Join Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold for his live chat, 11 a.m.

Join Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold for his live chat, 11 a.m.

Bring your Cardinals questions and comments to Monday’s 11 a.m. live chat.

    Derrick Goold is finding a better WiFi connection, and will start the chat in a few moments. Thanks for being patient!
    While you wait, check out Hochman discussing yesterday's umpire: 

    Ten Hochman: Should a bad MLB home plate ump switch to a base mid-game?

    STLtoday.comIn today’s 10 a.m. video, columnist Ben Hochman recalls the Cardinals-Yankees game from Sunday and whether the home plate umpire should’ve switched with a different ump, following numerous missed calls
    Alright. Thanks for your patience. All set and ready to chat. Greetings from Boulder, not too far from Pearl Street Mall. I used to busk here for coins to buy baseball cards. Now, I'll chat here to buy ...well, I guess, baseball cards. Prices of wax packs sure have gone up. The Cardinals are a week removed from the trade deadline, a day removed from a sweep of the Yankees. When they board their charter flight to Colorado later this afternoon they'll be riding a seven-game winning streak, and they're in first place. What a difference a week makes.
    Eager to see the tone the chat takes. You're in charge.
    Had to find a better wi-fi signal. Thanks to Hochman for stepping in for a bit. 
    Now let's get to questions.
    Luken Baker have any chance to make the team in the future ?
    A team, for sure. Cardinals would have lost him in the Rule 5 draft, possibly, had they had one this past year. He has to be protected again this fall, and it's not clear the Cardinals are going to do that. With 15 more teams looking for DHs and several of those teams rebuilding, I figure he'll get his chance in spring training with another one of the teams (Diamondbacks? Rockies? Cubs? Reds? ... those come to mind), and see if that power sticks.
    Looking at the bullpen usage before yesterday's game, it appeared the freshest relievers were McFarland and Naughton. Packy got into the game, but McFarland didn't. Hicks, who pitched the day before was used as was Helsley making it three games in four days. If McFarland wasn't going to be used yesterday with a taxed bullpen, what's his role? It's not like he's the long man they were saving for extras.
    I bet the Yankees series is different for McFarland if Rizzo is healthy. That seemed to be part of the equation. The Cardinals are clearly trying to accomplish a few different things with their bullpen churn: One, keep McFarland handy for those left matchups earlier in games and with runners on base when there's a groundball to get and a double play to turn. Two, not have Zack Thompson sit around waiting to pitch, when he has options and can remain sharp, keep that stamina up, and be their option should Cabrera falter. There is a road trip in the distance future where the Cardinals face the Padres, Dodgers, and Brewers in order -- and that sure seems like a time when the Cardinals will go with Thompson in the bullpen to counter some of those lefties in key spots before or in place of Cabrera. So, yes, some of it is roster management. Some of it is clearly positioning for the future.
    Good Morning DG, and thanks as always for the chat!

    I know we've just gotten through the trade deadline & just finished up a huge series vs NYY, but my question is looking ahead a little further. I know a lot can (and will) change before then, but I wanted to see if you had any sense of what this off season may look like for the Cards. In a lot of ways it seems like it will be pretty unique from most previous years. For the first time in a long time it appears they'll enter next season with a rotation that's not only of a decent quality, but also pretty deep. Mikolas, Matz, Flaherty, Hudson, Montgomery in its own right could be a really solid rotation, and with multiple depth guys like Pallante, Thompson, Liberatore & Woodford they should have plenty of options to piece together a competitive rotation. And all that ignores that it looks totally possible the Wainwright will return on his quest for 200 wins. The only subtraction would be Quintana. On the offensive side of things, basically everyone from one of the league's best offenses returns, sans Molina, Pujols & Dickerson (assuming that Arenado chooses to stay), with Yadi obviously being the most notable departure in terms of production.

    So really for the 1st time in a long time it seems like there isn't a ton that needs too be done to this team next year. The biggest position of concern seems to be catcher, where Andrew Knizner has failed to instill much confidence that he can be "the guy" moving forward. I know the org is high on Herrera, but he's still very young and hasn't really had the opportunity to show much at the big league level.

