Jeff Gordon Live

Jeff Gordon Live

Columnist Jeff Gordon takes your Cardinals, Blues, Mizzou, SLU and STL sports questions in his weekly chat beginning at 1 p.m. Friday.




    Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?
    Gordo Which will happen first—Robby Fabri gets a start or Dexter Fowler gets a hit ?
    Fabbri gets a start. For one reason or another, Craig Berube will have to fill a need up front. The Blues aren't thrilled to see Fabbri to become the new Nate Prosser, sitting out game after game, but there has been no need to change up the forward lines for some time now.
    The top line is playing well, what happens when DP57 comes back?
    When Peron comes back does Thomas move up to center second line with Schwartz and Peron ?
    If the top line keeps playing this way, there will be no reason to change that group once Perron returns. Thanks to O'Reilly's work, this line has the ability to match up against other top lines in the No. 1 vs. No. 1 matchup that coaches like these days. Perron's return could help the Blues create a second strong scoring line with, say, Schwartz and Bozak. As for Thomas, Berube likes him where he is. Not only does Robert make the fourth line dangerous, he has stepped up to make the power play more effective as well. So he is getting offensive opportunities despite his smaller role 5 on 5. I will keep calling for Thomas to play in the Top 9, but it's tough to argue with the Chief on this point with the team in the midst of an eight-game winning streak.
    Maybe it was being burned by guys like Paajarvi or Jaskin in the past, but I figured Sundqvist was just another cast off after being dumped by the Pens but he's been impressive this season. How do you rank his play in terms of surprises for the Note this season and what do you think his role could be going forward?
    Sunny is a huge surprise. I, too, wrote him off. I had him on the list of placeholder forwards who held the Blues back last season. He has proven he can be an outstanding No. 4 center and a potentially solid No. 3 going forward. The Blues liked his defensive work last season in his limited use, but the team has been pleasantly surprised to see his offensive side develop. He is skating better this season, perhaps due to greater confidence. He makes play after play that prove he has a nice feel for the game. He survived some crushing hits to play on this season and he does his share of dirty work along the walls and in front of the net. Armstrong found a keeper.
    Tell me if I am wrong here. My take away from Hochman’s article yesterday was that Mo is concerned that signing one of the best players in the game (Harper) could risk blocking two totally unproven players (O’Neill and Bader), correct? We aren’t talking Nelson Cruz and Tavares 2.0. Amazing that they have missed the playoffs 3 straight years.
  • The obstacle with signing Harper, for the one millionth time, is that Bill DeWitt Jr. is not a fan of 10-year, $300 million contracts. For half the years and half the dollars, maybe he would look at that if the team had an immediate outfield need. Goldschmidt will get offered real money on an extension and Ozuna could get a nine-digit offer, too, if all goes well for him this season, Also, the team OWES DEXTER FOWLER $50 MILLION. That is real money. So Fowler plays right field until he proves he can't. Harrison Bader will play center field. If he fails, then perhaps O'Neill will play center field. Harper can't play there and Fowler can't play there. Center field is unblocked. If O'Neill doesn't dislodge Bader and if Fowler hits even halfway decently, O'Neill could be back in Memphis this season.
    I agree with those who’d like to see Schwartz-Thomas-Perron as the second line. How would Steen handle a drop to the 4th line, which is where many think his play belongs?
    Steen is getting paid. He is going to see some power play time and he will get penalty killing duty for sure. If he ends up on the fourth line, it's not like he is going to vanish. Thomas is on the fourth line and he is plenty noticeable. Going forward, Steen will have to earn reps on the top three lines because Thomas is going to be special, Sundqvist is making a strong case for the Top 9 and Kyrou will play in the Top 9 as well.
    Jeff, what's your opinion on the current NHL playoff format vs the old one (seeded 1-8)? While I agree you tend to get more interesting matchups, some of the better talent is also bounced early.
    I like the 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7 conference bracket because it prevents the potential for a second-round showdown between two of the league's elite teams. In some seasons the top two records in the whole league could come out of the same division. I get that the current division-based set-up creates more rivalry matchups and less challenging travel, but at what cost?
    Happy Friday Commissioner Gordon.

    The line between success and failure must be razor thin in the NHL. Our boys went from being a smoking hot mess to all impersonating Mark Messier. From what I can determine it’s a combination of: A steady goalie they know will bail them out when turnovers happen, B. Each guy having confidence and fun, and C. a coach who won’t let anyone take a night off. The difference in the Blues from the game with the Coyotes in late 2018 and last night is shocking. In Tampa last week they looked like cup contenders. Your take? Am I being too optimistic?
