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

In this special edition of the chat, Derrick also takes questions about his Hall of Fame ballot.

    Salutations. Happy New Year (and, I believe this greeting gets that in just ahead of this afternoon's deadline). It's time for the annual BBQ of the HOF ballot. You've got questions. I hope I answered some of them with Friday's article about the ballot. If not, bring the heat. We've got all day. And it's not like there's much moving on the negotiations front at the moment for the MLB and its CBA. 
    Away we go.
    My BBWAA/National Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the Class of 2022.
    Last year you seemed quite firm in your opinion that Jeff Kent was not a Hall of Famer. This year you voted for him. Who or what stats convinced you to change your mind and why did you not see that last year?
    This is a good question to start on. Excellent one. Love to start the chat with a challenge.
    I was quite firm -- I felt like I had a strong, consistent look at his career, his numbers, and how they compared with others who I did consider Hall of Famers. But after submitting that ballot, especially with the two spots open, I spent some time over the next year thinking more and more about his candidacy, Bobby Abreu's, Billy Wagner's, and Joe Nathan's, and where exactly I was going to draw that line. It's blunt, but there has be a player who gets through the door and a player left at the doorstep of Cooperstown, and that line is a really difficult one to draw, or at least it is for me. I had several conversations with people I trust about Kent, and they made strong cases for me to consider. I looked at the writing of reporters/baseball writers that I trust to see how they viewed his candidacy, and then I dug into this year's ballot, and along with all of that information, something really struck with me. Consider the Offensive Wins Above Replacement for several players on the ballot:
    Gary Sheffield 80.7
    Bobby Abreu 61.6
    Jeff Kent 60.1
    David Ortiz 56.7
    Todd Helton 54.5
    Scott Rolen 52.8
    It's not a stat that tells the complete picture, but when you consider one of those players is a DH -- judged almost entirely, no entirely on his offense -- then what does it say about the other players. Defense helps Scott Rolen's case tenfold, of course. Helton somewhat. What to make then of Kent? He provided more oWAR total in his career than Ortiz, and yet then is diminished some by being average/less at second base -- while also being the all-time leader in homers at the position, well ahead of Cano and Hornsby. That was a start comparison for me, that above list, and it led me to look at some other statistics and confront whether I had been consistent with my vote. In the end, I had a spot open on my ballot and it seemed like I could consistently, rightly use that for him.
    Is there any chance that we will ever see a players union for people that aren’t on the 40 man roster? A minor league union?
    There is. We're seeing the beginning of it, and it's happening right here in St. Louis.
    Have we seen the last of broadcasters going on the road to announce games? MLB is really making it hard for fans to remain interested in the game. Your always paying more but getting less to patronize their product.
    We have not, no. The Cardinals are one of the teams that grew frustrated with that policy and pushed their business partner to reconsider and not let that happen again in 2022. The NBA and NHL also took active roles in assuring that their broadcast partners were not permitted to make the same decision because of the quality of the broadcast.
    This lockout has put a pause on so much, not the least of which is some clarity for the Cardinals when it comes to this broadcast question and assuring Dan McLaughlin has the setup, the access, and the quality of broadcast he and others have worked hard to establish and maintain.
    As the Cardinals plan for the 2022 season what do you see as their limit for player's payroll? How do you see the Omicron spread effecting their immediate plans?
    If anything, they have a soft cap. And they're nosing up against it considering the money they shed, the money they've added, and the raises they have yet to give that are owed (Bader, O'Neill leap to mind). It sure looks like they're going to be in that $165m-$170m range. There is some elasticity there because of the arbitration salaries due Bader, O'Neill, Reyes, Gallegos, and Flaherty, along with Dakota Hudson. As mentioned, a few of those players with the 2021 they had (homers, Gold Gloves, saves, All-Star, MVP votes) are going to get boosts in salary well above the sub-600K. It also depends on how they calculate the signing bonuses owed players, such as Goldschmidt. There is a sizeable leap in Arenado's salary paid by the Cardinals in 2022.
    With a lockout, it's not clear how Omicron's spread will shape their immediate plans. The bigger concern is that they don't have baseball to sell at all for the moment, limited capacity at the ballpark or not. It is certainly going to inform how they set up spring training, and in the near future they are expected to have minor leaguers down in Jupiter, Fla., to continue rehabs or prep for their season. That was suppose to be around mid-January. We'll see how the virus' spread influences the number of players or how workouts go down there. 
    How much of Nolan Arenado's salary are the Rockies paying this year,2022?
    The Cardinals are paying between $29m and $30m of the $35m he's owed.
    Jon Mozeliak is almost as unlikable as Kevin Demoff. I won’t be paying attention to the hometown nine until he is long gone.
    The Cardinals have no plans on leaving St. Louis for Los Angeles, so there's that. And if you had a chance to ask John Mozeliak about that, he would tell you the truth.
    Any suggestions for eating and entertainment in Jupiter while waiting for the CBA this year?
    Leftovers is always a favorite. And Hurricane Wings.
    In your professional opinion Derrick, what do you hear about the lockout negotiations? What are the impasse of the owners and the main hurdle for the players to negotiate? Plus—- is there any chance everything is worked out in February or before?
    Thanks for you opinion.
  • I know that you've used the word opinion here twice, but there's really not much of an opinion when it comes to the lockout negotiations. They aren't happening, they are going to resume in the coming week(s), and they haven't budged much in the past six weeks, if not six months. Those are all facts, not opinion.
    Before I answer the crux of your question, let me offer some insight into these talks, though:
    -- First, reporters/journalists like me should not use the word "impasse" because the two sides won't until things are dire. That is a charged word when it comes to labor negotiations, and it means things are headed into a way worse realm of labor issues than the current one. Impasse has a legal definition, and if an impasse is declared then there is trouble ahead for the season. So we should avoid using that word so that it lands with the power it has when the two sides near it.
