Join Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold for his live chat at 1 p.m. Monday

Join Cardinals beat writer Derrick Goold for his live chat at 1 p.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to Monday’s 1 p.m. live chat.

    Greetings. How excellent is this -- we're about 20 minutes away from the official start of the chat and there are already a bushel of questions stuffed into the inbox. Fantastic. Seems like a good reason to get going early here. Cardinals returning from a 6-0 road trip to face the team leading the NL Central, the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals did what they set out to do -- what they had to do -- sweep series against losing, meandering teams and get footing back in the standings. They've narrowed the gap in the wild-card race far more than they have in the division. They still have seven games remaining against the adrift Pirates this month, and this week's visit from the Brewers is the first of four series between the two division rivals before the end of the regular season.
    You've got questions -- maybe even about 2021? -- and I'll do my best to answer them.
    All of the sudden Arenado is amongst the NL league leaders in HR and RBI. I would say Tatis would likely be the favorite to win the MVP at this point. If Nolan can keep this up do you see him having a legitimate shot at this award?
    Absolutely. Last week it was Harper that was all the buzz. This week, if Arenado rides the hot streak out of KC and into the series vs. Milwaukee, it will be him. I don't think that Tatis is the favorite. He's missed time. He's had dramatic, remarkable returns. But the race is open for someone to seize the award. Good timing for this question. Just got the email notifying me that I'll be an NL MVP voter this year.
    When Mikolas returns does there need to be a 40 man move? If so what’s the move?
    If you tell me who is healthy and who is injured at the time, I'll let you know. It may be time for us to discuss what we used to call to Pleau Principle. This was named after the former Blues GM who would grow tired of me asking about questions on the horizon and once said, "By the time you have to make a decision, that decision is made for you." An example of this just happened last week. At the time the Cardinals had to make a decision on Jack Flaherty -- active roster, 40-man roster -- the decisions were made for the Cardinals. LeBlanc went on IL. A young prospect went on the 60-day IL. Many times, a team will wait to make the decision because often it's made for them, and while I doubt the move will be as dramatic as some will suggest, any suggestion at the current moment is wrong when an injury could happen and make the move obvious.
    Any insight on what the players do on game days on the road? I got to meet Bader, O’Neill, and Nootbaar at a Starbucks on Saturday (Noot was sucking down breakfast sandwiches which made me love him even more)
    Some golf. Many go for coffee. Some find time to workout away from the ballpark and have that regimen. Some just stay in the hotel, watch movies, catch up on FaceTime, etc. Adam Wainwright has been documenting the long walks he takes on the road after starts. Some players will meet reporters for interviews. At last check, Paul Goldschmidt and a few other hitters travel with a VR setup that they'll use to get ready for the game by viewing that night's starter before going to the ballpark. Some will continue their tour of the world's Capital Grills. They all focus on sleeping, getting a lot of sleep, sleeping in, making sure they get sleep. Sleep is a big deal on the road. I've run into a few at the bookshops or museums that I go to on the road ...
    Watching the Cards take BP on Saturday was a treat. Arenado was launching the ball and having fun messing with Knizner while fielding. Seems like the vibe is shifting (with wins I guess). Any insight?
    I never got the sense that the vibe was bad. They were losing. They weren't happy losing. They really didn't like how they were losing. They know the injuries were dragging them down. They know an offense was struggling, and that really gives off a lethargic sense when that happens, even if it's just the optics of it, not the truth of it. This has always been a team that gets along, from all indications, from talking to people. To be candid, I was not in Kansas City, so I was unable to see what you're referencing here. But, again, this has been a team that gets along from every example I can think of. And also -- we're not in the clubhouse this season, as you probably know. So what we get to know about the interactions and "vibe" comes from BP, being on the field, and talking with players. Having Bader around elevates the "vibe" of the team. Sosa, too. Arenado, when he's feeling good at the plate and producing, is big part of that "vibe" you describe as well. He's a player who wears how he's doing on his sleeve.
    Why did it take Mo and company so long to go out and get the pitching depth that turned this team around?
    They didn't want to pay the price for moving swiftly. So they paid the price in the standings.
    With the labor agreement looming this winter, what are the three biggest issues where the owners and MLBPA are farthest apart? What compromises would you anticipate?
    Financial structures. The big things are going to be whether MLB proposes a salary cap on spending -- or something of that ilk -- and how the union will press to have younger players paid more earlier in their careers. Almost any of the big issues will radiate from those two spots and deal with the biggest question of all: How to split the pie of revenue? And how to define what is revenue? That last part may be where, behind closed doors, there is the most acrimony. How do owners define the revenue. What are they being honest about. That kind of thing.
    The universal DH is an obvious compromise. There will be some changes to the arbitration process and areas where both sides could make compromises there. The last time there was a CBA, the union got some concessions on quality of living (more off days, some travel allotments, food, clubhouse fees, etc.) and that was OK with the owners because they got big wins on the financial setup. Look for the players to win on that side, on the financial side in the coming negotiations.
    Compared to many other broadcast teams, St Louis is blessed. It would be interesting to see a poll on which of our commentators (TV and radio) is ranked highest among the viewers.
    They do well. They deserve to be on the road. What Bally's has elected to do by not spending money to send its broadcasters on the road is disrespectful to the quality of the broadcast, to the talent of their broadcasters, and, candidly, to other media outlets in the market.
    I think it’s obvious that Dejong needs to sit the brewers series. He’s becoming an automatic out and kills rallies
  • I'm not so sure it is all that obvious. DeJong had a solid July that was overshadowed by the pitching needs and the performance of Harrison Bader. Since the Cardinals very public statement about having the change their offensive approach, DeJong has been what you'd like to get from the shortstop position, and from him. He's batting .256/.331/.488 with eight homers, 21 RBIs, 36 Ks, 31 hits and nine walks in that time.
  • Is the day off helpful or hurtful to the cards? Also anything new on Carlson and DeJong?
    Helpful. It's unlikely that Carlson and DeJong are going to have definitive meetings with the team on an off day. They've both been diagnosed with an issue, so no scans etc., unless Carlson is not having any improvement in the wrist. They'll have him see a specialist here in STL, if that's the case. Either way, how they feel today is academic. They don't play today. So the team will wait until tomorrow, likely early afternoon, to determine what really is the update on those two players.
    Any day off is a good day for rest. Any injury is likely to be evaluated the next day at the ballpark unless there is a meeting with a doctor that assures surgery, and that's not the case with these two injuries, according to the team.
    With the Cards facing a return to major league pitching against Mil, should we expect a sudden reversal from the latest offensive trends?
    Results, sure. Process, no. Hold them to that. They should be a varied, versatile offense capable of scoring in a variety of ways depending on the opponent. Brewers have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Any team -- the '21 Cardinals, the '15 Cardinals, the '21 Dodgers, the '21 Padres, the '27 Yankees -- should be expected to do worse against a pitching staff that is better than the Royals and the Pirates. The Cardinals did what was expected. They've scored at least four runs in 11 consecutive games and they went 6-0 on the road. They had to sweep. They did. Now they'll face a better team, Kolten Wong's team.
    Spotrac estimates the 2022 Cardinal payroll to have $121.3M already committed after buyouts, arbitration, etc. leaving approximately $43.7M to improve the club for 2022.
    How can the money be best spent?