    The Blues have enough talent to contend for the Cup. I have argued all along that this team should be winning with the guys they have. Yes, steadier goaltending helped the team regroup. Credit Craig Berube for getting the guys to play harder. He simplified their tactics and, more importantly, got them to play together. Once the team started winning, guys got more confident. More guys played well. More guys started smiling. Fewer guys stayed frustrated. Collectively, the group to better and better. As we always say, the teams that go somewhere in the playoffs are the teams that keep getting better and better. You can't talk about getting better, you have to find a way to improve and then build and build and build off that. When it happens, there is almost a mystical quality to it. Hockey is a fast, emotional sport and it's amazing how an entire team can transform into something better. Conversely, when it goes bad, a decent team like Anaheim can collapse and lose 19 of 21.
    Gordo,
    Any chance the Tiger BB team can add another 'big' besides the kid already on board for 19/20 year? Glaring need for upfront help. Nikko is a good support player, but that is it. JUCO options?
    Talk to me.
    Fans are clamoring for a grad transfer power forward. That would be a great use of Jontay Porter's scholarship, but finding Kassius Robertson-level impact at that position will be difficult. A JUCO banger to play at 4 sport would be nice, if that guy arrived ready to work. Tray Jackson will get all the work he can handle next year as a freshman. Cuonzo Martin proved his season that he will play the kids if they can contribute. BenFred notes that Parker Braun is drawing notice for his practice work during his redshirt year. He is an athletic, energetic guy who needs bulk. What will he look like after a full summer in the weight room and playing hoops with the group? He missed out on that summer work last year as a late arrival. Of the incumbents, Mitchell Smith still holds some intrigue. He has shown some life lately. Alas, K.J. Santos may never be the player they hoped for due to his nagging foot problems. He lost months of work due to his injury and right now he looks totally out of his element in the SEC.
    Jeff, doesn't Mizzou bb need to really acquire front court help for next year, they appear to be extremely back court heavy?
  • Again, Tray Jackson was a huge get. He could start at the power forward slot if he responds to the challenge. And Braun turned down power conference scholarships to come here as a walk-on. With a year of practice and full summer of work, he should factor in. And there is a good chance the Tigers sign another big guy of some description, since Dru Smith and Mario McKinney will join a backcourt that loses only Jordan Geist.
    if there was a coaches royal rumble, the chief has got to be the favorite, right? i mean, there's some younger guys out there, and rod the bod looks like he'd have a chance, but do any of those other guys have over 1,000 pims?
    Berube has plenty of size and experience. The Chief still has an aura, too, which comes in handy for his one-on-one chats with his players. But Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet would be a handful if all hell broke lose one night. And although he isn't a fighter, Rod "The Bod" Brind'Amour of the Hurricanes is in ridiculous shape for a coach. You'd have to catch him early, in a fight, because he could wear down once the wrestling started.
    Jeff - Does the fact that all signs point to the DH sooner than later impact how the Cardinals view Martinez? What about other prospects that are dangerous hitters and suspect fielders?
    How much sooner? If MLB and the Players Association got together early and magically struck a new deal that included changes (and a DH) for 2020, then maybe that could impact Martinez here. If it comes later, then that has Matt Carpenter written all over it.
    The 4th Line may be clicking and be as big a part (if not the biggest part) of the Blues' resurgence as Binnington's and Vladi's play but seems that they have to find a way to move Thomas up as his potential (especially with some more skilled linemates) is enormous. Thoughts?
    I am all in on Thomas. The kid makes things happen. He is living up to the hype. But things are going great now. Maroon, who seemed doomed to exit for a draft pick by the trade deadline, has helped lead the way as well. The oft-maligned Bozak is producing. Schwartz is coming to life offensively. In time, injuries and other issues will create opportunities for Thomas to move up. But given his role on the power play, it's not like his talent is going to waste.
    The other day I heard that the Cards might still have some interest in Mike Moustakas to play 3rd with Carpenter moving to 2nd. This would definitely provide the left-handed thump the Cards were said to be looking for. Any truth to this or has that ship sailed?
  • Carpenter is horrendous at second base, His arm is no liability there, but he has no range. So any talk of adding Moustakas and subtracting Kolten Wong from the lineup doesn't make sense. Given that John Mozeliak has stated again and again and again that he is NOT MAKING ANY MORE MOVES, such speculation surprises me.