    So I guess I'm asking, how do you think the Cardinals might approach Free Agency this winter? Do they hang out on the fringes, staying open to the right guy in the right deal but content to stand pat if the market is too rich for their blood? Or do they take a dip in the Wilson Contreras sweepstakes with the chance to really solidify the offense next year? Or anything in between? They do have some money coming off the books, even in Wainwright opts to return, so even with arbitration raises there should be some space for upgrades.

    Appreciate your insight! Thanks again!
    Appreciate the time you put into this question, and I fear that my answer is not nearly going to meet the same level of thought. It's not entirely clear what direction the Cardinals will go in the coming winter because there are a few things that need to be clarified before their plans can be focused, detailed:
    -- What is Jack Flaherty's health, and how much do they count on him for the rotation?
    -- What is Nolan Arenado's final decision regarding his last opt-out. Maybe I'll be asked about this in the chat. It's not something to fret over today, not at all, but that doesn't change the fact that it is exists, and it will influence the Cardinals' choices.
    -- What to do with shortstop?
    -- And, yes, where do things stand at catcher?
    The catching position is very much a different depth chart today than the Cardinals hoped. That can change. The available options outside the team will shape this. The Cardinals believe Knizner will be part of the duo in 2023. How they choose that other spot will say everything about how ready they think Herrera is, and how much they expect Knizner to play. The Cardinals do want to get to more of a modern split to the role, and not have the catcher piling up innings like Peak Molina.
    A few additional thoughts on the offseason:
    -- The moment the Cardinals think they have starting depth, they don't. This is Year 2 of this lesson, and positioning VerHagen, Graceffo, maybe Liberatore, maybe Pallante (!!!) and someone else to be that 6th, 7th, starter, etc. That position is so increasingly important and it's been such a speedbump for them the past two years.
    -- A third prominent bat would change the look of this lineup for the better, so is that in RF or some other position that's in play for the Cardinals, and that brings me to ... 
    -- By exploring the Soto trade, the Cardinals have given an indication that they think the payroll in the coming years can support Goldschmidt, Arenado, and ... well, it would have been Soto in the final two years of arbitration, and those won't be cheap. 
    This is a topic we'll build whole stories and whole chats around in the coming months. But first, the 2022 calendar chugs on ... 
    Cards looking good the last week but Tyler O'Neil has not.....what is wrong with him? Batting .156 over the last 10 games with 10 strike outs with only 5 hits and 4 RBI
    He's just yet to get in rhythm this season. He started in a bit of a funk, got injured, got injured again, had a steady return toward the team, and then got hit in the hand so that it delayed his return, and also -- he got hit in the hand. He had a tear in the hand that he's playing through as it heals, and lets not ignore what all of that can do for a hitter. He's got to get his timing at the plate (tough with all the false starts) and grip strength is so key for any hitter (and that was complicated by the hand injury). The Cardinals are looking for ways to get that jolt in the lineup -- bat him second to get better pitches, bat him later to alleviate the middle-order pressure -- and they know that to be the offense they can, he's got to be a part of it. Sure seems like he would benefit from the upcoming stretch of games here: Three in Colorado, not a bad place to hit; Milwaukee series; and then eventually the road trip to Phoenix, Cubs. A long stretch of games for him to play and find that sync that's been missing.
    When Yepez comes back who’s the odd man out?
    The Cardinals want Yepez to be the right-handed hitting complement to Nootbaar in RF. So that would really limit Dickerson's playing time further than it's already been limited. Nootbaar is making the most of the opportunity and playing time here, and if that continues then he's going to play his way into that job, and likely lead to some shuffling elsewhere on the roster so that he stays in the spot. 
    Can we just pause here for a moment and acknowledge how odd it is to write/read a sentence about the Cardinals potentially having an extra left-handed bat? We're all old enough to remember when that search was unending.
    Do you have any insight into the relationship between Dakota Hudson and Marmol? From the comments made by both sides recently, it appears strained, but I understand we are only hearing a sample of what's been said.