    -- Second, these proposals from each side are not made a la carte. From what I've been told, from people on both sides of the table, there has been the proposals about different formats for a new economic structure. And some include lowering the free agent age. Some include rewriting the arbitration. Some include eliminating draft pick compensations, restructuring the draft, and so on. You can pluck favorable elements from various proposals and think -- wait, there is the outline of a deal here. The catch is that the proposals don't include all of those things at once. Look at the recent reports about how MLB wants to know what the union's priority is -- is it getting players paid more sooner in their career? is it reducing the appeal of tanking? is it restoring some of the lost ground for free agents? The answer of course is ... yes. Yes. Those are the priorities. You can see how MLB would want to identify one, make that proposal to keep a structure favorable in the other categories, and the union would want to go 3-for-3. To way oversimplify, the negotiations are stuck because both sides wants to go 2-for-3.
    Now to your question, anything in baseball sure seems to take a deadline. The trade deadline spurs action that is not there in June. The expiration of the CBA prompted one of the exciting 72 hours in Hot Stove history. Deadlines prompt action. I speak from experience. 
    The real deadline is going to be in that March 1 area, as pitchers need time to get ready and neither side wants to lose games. The loss of regular season games is the real deadline, not the loss of some morning workouts on the back fields of Arizona or Florida.
    Hello, Mr. Goold. I hope you and your family had a happy holiday season. Can you explain to me why the MLB players association is against a salary floor? I'd think they'd want owners to be required to spend "x" amount on payroll. Is it because they think it will lead eventually to a salary cap? Also, I don't know if it was in one of your chats or with Mr. Hummel, but I seem to recall a suggestion for some type of organizational salary floor, where teams would be required to spend "x" amount not just on player salaries but also on staff, scouting, minor league pay and facilities and housing, etc. Exactly how would that work? Thanks for your time.
    They're not, per se. They are against the inevitable ceiling that would accompany a floor -- however that goes. It could be a tax. It could be a straight up cap. And a straight up cap would be tied to revenues, and at the moment neither side can agree on the definition of what makes up a revenue pie, let alone how to slice it in two. Bridging the trust issue when it comes to defining revenue in a way that could lead to a cap would likely lead to a lengthy work stoppage. The notion of a cap already cost the game a World Series ... So, that's the concern with the floor. Is that it's just the bedrock to build a structure that also has a roof.
    It was definitely in one of my chats that I suggested revenue sharing money going to small-market teams could be earmarked for spending on baseball operations/infrastructure, not just payroll. It could work exactly like you describe. They negotiate what that means. It could go to scouting, development, pitching labs, tech, training, strength, minor-league ownership, any of it. That would be up for the two sides to define, but it would cause an investment in the minors, which would be beneficial and a vast improvement on where things have been with the minors.
    Derrick, please give your take on DeJong-Sosa-Edman-Gorman-Donovan middle infield puzzle going into Opening Day. Thank you sir!
    As of today it's:
    DeJong at SS
    Edman at 2B
    Sosa at UT/SS
    Donovan competing to be Rondon to start the year.
    And Gorman at Triple-A, starting 2B.
    That's how it appears it will look for opening day. Gorman could have a thunderous spring and upset the plans, obviously. He has that ability, but it won't be a secret if he does that. We'll see it with his production, and then his playing time, and then how the others' playing time adjusts as a result. So, if he's going to hit his way into opening day, it will be obvious for all to see. 
    What odds would you assign to the Cardinals acquiring a more substantial left handed bat this off season?
    55/45. That player is on their shopping/wish list, after acquiring a late-game reliever.
    DG -
    The owner/union negotiations are playing out like the past couple of off seasons' hot stove markets....the stove isn't even turned on. I think that the fans should know the answer to the question "Why?" We all understand that the bottom line being contested is money and who will have the access to it when and for how much. But at least get to the table and argue about it already! Hammer it out!
    Nobody likes a dispute, but when it presents itself, get busy getting it over with! There's more money for everyone if they just get started and work it out. A lot less money if they don't, and let's not forget....quite possibly the commissioner's job and the union leader's job may very well be at stake here.
    I'm sorry DG. This is not a question and more a commentary, I apologize for wasting any of your time, but frustration took over and had to get out.
    Maybe this makes me an outlier, but I don't get wrapped up in the fact that they haven't talked in weeks. I'd rather they have substantive internal discussions that give them a sense of how far their willing to stretch on either side, than any sort of eyewash discussions that get a bunch of attention but don't get any results, other than to tickle Twitter or aggravate relations.
    What will concern me is if the owners use January to wait out the union, to see if they can sauna them -- let the players sweat out the ticking days toward when they lose salaries at the start of the season. Please keep in mind, players are not paid salaries for spring training. But they do have to work to be ready, obviously. And if the owners think they can just let them sweat, that's disappointing.
  • Derrick, Happy New Year to you and your family! Question: why do we treat our idols, in this case athletes, so different when it comes to standards of fairness? Say I'm a stock broker, and I'm killing it, making big money for my clients and my company. I'm a Hall of Famer, no doubt and will one day be recognized as such. Then one day, I cave and engage in insider trading and am caught and exposed. Do I still get credit as a Hall of Famer? Or, I'm a Hall of Fame dad, loving of my wife and children to the greatest degree. Providing. Until the day and cheat and bring shame on my family. Am I still a Hall of Fame dad? In both cases, I understood the risks. And suggesting that there are other Hall of Fame brokers or dad who are doing the same things, but just haven't been caught, doesn't gain me any sympathy or credit. Both knew the rules and understood the ramifications of cheating.
    Perhaps because we expect the people who are the best at a game to embody the same values we -- stress on we -- invest in that game, and that's not fair to us or them.
    Sports is a microcosm of culture, not apart from it.
    True or false? The Cardinals with Matz on board are pretty much done with doing bigger type signings to start the season
    Well, what do you consider "bigger"? Because there are readers in this chat who wouldn't consider the Matz signing "big", but would consider a lefthanded bat for less of a commitment to be "big". So it's a bit of a moving target for me to give you the answer.
    Here is what is true: Cardinals want to add at least one more late-inning reliever, and that could be a good size salary for the pitcher, and they want to look at a lefthanded bat. 
    Greetings DG,

