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

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

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

    Greetings from Week 1 of Baseball's Cold Shoulder Winter. The talks may have stalled and stopped, but the weekly chat goes on here at StlToday.com. You have questions, and I'll do my best to answer them. This is a good chance for us to dig into the labor stuff, too. Maybe dispel some misconceptions, maybe add some background -- do my best to offer some facts for you to drape some opinions. 
    As always this chat will go where you take it, so let's see where we go ...
    Onward.
    MLBPA wants to reduce arb years and get to FA a year earlier. This would increase the number of FA's. Marvin Miller was concerned about that an abundant supply would decrease demand. This could actually benefit the small market teams in the long run. More low hanging fruit! It couldn't be worse than what we have now.
    It's interesting that you bring this up because I had this conversation just recently with several people -- and the union is hyper-aware of NOT doing that. And the reason why is because they know the argument that Marvin Miller made, believe it, and want to honor him by not making this misstep. You're right. Opening up the free agent market too far would dilute it, and possibly have the opposite effect of what the union is seeking. That's why it's not as simple as they want earlier access to free agency. They want that in concert with other moves that do limit the number of players hitting the market at the same time. That's why age has come up. I wondered about the restricted free agency that other leagues have. The union DOES NOT want to flood the market with free agency. They want to correct some of the "loopholes" that have helped to suppress the salaries of young players -- and squeeze the middle-class of free agents out of the game.
    Do you believe a NL DH is a sure bet?
    Yes. I've been trying to warn people in this chat for nearly eight years or so. The DH is coming. The DH is coming. The moment MLB went to 15/15 for the breakdown of leagues and assured perpetual interleague play, that was the gateway to the universal DH. We could see it coming. Here it is. The owners have already taken the step to propose it to the players.
    Cards should look into Seiya Suzuki. Could be a 4th outfielder and DH if/when it comes.
    I don't get the sense he would be keen on that setup, honestly. That's the feel I got at the GM Meetings, back when teams were discussing such things.
    Will you be allowed to use players' names during the chat? Asking for a friend!
    Yes. I will be able to talk about the Cardinals third baseman, the Cardinals' veteran battery, and the Cardinals defensively reliable outfielders, in addition to the Cardinals new lefthanded starter.
    Were you surprised by the Stroman contract? That seems like the kind of deal the Cardinals would have loved to have made. Did he just really want to go to Chicago? Thanks.
    I was not surprised by the AAV. As I reported on the Cardinals search for a starter it became clear that they saw the market this way:
    -- Matz could sign a contract worth about what Scherzer would make in one year.
    -- Stroman would make at least twice what Matz did per season, length uncertain.
    And that played out. Matz signed for four-years, 44-million. Scherzer's one year is $43.3 million, and Stroman got that $25m, which is a solid stretch more than twice the $11m/per for Matz. The question became for the Cardinals the same one teams choose to ask all the time: Where's the better value, the better return on investment. Is Stroman twice the pitcher Matz is for that price? Will you get four times the production from Scherzer? I think you could definitely debate the answers to these questions -- especially expanding it beyond the statistical production. Stroman seemed like such an obvious fit, and that was the case on both sides. It sure seems like once some suitors for Stroman signed other starters, his ask had to change -- and that's why you see the opt-outs and all of that.
    I am intrigued by this: Did the Cubs sign Stroman to eventually trade him? That's the thinking with Miley, right? They took on his $10m salary, plucked him off waivers, hope he pitches well, and then can flip him for prospects at the deadline to goose their apparent rebuild. Or, does Stroman signal some change in plan for the Cubs. We'll see on the other side of the lockout.
    The opt-outs add to the intrigue. As does the fact that the Cubs won't be able to back him with the same kind of defense the Cardinals have. That's something to watch.
    Any update on the fences at Busch potentially being moved in?
    At last check -- and it's going to be the last check for awhile because as you probably heard the Cardinals have a policy of not talking to media like me now -- they were still going through the studies. I spoke with Bill DeWitt III and he said that the team was looking into the consequences of making that move -- to make sure they didn't miss something. There was talk of doing some wind studies. They want to have a look into how the humidor at Busch helped or didn't (and they probably already have that data by now). And they want to explore different sets up -- is removing the facets in the gaps one possibility? Such a decision can happen in January, it seems, and the ballpark be ready for the start of the regular season. 
    The other part of this was the setting of budgets. In October-November, the stadium ops were looking at their budget for 2022 and determining what they had for capital improvements and upkeep to the ballpark. They were not yet sure at that point if the cost of moving the walls was going to be in the budget.
    Hello, Mr. Goold. I thought all of the players elected to baseball's Hall of Fame by the veterans committees were very deserving, but I was disappointed that neither Curt Flood nor Dick Allen were elected as well. Why do you think they continue to fall short, and why doesn't Ken Boyer get more love? Thanks for your time.
    Curt Flood was not in consideration. His name and candidacy did not get before the committee this weekend near Disney World. There is a rising effort to get him consideration -- and that has been joined by former players, current players, media, historians, and even some politicians. That is a conversation that isn't going away and we'll get to see how the Hall handles it. There are a few options for the Hall to find a way to honor him -- if it's not as an inductee. 
    Dick Allen belongs in the Hall of Fame. I believe this is the second time he's fallen one vote shy of induction, and that's uncanny. His career through the lens of modern stats looks even stronger. He's been overlooked for too long, and it seems like it will be another five years, too.
    I'm not sure why Ken Boyer doesn't get more support. I was heartened that Santo got in and Joe Gordon ultimately got voted in, and it seems like that would have cast a brighter spotlight on Boyer as well. It hasn't. Rick Hummel has advocated and stumped and succeeded in keeping Boyer on the ballot that goes to the committee -- but Boyer did not a get single vote this weekend. That's alarming. So, too, is the fact that Roger Maris did not get a vote either. I'm not sure what was said in the room where that happened, but I'd really like to know. 
    It’s obvious that the cards are going to use the lock out and Covid again this year as there excuse not to spend money….again. The division is theirs for the taking and notify the cubs get Correa, they will probably be the favorites in this weak division. If the cardinals were disappointed in attendance in 2021, wait till next year’s lowest attendance numbers. I won’t blame Arenado for opting out after next year but I will blame the front office…..again.
    It is not obvious. Why do you give them the excuse? Why allow that? They have said they expect to raise payroll from last year, and they aim to get closer to their planned spending before the pandemic hit. So hold them to that. They said the payroll will rise. If it doesn't, fans deserve answers. If it doesn't and the roster is exposed and the team falters, fans deserve accountability. I'll be asking them why didn't act as advertised if that happens. So should you.
  • Derrick,