    It's definitely a relationship of blunt honesty. That's for sure. And that's what Marmol seeks with the players. Let's trace this back to spring training, where after one of the spring games, Marmol had a blunt assessment on a prospect's outing. We asked how he felt about that being a quote, and he said, essentially, that he had not said to the media anything he had not already said to the player, verbatim. Ben Frederickson explored this in a column. And now we're seeing it play out during the season, too. Marmol has not said anything publicly that he has not said personally to Hudson -- and there is a big push to get Hudson to pick up his pace, even to where he was back in 2019 before the elbow surgery. And that is something that he and they have talked about publicly, privately, and yet there it is on the mound this past week -- perhaps his slowest pace ever. It's hard to gloss over that, talk their way around it, or ignore it when that is so public. If anything, I think it's professional to acknowledge that he sees what the fans see and that writers don't get an answer about how we can't see how hard someone is working out of sight, etc., etc.
    Is there's relationship strained? I don't get that. Are they both frustrated? I get that. Not with each other, but with the work that's been put in and the results that haven't clicked on the mound. Hudson said it best: It's been an "experimental" season for him. The time invested -- and the blunt assessments levied -- should help him in the future. The Cardinals and the right-hander would like the future to arrive soon.
    Were you surprised that the Brewers traded Hader and do you think that will be decisive in the divisional race, as some argue?
    I was not caught off guard, honestly. The Brewers saw a chance to move a player in demand, get a solid haul in return, and start to alleviate some future financial commitments. It was a two-step move. They gave their bullpen a different look with MORE options for Counsell, not the same options for him, and that could be beneficial, and they traded one of the game's top relievers at a time when relievers can command the most in return. They weren't going to get that return if they waited to trade Hader before his salary soared this offseason.
    I did not adequately account for the message it sent the clubhouse and that does appear to be something that we all should have considered.
    If the combination of adding Adames early last season via trade and the Cardinals being late to adding pitching is what won the division for the Brewers, then it is entirely possible that this season flips that equation. The Brewers trading Hader and the Cardinals adding pitching at the deadline could definitely swing the division to the Cardinals, and if that happens then this here chat will have to give credit to the Cardinals' front office in the same way it has for praising the Brewers' front office.
    Were you surprised that Stratton got the call in that situation yesterday? I assumed it would have been Hicks.
    I was not. I've come to think of Stratton this way: He's got the everyday readiness of Nick Wittgren and the metrics/data profile of Drew VerHagen. He's the pitcher the Cardinals thought they signed two right-handers to be, but in one arm, and he's going to be used accordingly. Hicks' use is going to grow into a significant high-leverage spot, perhaps as the chase reliever for a one-run, two-run deficit or tie game, and a setup reliever on the days Gallegos isn't available.
    Does Signing Willson Contreras this offseason check two of the boxes that you listed? (Catcher/3rd Bat)? Can you see the Cardinals seriously looking at that option?
    Third bat, sure. There are many teams that see him as a bona fide, DH-caliber bat for a contending team. I'm not sure the Cardinals see him as the catcher they want to turn to for 2023. But it will be a question I explore with scouts and sources to get a better feel on how they grade out his defensive ability. What a plot twist that would be for Contreras to become the heir to Molina. He has such reverence for the Cardinals catcher, even after Molina had that one stretch of casting shade on social media ...
    The biggest problem with Hudson is he just isn’t that good. Never been a fan of sinker ball pitchers in the modern era. Hudson needs pinpoint location on his sinker with no margin for error. Why were you and other P-D scribes so high on Hudson a few years ago?
    A year ago? I'm not going to run from this criticism because the chatters can bring receipts. I mentioned that he could be a playoff starter by the end of this year. That was only a few months ago. He's got a legit sinker, seriously. One that plays in the modern era, and at it's best can turn hitters of this generation upside down if they're looking to launch everything. It's that good of a pitch. What he lacked was command. Reduce the walks, and he takes off. I did not account for the cutter, which he had to pocket and rethink as a slider. So, that's happened over the course of this season.