    As the new year begins, I’d like to thank you personally for being so dang entertaining. You are a great read.

    While we used to disagree more in the past, you’ve rarely failed to hit your mark. You both inform and entertain. And you mostly get it spot on right. Very important these days…

    I give flowers while folks can smell ‘em.
    You work damn hard and I appreciate cha’.
    Thank you for saying so. Now, to do it all again this year -- only better.
    I think Jonathan Villar and Colin Moran would be very good pick up's for the Cardinals. Villar bats both and can play all over the place. Any chance of that happening?
    There is yes. Both make sense. Moran is a fit in many ways and sure seems like a Cardinals-like play for them when they come out of the lockout. Unsure what kind of other offers he's going to have, but you could see a team trying to get him on the ol' Brad Miller, Pat Neshek type deal -- that allows him to come to spring training off the roster with the idea he'll be on when the 60-day IL becomes available.
    You mentioned March 1 as the "real deadline". Why would a May 1-May 15 be more of the real deadline? For most parts of the country the weather in the first 6 weeks is VERY iffy causing decreased attendance. That coupled with the competition from basketball and hockey playoffs and the lack of a big national tv presence in April and May not to mention lower costs in not paying players and other overhead for 4-6 weeks would seem to me to be the real drop dead date. Plus you can still have spring training games in Florida and Arizona in April preparing for the May start date.
    I don't see how losing a month of the season does either side any good, and I tried to spell out exactly why March 1 -- or thereabouts -- fits. I didn't pluck the date out of thin air. It comes from talking with people in the know, people in the industry, people who are familiar with when the pressure of losing regular season games begins to grow. March 1 allows for for four weeks of spring training, similar to what the teams had in 2020 for the shortened year. That would allow an on-time start to the regular season, which is desirable to both sides and they recognize how fragile the situation is with fans if they start losing regular season games.
    A start of May1-May 15 would mean another month of spring training and TWO MONTHS lost of the regular season. That's a season of, what, 110 games? 
    That means TWO MONTHS of no broadcast fees.
    You may not be watching baseball during the NHL and NBA playoffs, but if you're still getting a cable bill during that time you're paying for MLB, and so are the rights holders, and owners would really like to get that money this year. The money saved isn't going to compensate for the money lost -- lost in tickets, lost in sales, lost in rights feels.
    And don't get me started on the lost interest or lost faith that fans will have if baseball does that.
    I don't get how you could arrive at May as a deadline at all. To me, if you say, you might as well say August, or June, or March 2023.
    If MLB goes to the electronic strike zone then tell us what that does to the catchers that are kept because they frame the pitches well?
    They become less valuable and either adjust or find the game moving on from them.

    I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your diligence with your HOF ballot, and let you know I appreciate your willingness to explain and defend your choices. While Kent and Abreu never "felt" like HOF material to me, you have given me something to think about. I appreciate that you take your HOF voting seriously and treat it with the attention and reverence it deserves.
    That sounds a lot like how I go into each ballot. Who "felt" like Hall of Famers, and was that feeling right -- and did I overlook anyone who maybe I didn't appreciate as much as I should in real time. Thanks for the kind words.
    Do you think Edmonds has a chance for Cooperstown on future veterans committees? I don't understand how he fell off the ballot so quickly. I hope he and Flood get their day.
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