Join Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold for his live chat at 10 a.m. Monday

Join Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold for his live chat at 10 a.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to Monday’s 10 a.m. live chat.

    -- Not as much as you think/hope.
    -- I have no idea. And neither do they, not in August.
    -- I don't know how many new players. It's also not unusual for a team to have as many as 12-15 new players maybe more, but not all of them are headline acquisitions.
    -- I cannot because it's just too early and too many unknowns and there may be a work stoppage anyway so the answer might be zero because there won't be a spring training for these news players to report to in February.
    Sorry for contributing to your case of the Mondays.
    I’m curious about what’s been ailing Paul DeJong. He’s had basically the same stance, same swing and same results for the breath of his career with the Cards. Hasn’t someone suggested (strongly) that he alter his mechanics to get better results. Or is it just time to move on?
    I'm not sure I agree with the premise here. I don't think he's maintained the same swing, candidly. It sure seems like he's been searching for the way to improve upon the swing he brought to the majors and adjust to what he was seeing from pitchers and that hasn't captured lightning. I also think we saw him try to deal with the length of season and the fatigue and the bad habits/sagging habits that introduced to his offensive game just so he could provide every day and every inning defensively. Back in 2019, he played more innings at shortstop than any other shortstop in the majors. Seriously. That had ramifications and he tried to adjust for 2020 so that he could be ready to handle that kind of workload -- and then got COVID-19 on his birthday. 
    There will be much more on DeJong in Tuesday's paper, and I urge you to take a look at that story either in the Post-Dispatch or online here at StlToday. It will offer you a look into what he's trying to do.
    For so long he's been exactly the kind of hitter that Budaska helped unlock -- Craig, Freese, etc. -- and he's been looking for that same success in an age when hitters are taking different approaches.
  • Has Arenado been what you thought he would be? Or has he somewhat underwhelmed you?

    I'm on the fence....Admitttedly I have been a little underwhelmed by Goldy and kind of feel the same about Arenado, but not quite to the extent of Goldy.

    I guess I was thinking we were getting Pujols-type players who would carry the offense on their backs. (And I realize Pujols was a once in a generation type player, but I thought they'd still perform better than they have.)