    What “holes” in the roster need to be filled?

    Necessary Battery additions (5) $27.25M Total

    Starter (1) Wainwright ($10M)
    Closer (1) If Reyes is moved to the rotation) perhaps Melancon, Graveman, or Kennedy ($5M)
    Long Reliever (1) Perhaps LeBlanc ($1M)
    Middle Reliever (1) Perhaps McFarland ($1.25M)
    Catcher (1) Molina ($10M)

    Necessary Lineup/Bench Additions-DH,SS and 4th OF (3) ($16.45M to spend on a DH or SS)

    DH (1) Castellanos, Cruz, Marte, etc.

    4th OF Burleson (.577M) or Nootbar ($.577M-already in 2022 budget)

    SS Trevor Story / $18.5M in 2021. Hitting .258 with 15HRs, 54 RBI &15 SB.

    SS Corey Seager / $13.5M in 2021, Hitting .270 with 5HR, 26 RBI and only played in 50 games due to injury

    SS Carlos Correa made $11.7M in 2021, but turned down a 5 Yr. / $125M offer from the Astros in April. STL would have to increase the 2022 budget to attract Correa.

    SS Marcus Semien would be a good fit but would also seem to be too expensive (making $18 in 2022 and having a big 2021)

    SS Javy Baez, with all of his strikeouts would not seem to be a good fit. We already have enough SOs in the lineup at SS.

    SS Jorge Polanco is hitting .270 with 21 HRs and 68 RBIs. Trading for a SS seems to be the better strategy financially. Jorge Polanco ($5.5M 2022) vs Paul DeJong ($6.11M deduction). Polanco is hitting 270 with 21 HRs and 68 RBIs. The Cardinals would need to add some prospects and/or cash to get the Twin’s attention.