    Thank you for today’s chat!

    Would you please share with us the list of “labor issues” that must be resolved in order to have 2022 BB season?
    Do you have a few hours? We could spend the whole chat just exploring the issues, grain by grain. Will you permit me to summarize? And if you have further questions about any specifics, by all means ask again. I've bounced this thinking off several people involved in the talks or invested in the talks, and to me it can be captured in this way:
    -- Players would like to find a way for younger players to get paid more sooner so that it reflects their production and how much teams are relying on them, and part of that is eliminating service time manipulation.
    -- Players would like to protect the middle-tier players that have seen their market freeze or shrink as a result of teams going younger and younger, choosing value and swapping young players instead of paying for free-agent veterans. One way to address this is to get rid of draft pick compensation, and another is to do what MLB did -- and suggest a spending floor. 
    -- Owners would like to increase the streams of revenue to include things like expanded playoffs and advertising on jerseys. Players, meanwhile, would like to have a clearer sense of all the revenue the owners are taking in because that is not something, to date, they have to reveal, and yet players know they are getting a shrinking slice of that revenue pie.
    Which brings us to another issue that isn't on the table but dictates everything around it, including the conversations and the looks and the media statements and all of it:
    Trust.
    There is a lack of trust between the two sides. A deal can be struck between two sides that do not trust each other, but they at least have to trust the process. That's a hurdle to clear first.
    Thanks for the chat
    The Cards have 3 areas where they may make moves to improve.
    1-DH if adopted
    2-Bullpen
    2-Shortstop
    If you can only afford to upgrade 2 of the 3 which ones would you spend your money on and whom would you pursue?
    I always say spend your money on pitching but your thoughts please.
    Thanks again
    If limited to two of the three, go with what you don't readily have:
    1 -- A DH that changes the dimension of the lineup.
    2 -- A reliever who could compete to be your closer.
    Those are the two moves to make that would improve the Cardinals under the conditions you've given because they already have two shortstops, three if you want to include Edman in a scenario where Gorman plays second base.
    Please explain how the luxury tax is influencing the CBA talks?
    It's huge. Quickly: the luxury tax is the threshold MLB sets to limit spending at the top end, and there are penalties for going over it. Those penalties increase each year a team goes beyond it, from dollar for dollar tax to losing draft picks. You'll see teams try to get under the luxury tax in years when they might be penalized a draft pick, for example. It's a factor when teams are signing players, because while they might go 5/100 for a player, if that player puts them over the luxury tax that team has to bake-in the fact that that 25 per year could be 35, 40, depending on where they are in relation to the luxury tax and how far over they go.
    It's a massive part of the the negotiations because raising the luxury tax gives teams a higher ceiling to reach with their payrolls and thus more money to spend on free agents.
    The argument on the union's side is that the luxury tax has created a de facto salary cap, and that is something that MLBPA does not want. And, I have the impression that when pressed owners don't want that either. Why? Well to set a salary cap they would have to negotiate that cap as a guaranteed percentage of revenue. That takes defining revenue. Cannot carve up a pie, 48/52 or 50/50 or whatever, without knowing the size of the pie, and that will mean owners have to reveal some inside info that they haven't exactly when eager to present before ... 
    How difficult is it to come up with article topics during a work stoppage? I would imagine you can only write about the lockout from so many different angles.
    It will just require creativity and reporting. We had good, recent practice in 2020, and it's the job.
    Which Cardinal player will bat leadoff for the team most often: Edman, Nootbar, or Goldschmidt if analytics drive the 2022 strategy?
  • Any of the three could. Bader could vs. lefties. Carlson could. Nootbaar may not be in the lineup everyday to do it, but we'll see. The Cardinals are likely going to do leadoff by committee at this point.
  • Mlb and players need to get back to table and actually work on a deal. Compromise. Fans don't want to hear about millionaires vs billionaire.
    It is at this point in the chat that I remind people that not all players are millionaires, and some of the minority investors in teams aren't billionaires. So maybe we can do away with this cliche?