    You said it yourself. Pujols was a once in generation player. It's unfair to suggest that a player coming in is the next Pujols because there isn't another Pujols. Same will be true if fans start to wonder when Ivan Herrera will be Yadier Molina. He won't. That's not fair to expect. 
    Arenado, one of the best all-around players in the game and for years the player I suggested was the best all-around player in the NL (pre-Acuna, pre-Tatis, etc.), has not been the offensive force intended. He has acknowledged that. He hasn't been consistent at the plate. He has found ways to get RBIs, and he is likely to be the Cardinals' first 100-RBI hitter in a long, long time. That said, he has been as advertised when it comes to influencing games in many ways: He's defensively as good as any player at any position in baseball. He's stolen games for the Cardinals with his glove, and made it look routine. 
    There's a great parallel there between Arenado and Goldschmidt. Arenado has changed games defensively and searched for that offensive consistency. Goldschmidt's arrival erased 20 errors at first base for the Cardinals and turned them into the best defensive team in the NL. Just like that. But his offense took awhile to warm. What do they share? Well, start with the ballpark -- they went from hitter friendly ballparks to Busch. That cannot be ignored as a factor here.
    Derrick: You said that the "innings are falling!" and I'm concerned about how hard they are falling on Giovanny Gallegoes (50 games/57.1 innings) and Alex Reyes (49 games/50.2 innings) Shildt seems to run the bullpen like Matheny did: largely using the few he can trust until their arms fall off. With the postseason apparently out of reach, would you agree that it's time to use other pitchers, come what may? Andrew Miller is getting paid $12 million. Let's use him regardless of the outcome. I'm concerned that the coaching staff is desperate to win, and we'll end up paying for it next year in injuries.
    I appreciate you pointing out how much I beat on the innings drum. I worry about the hearing in Ben Frederickson's left ear because he has to hear it so much from me at the ballpark.
    That said, I don't see the comparison here. Alex Reyes is actually lagging behind the planned innings for him. And I think Gallegos could be used more often. He went almost a week throwing about 30 pitches. That was because, you know, the Cardinals weren't winning. One of the running themes this season has been Shildt explaining why he doesn't use these pitchers every day, and it actually has caused some of the more prickly Zoom moments -- as much as Zoom can get prickly. Earlier this season, the Cardinals were struggling to run down teams when they were behind or tied. They made the game worse before they could rally. That's not all the fault of the offense. As I tried to point out at the time, that has to do with the "chase" relievers -- that is the member of the bullpen asked to keep the game close so that the offense can rally and "chase" down a lead. Ryan Helsley has emerged as that kind of "chase" reliever. I asked Shildt why they didn't go to Gallegos when they had a one-run deficit at a ballpark when one run could be a swing away, and he stressed that he didn't want to use Gallegos every day, every night, and so on, and that he had to have other relievers emerge to do that job or "we're going to burn these pitchers out." He was resolute -- and his actions backed those words.
    As an example: 40 percent of Gallegos' appearances have come with two days of rest or more. 
    That's indicative of the record -- a .500 team doesn't have as many games to hold as a winning team, after all -- but also the fact that he's not all that often used in losses. I count seven times that he's been used when the Cardinals are trailing.
    So, I don't necessarily buy the argument that you've presented here that Shildt is using the relievers with such reckless abandon or even that it's the same as the previous manager. I've been struck by the number of times it's not the same, that there isn't a Maness/Bowman in the group. Now, churn has helped. And Garcia or McFarland -- as chase relievers -- could quickly add up the uses in that same way. So we'll see.
    Andrew Miller has pitched well enough to appear more often and in higher-leverage spots.
    It think it's callous to suggest that some reliever be used and disposed of.
    Do you think Arenado is regretting his move to STL? The Rockies aren't that far behind Cards in the overall standings (a few games?)....Or do you suspect he was told this is a transition year for the team and to expect a big offseason this winter for a run at 2022? Any insight into this?
    My hope is that the coverage this year has offered ongoing, rolling insight into this topic. That has been the goal. At the very least I've explored this in previous chats.
    Nolan Arenado has told people close to him, privately and on his own, what he has also maintained publicly -- that he is enjoying being a Cardinal, that he has found a home playing in St. Louis, and that he has been pleased with the move. "He loves it there, like really loves it," a friend of his recently told me as we talked. The friend offered that without me asking. 
    First, Arenado has been around the game long enough to know that a team losing two of its top three starters is going to struggle. Now, if he's frustrated the Cardinals did not address that need with known quantities, he's kept that to himself. It would be a fair criticism for him to have, after all, we've had it all along. Second, he's aware of his own performance. 
    Third, it should be clear by now that he was not basing what he considers a "winning" team based entirely on the standings. What do I mean by that? Well, think back to something he said in a profile I wrote about a month ago. He talked about how getting the playoffs with the Rockies really opened his eyes to what it means to win, and he said that if he didn't get to the playoffs those two years then he probably wouldn't be a Cardinal because he wouldn't have known, wouldn't have chased something better. That something better is knowing a team doesn't want to cycle in and cycle out of the playoffs, that it expects to get there every year, and that it expects to advance. 
    I don't suspect he was told this was a transition year. No one was.
    Everyone going in -- fans, players, media, ownership, front office, manager -- was aware that it could be a year where the lost revenue of 2020 and growth of some young players contributed to the results on the field. No one expected Flaherty to miss two months because he ripped an oblique at the plate at Dodger Stadium. That's something that players recognize, too.

