.m. Monday.

    Greetings. Welcome to the offseason, and the hot stove that will launch a thousand puns about how cold it is. It's going to be a frustrating winter for baseball fans, baseball players, and baseball teams alike. As a baseball writer, I'll do my best to explain it, explore it, exhume the reasons behind it. I imagine the chats are going to be lively, maybe volatile, and they may occasional get angry. I'm ready for it. Let's do our best to make the civil -- and most of all ... informative. That will be responsibility, and my promise to you the chatters.
    Deep breath. Away we go ... 
    Is this where I enter the live chat?
    It is in deed. Welcome aboard.
    Hi Derrick. Should cardinals fans start to prepare for a “rebuild” year? Already lost Wong, seems possible we will lose Waino and Molina. Because of lost $$ will probably not participate in FA. 2022 get players off books. Should we prepare for the worst in 2021?
    I asked this question of Mozeliak this past week: Given the financial situation, the move to release Wong into free agency, and the likelihood of little spending and a reduced payroll, would it be wise for the Cardinals to take a step back in 2021, just retreat from their "contend every year" brand and focus on 2022.
    He pushed back on the question, and that notion, and said that if there's a season, the Cardinals would aim to contend in it.
    That said, the Cardinals do have more financial flexibility for the 2022 season. There will be nearly $60 million of spending slipping from the payroll as the guaranteed contracts for Carpenter, Fowler, Andrew Miller, and Carlos Martinez come to an end. That of course would be the first year of the new CBA, and it's not a guaranteed season either. 
    It's hard for me to say "prepare for the worst" this winter because some fans have really come into this chat saying the past few winters have already been the worst. That's a hard scale for me to figure out. I'll say this: If you have high hopes for big spending this winter and big names and big, exciting headlines: Don't. You will get the worst.
    If you have curiosity how a team can improve in the circumstances they've outlined with a market that is flooded with talent, then pull up a chair. The winter will be cold and frustrating, but it won't lack for intrigue and there is a chance the Cardinals can change their team with loose change lying around.
    Does Bill Dewitt Jr have a clue?
    What's your read on how Carlos Martinez is viewed outside of the organization? To me, getting his salary off the books should be a priority so that they can find the room to improve the offense and afford to bring back Molina and Wainwright.
    The Cardinals have tried to trade Carlos Martinez each of the past two years -- either at the deadline or during the offseason. He is still a Cardinal. So you can tell the kind of offers they got for him. They got no interest in him at the trade deadline in 2019, according to sources. His health and role was just too much of an unknown at his salary, and that hasn't changed. If anything, that uncertainty is less palatable for a team because of the financial issues facing the league. Moving his salary would, at this point, mean taking on part of it, because pitchers coming off injury and in uncertain roles are going to be plentiful in the marketplace, and teams can just go sign one instead of trade for one.
  • How long is the Dodgers' championship window?
    Is forever an answer? The Dodgers have financial might, a front office with intellectual muscle, and Mookie Betts to go with Walker Buehler. I meant it when I wrote it in the newspaper that the Los Angeles Dodgers are the monster that Moneyball never intended, and as long as they are run like that in the second-largest market in baseball, then they have the potential to be good for years and years and years to come. They draft well. They develop well. They have the money to spend to cover up their mistakes.
    Two-part question… Let’s say mid-January a vaccine comes out and gets the proper testing and is readily available to the public, and MLB teams find out they can once again have fans in the stands to start the season, what does this do for the Cardinals and MLB as a whole? Also, why doesn’t MLB come out and say whether there will be a DH next year in the NL or not. I would think this would affect how NL teams approach certain FA.
    What! What incredible wishful thinking -- and I am onboard with your optimism, if I can just get over my pragmatism.
    1) Any ticket sales, any ticket sales whatsoever beyond zero ticket sales is going to change the financial structure for the teams. It will change the revenues they have for 2021, the money they have to pay off loans from 2020, and so on and so forth. The actual mechanics of this would be tricky though. For example, would you have to prove you have the vaccine to -- buy a ticket? to enter the ballpark? How would that work? What kind of infrastructure would be in place to avoid fraud?
    2) Because it is a bargaining chip for both sides to play during the upcoming labor negotiations, and neither the union or the owners want to play it so hastily that they lose the leverage they could get for a concession elsewhere. That said, there are meetings this week -- right now as I'm tying this -- where GMs and POBOs are going to be asking MLB to get clarity on this NOW, and not wait for spring training or labor talks.
    MLB has been telling some teams not to expect the DH in the NL in 2021. That was the word from the Dodgers. Mozeliak said he wants to know for sure, and has heard that it is still because discussed, in part because so much is unknown about the 2021 season and how it will change if the virus continues to spread at its current rate. 