    Gordo - it wasn’t as much about Harper per se, but more about this team annually over-valuing their internal options and/or projecting career performances or total turnarounds as a means of building a competitive roster.
    Sometimes a player evaluation is impacted by his contract. In the case of Dexter Fowler, HE IS OWED ALMOST $50 MILLION. Are the Cardinals overvaluing his potential contribution. Sure, but because HE IS OWED ALMOST $50 MILLION that's going to happen. Other than that, I don't see any overvaluing. They are not counting on Tyler O'Neill at all this season. Accomplished hitters like Jose Martinez and Jedd Gyorko currently have bench roles. Veteran relievers Luke Gregerson and Brett Cecil will get another look because of their contract, but the Cardinals might have 20 or 22 legitimate options for 12 pitching jobs.
    Jeff -- What no "Fire Armstrong" or "Blow it Up" comments lately? I get why people were upset at the time. So was I. But that's why you don't make rash decisions when things aren't going well. I'm glad Tom Stillman didn't do that. (Blowing it up also would have cost him and his partners millions of dollars.) Granted, there is still plenty of work to do, but I could see this team being a No. 4 or No. 5 seed in the West, which is about where I pictured it at the start of the season. Thoughts?
    Fans were demanding the team trade Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko. While I was open to big changes given the team's collective failure, I always noted that these guys have enormous value and trading them would have to fetch huge returns. Such huge offers never came and now the Blues are finally playing like the team it should have been all season.
    Let me ask you what I asked Tom Timmerman a couple of weeks back -- Did you or anyone else back in training camp see this in Binnington? It sounds like even Blues management is pretty stunned. I love the fact he's kind of a flat-liner and doesn't get too high or too low. Looks like he's pretty tough mentally. Great story.
    Binnington proved a lot of people wrong. Ville Husso was supposed to be the Next New Thing in goal. But he got hurt, Binnington seized his opportunity and all he has done is play well. After all those years in the minors, it's amazing he could keep such an even keel when his big chance finally came.
    Yes, look at the roll those Charleston Chiefs went on!
    Good afternoon Jeff,
    I’ll start off by saying I’m a huge Cardinal fan. As a fan sometimes I tend to see things one sided. I love your columns and value your baseball knowledge. So I would like your help understanding who is responsible for the way free agency is heading. Is it ownership, trying to keep cost down or is it players and agents asking for too much. (Or a bit of both)?
    I would also like to know by today’s numbers, what would be considered as average for an everyday player. I have always thought that a .250 batting was average. Thank you.
  • As for what is an "average" player, I would go to Baseball Reference.com and look at the Wins Above Replacement rating for all the Cardinals. A replacement-level player would be a 0 WAR, which would I suppose be a good definition of average. That factors in far more than batting average for a hitter. On-base percentage is a huge factor, along with slugging percentage and the all-important on-base plus slugging percentage. And there are lots and lots of fancy stats beyond that. Tommy Pham was a 0.8 WAR last season until the Cardinals traded him. He was hitting .248 with a .331 on-base percentage, a .399 slugging percentage and a .730 OPS. So he was average.
    On free agency, two big things: Players are getting to free agency too late, in general, and owners are far less willing to give guaranteed money to players deep into the 30s. The owners have gotten smarter at a time when revenues are soaring. So under the current system, the players are not getting their fare share of the revenue. The next CBA will have to make sure they get paid more money earlier in their career.
    Now that we've got collusion replacing the FA market in baseball, what should Mo offer Goldschmidt? If a couple of superstars in their mid 20s can't get a decent offer, I'm guessing the owners have a 32 year old first baseman already slotted at 2 years/$20 million total.
    There is no collusion among owners, just shared awareness that players in their 30s decline. Owners are willing to pay one or two years into a player's twilight, but not four or five years. I'm guessing Goldschmidt could get four additional years in St. Louis with an easy-to-gain fifth year, based on performance triggers. Or maybe it's three more years with two easily obtained years tacked on. The chilly free agency market helps the Cardinals' case, as does the threat of a strike.
    Three weeks ago , some of the assistant captains as well as the captain were considered trade bait , now we worry who we will have to sit in the press box if we make an addition to the lineup or how it changes the “chemistry “ . I can’t wait for Boom Boom and Perron to get back on the ice, ..... but............
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