    Which is more likely? The Cards catch the Brewers? Or the Pirates catch the Cubs?
    Trick question. Neither is likely. I am interested to see how far ahead the Rockies finish than the Cubs ...
    Any chance at all Cardinals bring me back next year?
  • Sure. Always a chance. It will be on a different contract, and it may be the kind of deal that comes with an NRI to open up a spot on the 40-man roster until the 60-day IL is available in spring training. That's just the reality of how contracts will be used this winter.
  • Any good leadoff men that could fill a hole for Cardinals this offseason?
    Could Carlos Corerra or Cory Seager be leadoff hitters?
    Sure. Either could be. Have OBP will lead off. Correa seems like a pricey addition, though.
    Good morning Derrick. Other than the Arenado deal, do you think there's a connection to the lack of any substantial player moves by the Cardinals this year and the CBA expiring Dec 1? Due to MLB ownership claims of lost revenues in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, there's a pretty good chance negotiations for a new agreement could drag on for quite awhile.
    Absolutely. Yes. For sure. A thousand times over.
    Derrick, at what point (if at all) do you think the cardinals management will finally concede this race is over and start preparing for next season? Also, are you concerned that next years starting 9 will look just like this and risk the same resulting poor offense output?
    1) Probably never, publicly. Though you'll see a change in tone around the club after the Brewers series if the next 10 days don't go well.
    2) I am not concerned about that. That's the Cardinals' problem. They should fix it if they intend to be a contender for 2022, and their fans should demand it.
    I don't see DeWitt firing anyone in the front office, but as you and BenFred discussed on the podcast this week, it sure seems like they'd benefit from adding someone to provide some fresh thinking. Is that at all likely to happen? What sort of role would that end up being?
  • Thank you for listening to the podcast. This is something that will be discussed, and it's a role that could be as easy as adding a special assistant to the GM or POBO -- the jobs that were eliminated during the pandemic. They could restore those. They're also going to discuss adding a former player to the group of hitting coaches. I don't have the names of people who would be considered for that just yet, but it wasn't too long ago the Cardinals were grooming Ryan Ludwick for a larger role in the organization. He, too, was part of the layoff/staff reductions during 2020, and I'm not sure if he has interest in the daily grind of joining the coaching staff. But it will be someone like that discussed. Having that voice is something the Cardinals think might help moving forward.
  • Is it fair to characterize the additions of Happ and Lester as dumpster dives?
    I don't use that phrase, no. It's cliche. The Cardinals made the moves that were easiest to make at the least cost wanting only the minimum production in return. That's all.
    When they play in an American League city, this team normally wants to rest it’s veterans in the DH spot and put a utility infielder in the lineup and the field to replace them. If the NL gets the DH next year, do you expect them to continue that philosophy or to get a big bopper who can’t play in the field?
    Yes, that's my point. They can go with the bat and then use that player around the field to also rest veterans. They can do both! It is possible. Consider for a moment how valuable Kris Bryant will be as a free agent in the coming winter. He can play LF, RF, 1B, 3B, and maybe even some 2B, and also be a middle-order force at DH. Oh, and he's handled CF, too.
    Imagine him on the Dodgers where he's the DH once a week, but also 3B so Turner is the DH, and also first base or CF or RF so Betts or Muncy or Bellinger are DH. 
    That is how contending NL teams will use that spot. They'll beef up the lineup and utilize versatility as much as possible.
    No offense, but your answer sounds like a perfect definition the term dumpster dive, even if you don't use the term.
    That's why I don't have to use the term. I have other words to do it.
    So is Lester at, or below that minimum production?
    He struggled with the Nationals this year. He's pitched like that so far for the Cardinals, too. Did you expect the laundry to change the results?
    Flaherty is a good pitcher, sometimes elite. But I find it strange that his injury derailed the entire season based on other teams losing key players. What does that tell you about this roster composition and how it needs to be changed going forward?
  • It tells me what I tried to tell you and others in chat since February -- it's not about losing the best pitcher, it's about asking the fifth starter to pitch like the fourth and the pitcher who then tags in for the fifth spot. If that pitcher can only go two, three innings then it exposes the bullpen and losses cascade. Look back at what happened with Flaherty was injured.
    He was out, and the bullpen had to rush to cover those innings.
    The next night? Martinez had a historically awful first inning. Bullpen had to rush in to handle those innings too.
    The Cardinals survived LA, sort of, and then were swept by the Reds.
    That is all the example you need about the cascade effect of losing guaranteed innings from a superb starter and not getting even the quality start or five innings from the next guy. The Cardinals were left scrambling from there and didn't have a Gomber to tag in to help because they didn't replace Gomber with a free agent the multiple times they had that chance. Not until LeBlanc was signed -- and brought some stability. That's not LeBlanc replacing Flaherty. They didn't need a Cy Young contender. They needed a LeBlanc to be the fifth starter and provide consistency. That was it. And it happened four weeks too late.
    Asked earlier? Regardless of IF: When does Nolan have to decline or invoke this years opt out?
    Within a few days of the end of the World Series. It operates like an option year.
    Do the Cards currently have the oldest starting pitching rotation in MLB history?
    I don't think so, no. Kim is 33. So that lowers the average age quite a bit.
    Humbly, the cardinals are the worst team in baseball that are “tanking” supposedly. They are a tough team to watch, - and no one in the lineup scares anyone. The pitching against bases loaded stat is unreal. They aren’t even pitching around arenado. At least the Cubs were honest with themselves and received assets. Their rebuild will be faster unfortunately.
    The problem is the Cardinals aren't tanking. Look at the age/salaries of core players.
    Went to the game yesterday and my family and I nearly sat by ourselves. I received a survey today and one of the questions did ask if team performance would play into my decision to buy tickets again. It seems like the emptiness of the stadium would be enough to connect the dots as to what team performance is doing to their ticket sales.
    At least they're asking. It is their job to find out.
  • What do you think the chances are for the DH becoming a reality for the NL in 2022? better than 50% higher? lower?
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