    Why so high? Well, if he throws strikes -- and that was the hurdle he had to clear -- and is in more command of his pitch, he's got a sinker that he can tinker with like Brandon Webb used to do for Arizona, and then he's pitching with an elite defense behind him. That's a strong combination. That's a combination for a lot of quality starts, a lot of success.
    That's why. 
    But it's contingent on doing what peers and coaches have said: He's got to walk fewer batters. He's got to be able to challenge constantly with that sinker. The feel has to be there.
    Is Carlson a better CF than a RF? Jordan Walker in RF would really complete this team!
    That is how the future could line up, yes. Not this season, but ... 2023? Walker is on the way. Carlson has been strong in CF. He's not Bader, and there are moments where the range is a reminder of that. But there is going to be a time in the near future where teams stop trying to take an extra base on Carlson. They've got to learn some time, right? Right?
    Thoughts on Waino starting the 5th inning at over 100 pitches? Felt like we were jeopardizing a win by trying to get him one more inning for a moral/actual victory
    That was part of the goal, yep. We can debate if Wainwright has earned it. But you'd also have to include the times that Albert Pujols has gotten an at-bat against a right-hander or a starter against Boston. Or, heck, four consecutive starts for Yadier Molina. Why did he start Saturday night's game? He wanted to catch Montgomery. But did that make sense when he was definitely going to catch Wainwright the next day? And, yet, that decision, won the Cardinals that 1-0 game. 
    It should be clear by now that Marmol is going to be data driven when the data is overwhelming, but he's not going to ignore the gut, the moment, the history, or the message. We saw that with DeJong getting the key at-bat when the data said, nope, go with Donovan. Marmol decided he could not pull that from DeJong and still call DeJong the everyday shortstop; how would that play?
    Same here.
    And I've written as such before -- thinking back to a certain Rangers game at Busch -- there is the ace of the team, and the ace gets to throw the pitches that decide his game, and that sends a message to the rotation and dugout as well.
    You'll notice when Marmol did lift Wainwright.
    It was the exact moment that he could no longer lose the game.
    That's telling, too.
    The Bader/Montgomery trade was surprising to me. Not only did I not see Bader as a trade target from the Cards perspective due to his defensive capabilities, but from the Yanks perspective due to his plantar fasciitis, which can be career-threatening. Were you surprised by the trade, and do you think the Yankees will regret trading away a pretty darned effective pitcher?
    Everybody was surprised by this trade. The NY writers who cover the Yankees on a daily basis were surprised by it. It wasn't in the air for local coverage or national coverage. The Cardinals were shocked by it, and then jumped at the chance. Montgomery was shocked by it. Bader was shocked by it. And on and on and on and on and on and on. Even this past weekend, both sides of the ballpark expressed ongoing surprise about the trade, especially as the Yankees prepped to face Montgomery and had to process that, no, he wasn't making the start for them. They had just come to expect him to be a calming presence for them.
    There is an element of October and 2023 to this move. The Yankees were thinking that they need better defense in CF and want to avoid the injury risk to Judge by playing there. Bader does that, eventually. And then there's the next year, where if they have Stanton and Judge in the corners, there is a wide open space for a great glove like Bader. Montgomery as not going to be part of the postseason rotation, not with the addition of Montas, or so the Yankees calculated.
    The question they now face is how much they'll miss that fourth starter type in August.
    Do you believe the shoddy umpiring that occurred all weekend (and coinciding with calls happening in MIN-TOR yesterday) might sway MLB and organizations to push for a system that adopts automated strike zones, or some sort of machine intervention? These games are too important this time of year, and a strong umpiring union shouldn’t be a reason to take this slow.
    The toothpaste is already out of the tube on this. This weekend isn't going to sway or accelerate what is already underway. MLB has been experimenting with Automated Balls and Strikes in the minors. (It even has a shorthand in the industry! ABS!) And that is working its way to the majors. It's coming as quickly as the tech and the rules governing ABS are coming together. They're not going to rush it because of a weekend. They're way ahead of this past weekend.