    The players' union represents all players on the 40 man roster. That could be a total of 1,200 players. More if they're in the season and there are players on the 60-day IL. This past week, on the eve of the lockout, there were five players introduced by pressers with newly minted $100-million contracts. Yes, that's a lot of money. There is a lot of money in the game. But if there are 100 active $100m contracts (and there aren't) that still leaves 1,100 players who don't have that. By definition 14 members of the 40-man roster are going to be making minor-league wages, some making less than what you'd consider an adequate wage. And meanwhile there are a handful of players making a prorated portion of the league minimum. That's still good money. But the window for their career is short, and they're not millionaires. Thanks for listening, and I hope you take this into consideration as you weigh the sides and arrive at an opinion.
    Pertaining to Kelly going to LSU nobody talks about the difference in academic standards at those two schools. Erwin Myers famous hot mike moment when he was being sought as ND coach, I cannot win a national championship there because of their academic standards
    While I once covered LSU football as a beat for the Times-Picayune, I believe you want the chat later in the week. Ben Frederickson, the chatmeister on Tuesdays, is better suited to plunge into the college football talk, far better than this seamhead, who last covered football when a guy named Nick Saban showed up in Baton Rouge and knew he didn't need an accent to impress, just results.
    Derrick, why do you think Ken Boyer doesn’t get more HOF support? Perhaps Golden Days committee doesn’t care much about WAR, but Boyer’s was the highest of any candidate on that ballot.
    I know. I know. I don't have an answer. I am as perplexed as you. There are many similar players in the Hall already. The position of third base is woefully underrepresented in the Hall compared to how valuable it is on the field. I don't get it.
    Can the Cardinals sign Trevor Story and still have enough money to get a reliever and/or a bench bat? Ryan Tepera and Corey Dickerson make a ton of sense. Add them + Story would be a great off-season.
  • Probably not. It all depends on what Story commands, though. At the moment, that series of moves would put them significantly above what they spent this past season, probably by the factor of exactly what Story and one of the other players mentioned makes. It would be a sizable leap in payroll that doesn't fit what they're advertising as an increase in payroll. Again, that all depends on what Story commands. I don't expect him to sign at a discount, especially not if he's going to go for a shorter-term deal that puts him back in the marketplace as soon as next year.
    What can be done in the CBA to stop teams from tanking? Is there any way to know whether teams like the Pirates and Orioles who are consistent losers make as much or more than teams like the Cardinals, Brewers and As who are always competitive?
    These are two good questions. Let me tackle them separately.
    1) A number of things. The draft lottery proposed by the league is one aspect. If you tie the draft picks at the top of the draft to a lottery, it's not a race to the bottom because there is no guarantee the worst team in the league gets the top pick. It could happen that the seventh-worst record does, for example. The odds would be key to this, but without the guarantee then there's less of an incentive to take the plunge. There are other elements that could be done as well, and some think that a spending floor would force teams to contend. Another thing to consider would be making a threshold for revenue sharing. Not spending on a team, or not appearing in the standings could bounce a team from revenue sharing. That's a pretty strong step to make, and I doubt it would have much support from the owners. But it is a way to curtail tanking, and fast.
    2) The Atlanta Braves are owned by a publicly traded company, and that continues to be the best window into baseball economics, far better than the estimates and hypothesized rankings and algorithms that are out there. The Cardinals are Braves are similar when it comes to revenue, though the Braves have a larger market, more population, and are going to have a great rights fee for broadcasts. Still, Atlanta and the Cardinals are going to be in that 7-11 range when it comes to revenue. Cardinals do get in the top third -- thanks to ticket sales, as you know.
    The Pirates and A's tend to be in the lower third. They don't have the market size or the ticket support of the other teams you mentioned. Milwaukee has the smaller market, smaller broadcast deal, and smaller population, but does rise when it comes to revenue due to ticket sales. Those three are not in the same tier as the Cardinals, and we can see some of that thanks to the Braves.
    As of now, are all teams receiving money that is related to gambling?
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