    If Yadi would happen to sign with the Mets the chances of a Conforto trade would be remote wouldn’t it?
    I don't think they are related at all. That's partially because trade was remote to begin with. The Mets have a new owner. They are going to be in adding mode, not shedding mode. They might be one of the few spenders out there.
    Is Knizner considered by the team to be ready for a full-time starting job? If so, is that going to impact the negotiations with Molina?
    He is considered ready for the majors, yes. That probably means that they see him as a 100-game catcher and able to handle the pitching staff. If Molina signs elsewhere, the Cardinals will have to add an established catcher to split the position with Knizner. At least, that's the scenario in play internally for the Cardinals.
    That enters only slightly into the conversations with Molina. They want to get Knizner playing time, sure, but they also want to re-sign Molina. Ownership has said that it values legacy players, and ownership sees Molina as the legacy player of this era. They want to do what's possible to re-sign him, and have Knizner be his backup in 2021.
  • Seems cards are shopping fowler and cmart. Might have to sweeten the deal with pitching
    They have been shopping Carlos Martinez for years. That is an annual thing. Dexter Fowler has a no-trade clause, and the team, at last check, has not approached him to see if he would even accept a trade and to where he would like to go. He has the power to limit those options, and this isn't a winter with a lot of options considering how many outfielders are going to be available via free agency. Also, other teams aren't spending on their players with options, why trade for a player on someone else's team making that much?
    Derrick, Mo said the Cardinals payroll is tied to gate revenue "more than most teams." Is that accurate? Seems like more teams than not are in the same boat.
    That is accurate. That has been true as long as I've been covering the team, and several years ago -- more than decade ago, maybe -- I had a series of interviews with people on the business side about how they tie the payroll/baseball ops spending to the revenue from ticket sales, and the equation used that relied on getting at least 3.2 million in the gate, and projected for 3.4 million. The ticket sales staff was charged with generating that kind of sales to allow for the payroll the team had. Now, the $1.2-billion TV deal changed some of that formula, and did allow for an increase in spending -- which was reflected in some of the deals the Cardinals did (Fowler, Cecil, Miller, Goldschmidt come to mind), but not entirely in the spending. There was more they could do, more reach they could make as a result of the TV deal. Still, one of the reasons why the Cardinals don't have the same model as Cleveland or Pittsburgh -- two teams in similar-sized markets -- is because they radically outsell them when it comes to ticket revenue. You can look at those numbers, and draw the lines between the payrolls.
    How fast could an expansion team be established? Seems like good timing?
    Interesting question. I have heard around three years. Yeah, but maybe they could fast-track that? The stadium would be part of the question, for sure, and maybe that's how the cities get decided? It's a great question, and I can only estimate/guesstimate -- not offer a certain timetable.
    What $ figure will the Card offer Wong to resign him for 1-3 years.
    Don't know yet. Market still forming. The idea will be to get him for less AAV. What I think will be most interesting is how the Cardinals might be willing to go more years with Wong at this point than other teams. That would push back the heft of his contract and reduce the cost for 2021.
    What should we make of the Cardinals being linked to Joc Pederson?
  • That it has been reported by the Post-Dispatch as an option that the team will explore, so it's not just a link or rumor, you can tie it to a report. And that it describes how going to a matchup-oriented lineup to maximize production and alleviate spending is one creative solution at this point.
    Maybe solution is the wrong word. Approach. Whether it's a solution or not depends a) if it works, b) viewpoint, and c) hindsight. So solution is the wrong word.
    Do you think the current financial landscape of the game will widen the gap between the have and have-not teams? Big market teams will have a little more financial flexibility than small markets, correct?
    Yes. Yes, I do. Especially how the Dodgers and Mets are currently positioned.
    Derrick,
    I can see all 6 FA's with QO's taking them and waiting for a better deal next year when there is no draft pick involved and teams have a better idea of the financial situation. Reds had to be between a rock and a hard place. Took courage to make that offer.
    Entirely possible. I get the sense that it will be 50/50 as far as players accepting and players moving on from the qualifying offers. I'd suggest Bauer is likely in the camp of rejecting that qualifying offer. He may get less AAV, but he could go for more guaranteed money. Same with a few of the others. They might got that salary for 2021, but they'll make five times that much guaranteed by seeking a longer contract.
    Is it fair to expect a straight answer from ownership regarding the general balance between profits made in 2018-2019 and expected worse case losses between 2020-2021?