    Is Yadi's health the main obstacle to him and Wainwright setting the battery record? What does Burleson need to do to get called up to the main club, or is that not going to happen so they don't have to put him on the 40-man roster? Will he need to be protected from the Rule 5 this fall?
    They have time to set the battery record, barring injury to either player. They will have starts to spare, honestly. All is well on that front, as the schedule currently unfolds.
    Get a spot on the 40-man roster, really. That's all. Also, assure playing time. Is he going to start ahead of Nootbaar? That's the question. If the answer is yes then he would be here. The team's answer is not yes, clearly.
    (Burleson does not need to be protected on the 40-man roster this winter, so any move to put him on there now is one that keeps a player off the 40-man roster this winter. Keep that in mind. Would you leave Paniagua unprotected at the expense of Burleson sitting on the bench in the majors? Would your answer be different if Burleson was the starter?)
    Do you think the other three umpires should have convinced Ed Hickox to hit the A/C after taking that foul tip off the mask? He was clearly struggling in the heat throughout the game (look at how gassed he looked when Boone was trying to argue with him after getting tossed) and the product on the field suffered because of it. A three-man ump crew is not ideal, but it might have been preferable to a home plate ump that's completely out of it.
    Isn’t Hudson’s main issue is just regaining his feel after TJ? It usually takes 2 years before a pitcher feels completely back to normal.
    Absolutely. Hence, investment now is success later, they hope. It didn't help that he also was fiddling with arm slot and pitch choice and on and on and on. That's all part of it, but the root of it is this: Hudson was a pitcher who needed to improve his command to reach his potential, and he's coming back from an injury that makes it tricky to regain feel for command.
    Gordo indicated Mo "did him a solid" by trading Bader to the Yankees, his hometown team. First Piscotty (not a hometown team, but a team near family in distress), now Bader. Does this enhance Mo's/Girsch's ability to sign free agents due to seemingly taking into account the desires of players if they are traded?
    No more so than the reputation of the Cardinals already has put them in that position. It may not be clear, but it should be: The Cardinals' reputation for free agents and players is strong, with agents and other teams and the players themselves, and it is not reflected by what you read on Twitter, for example. It's the rare player that does not want to play for the Cardinals, and most of that has to do with geography, honestly, or the perception of the size of the market (Madison Ave. vs. Market Street).
    Nolan Arenado's quest to be a Cardinal should have shown this.
    The Cardinals traded Bader to get a solid pitcher in return. The fact that Bader got to go back to the Bronx, near where he grew up, was a benefit for him, but it's one that -- please note -- he did not seek.
    Get this: Bader really enjoyed being a Cardinal. 
    Will Burleson ever get called up? Still tearing it up in the minors.
    He will. Roster considerations are real. But the trade for Bader did clear an avenue for him to the majors -- and a place. That's part of the conversation. As detailed below it's not a straight move, though. He does have to play. Is he going to start ahead of Nootbaar? Is he going to start ahead of Carlson in center, O'Neill in left, or ...the designated hitter du jour? Who are you sending down (Donovan? Yepez?) and where are the at-bats coming?
    John Mozeliak’s inability to land Soto wreaks of incompetence and cowardice. I’ll be opting out at the end of this season and looking for a team dedicated to winning.
    Well, if this is really you -- and I, for the record, don't think it is -- am impressed with the brave face you put on all weekend. Looked like you were having the best time ever on a baseball field. And then afterward raved about the packed house and playoff feel and said it was all the things you sought in a baseball home.
    I am a bit confused by the use of Helsley. He is a lights out pitcher, but in the playoffs it should not read by his name, “not available.” Can he be used for an inning 2 days in a row? It seems like Marmol alternates days with him, which does not work in a playoff scenario.
    It won't read that by his name in the playoffs. There are two majors reasons for this.
    -- One, the use now is designed to assure use later, not wear him out now and have the annual changing of the closer in September due to exhaustion or lack of performance.
    -- Two, days off in the playoffs are build in there so it allows for the bullpen to reset quicker day to day. The schedule, like the importance of games, is different in October.
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