    Probably not. Not one that will satisfy anyone. Private business. More likely they'll speak in generalities that can be picked apart and yelled at and misread and leave more room for guessing than answers.
    DG,

    I think he most disappointing thing for me about how the Cardinals have handled their business in the past 5-6 seasons is that they have to be relevant for the city of Saint Louis. When the Rams left, that was a huge blow to the reputation of the city, and no one outside of STL knows what took place for that move to happen. Most people think that the city is a second rate metropolis. For a long time, the Cardinals organization was the bastion for small to mid market teams to thrive in a sport with no salary cap. Now it seems that they have put that on the back burner, and I honestly believe the Cardinals relevance has diminished in recent years. They may have been able to make the playoffs the past few seasons, but I think you could make the argument they have not been true contenders. We are lucky, however, to have the Blues organization that prioritizes being at the top of the league. (I understand there is a salary cap, but they spend to that cap even when they do not have to, and they are nowhere near as profitable as the Cardinals.) Do you feel like the Cardinals have slipped in their realization on how important they are to the fabric of the city?
    I do not believe they have "slipped" in that realization. They realize it. They are aware of it. They don't go a day without seeing it.
    I think they have slipped in the fan's perception of how well they've done that.
    I've written many times that they have established a brand and they should be held to those expectations, and they have not met them.
    There are many reasons for this. The lack of star power is a fair argument -- and that does follow the Albert Pujols area when he was the star of stars and they outfitted him with a lineup of fellow All-Stars. So the bar was high. And the stars that have followed are stars for longevity and performance (Wainwright, Molina) or stars for a moment (Freese), so those generate a different kind of attention.
    Another reason is the game has caught up with them. Again, this is something that I've written about often in the newspaper -- they have been caught and surpassed by teams when it comes to development, the use of analytics, and drafting, and the edge they once had has either dulled or vanished. They knew this was coming. It was the reason why Mozeliak was promoted to POBO -- so that he could spend his time finding that next edge, advancing the team in a way that it could regain ground. The Cardinals remain an elite organization when it comes to identifying and developing pitching. But they're not alone. And they're not as nimble in other areas as other teams, and now even the big-spenders have the same analytics edge, are run with the same look for "value," and same modern emphasis that Mozeliak, Luhnow, and DeWitt were part of bringing to the Cardinals earlier.
    They have been conservative when it comes to big-ticket acquisitions as well, and their reason for that has only contributed to the fans' frustration.
    One issue for the Cardinals is that the frustration you see online and on Twitter and in chats had not manifested in the stands and in ticket sales until they didn't have a sellout for a playoff game in 2019. That sent shivers through the organization. They have set out to be an annual contender and a winning team -- and have for 13 consecutive years -- but the fans' expectations, at least in the vocal quadrants, have ramped up. The Cubs' title has no doubt added to this. (The dynasty stumbled as it started.) The tone of fandom on Twitter has contributed to this. And the Cardinals need to figure out if their stated goals are the ones shared with their fans, and what fans they want to respond to -- is winning enough, or is winning a title enough, or is spending enough, or having a star player enough? What is enough.
    Because the team's approach and the fan's wishes sure seem out of joint, if this chat is any indication of both. 
  • DG,

    Do you think baseball owners are going to get a reality check as they cry poor this coming offseason? That certainly isn't going to resonate with fans. There are already indicators that the MLB is diminishing in popularity, and the offseason has become a void for activity. Do you think fans will stay away from the stadiums even when it is safe to go back? When disposable income will become tighter in the coming years, many fans may not want to give that money to owners who say they cannot afford to put a good product on the field.
    I do not. I think the reckoning will come in 2022 when a labor skirmish puts that season in jeopardy just as the country, as the world, as fans, as the culture, awakes from a COVID-19 haze and looks longingly to the normalcy baseball and other forms of entertainment can provide.
    And baseball isn't there.
    Or baseball is bickering.
    That's the reckoning for the sport, and as a fan of baseball, someone who loves the game and its history dearly, I worry.
    While I hate the Wong decision, I get it. Does this mean we're going to see Carpenter full time at 3B next season? There's lots of people who think this frees up money for a "big bat" at 3B, but I just don't see them spending at all this offseason.
    It means that if the season started today. It does not. Changes will happen. They are inevitable.
    The Yadi/Waino conversation seems to be focused on "will the Cards bring them back?" But if these two want to chase another championship, especially Yadi, do they really want to re-sign with the Cardinals, a team that is clearly in cost-cutting mode? This offense has been marginal at best for the last 2 years, not sure running out the same personnel a third time will yield different results. And for all Yadi does, he isn't putting this team on his back offensively.
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