    Polanco would solve the leadoff issue.and afford STL to sign a top DH.
    I appreciate the research you put into this, and also acknowledge that the estimates come from a good place, especially the Sportrac data. LeBlanc for $1m seems light if he's coming back. Also, Flaherty is going to make for an interesting arbitration case -- that will hinge a lot on his performance in the coming months after having two consecutive abbreviated seasons. That said, can I point out something about your question that touches on mistake we all often make when discussing questions like this?
    If you'll permit me to do so. Thank you.
    Deals aren't signed for one year. So many of the players mentioned in here will not be signing for one-year deals. Teams don't look in year to year ways like that. If players signed for one year and moved on, they would. But the players you list here are all going to be multiyear deals, some of them will be whoppers, and teams will bake that into all of their decisions. That will explain why some teams may not have a payroll to their limit one year and that's because their shifting spending to accommodate the spending coming in the "out years." I've had front office folks from various teams tell me this over and over and over -- that my questions are too focused on the single year and not allowing for the fact that they have to take into account the "out years" of a longterm contract.
    And, also, quick aside ... what a deal Seager is at the salary. Polanco is a strong player and I get the appeal. So do the Twins. They think they are in a division vulnerable to a quick turnaround and intend to contend with him at the position. Look at what they got for Berrios from Jays. Imagine the prospects they'll command for an everyday standout!
    We know that Matt Holladay lobbied Nolan Arenado to accept a trade to St. Louis. Could a team ask a player to talk to friends on other teams about accepting a trade or is that tampering? I guess the question boils down to how far a team can go without tampering?
    Teams and Major League Baseball cannot stop friends or peers from talking to one another.
    How likely is this scenario: the Cards win 85 games, Mozaliak throws a party for the front office celebrating the organization’s 14 consecutive winning seasons, Mo shrugs off the 3 game wild card miss to injuries, and only tweaks the team in the off-season?
  • Unlikely. Virtual zero chance of this. Do the Cardinals really look like a "throw party" front office?

    Thank-you for your wonderful Cardinal coverage. Win or lose, your writing provides terrific insight and analysis.
    Is Matt Carpenter retaining his roster spot largely due to his versality as back up 1st, 3rd and 2 baseman? Certainly Sosa and Rondon are vastly superior bats and multi-position gloves. Seems like Carp is the only back up First basement on the team however.
    Carpenter's at bats looked especially woeful over the week-end. Should his spot be filled with a Memphis Developmental young player to determine next year's roster?

    Donald Nahnsen
    There are largely four general reasons why Matt Carpenter remains with the Cardinals. First, his contract. That's the factor that keeps him with the team. Second, his history. Regardless of what you see in chats or on Twitter, the team -- his teammates, his coaches, the front office -- like having him around, and ownership you'll recall did put a priority not too long ago on maintaining their homegrown All-Star players. See: Martinez, DeJong, Carpenter, Molina, Wainwright, and even deals signed for Craig, Wong etc. Third, he bats lefthanded. The Cardinals have been lacking a lefthanded bat off the bench for awhile, for the majority of Shildt's time as the manager, and that's something that the team wanted to have. A deterrent. With a reputation. And Carpenter has that. Fourth, his position versatility, as you suggest. He plays three infield spots.
    I don't think the roster spot should be spent on a prospect to figure things out by playing as rarely as Carpenter. That's not the best use of a roster spot, service time, or the prospect's time.
    Thank you for the kind words. They are appreciated.
    Do the players get any residuals for the sale of merchandise using their name? If not, Molina and Arenado are missions out on a lot.
    Yes, they do. It's through the licensing agreement with the union. The MLBPA works that out, and all players benefit from it. That's why years ago you'd see players of all sorts in the MLB video games, but not Barry Bonds. He would negotiate his own deals for licensing, separate from the union's deal. The same set of licensing arrangements that allow player NIL to appear in video games are like the ones for sales of jerseys and bobbleheads and all of it.
    Nice run! Credit where credit is due. Are they just teasing us, or about to make a second half run for a wild card spot? This will be a telling series starting tomorrow. They seem to have cemented themselves as a mediocre team - good enough to beat those basement dwellers like Pit and KC, but not good enough to consistently beat the rest. Where do you see this team standing after that road trip, with 55 - 33% of the season left - to go?
    They are winning the games they should, sweeping the series they must, and they'll still need help. They have to leapfrog teams like the Reds and Padres to get into the wild-card spot, and that will need both of them to lose stride. Brewers would have to come apart and into a tailspin not to win the division. Is that possible? Sure doesn't seem likely. The Cardinals have done what they can to get back in the conversation. They'll need a team to fall ahead of them to make it a real chance.
    I don't understand why MLB managers think it so wise to have a different pitcher come out of the bullpen for each of the latter innings. It seems to me that many pitchers need to find their groove and once found, their placement keeps improving. If a pitcher is doing well, why not let him continue? (I understand that sometimes a pinch hitter makes that necessary, especially if the team is losing the game, but why not leave someone in if they are doing a good job and seem to be improving?)
  • What you describe seems to apply more to a starting pitcher than a reliever who comes into a game knowing the time is limited to find that "groove." And that's not even the leading reason for all MLB manager approaching the bullpen this way. A huge, big, important reason is to keep that pitcher available for multiple days to come because if you're going to make decisions on the hot hand and the length then you'll quickly see the bullpen come undone -- and be unable to minimize damage. We can go through an example of this.
    Say a team has three relievers it trusts to hold a lead, and it took your approach.
    Pitcher A gets hot, throws 2 1/3 innings (30+ pitches), closes out Monday game.
    Tuesday comes, Pitcher A is not available. 
    Pitcher B goes in, struggles in the seventh, gets only two outs. Leave seven to get.
    Pitcher Closer comes in to handle that, rescues, team wins Tuesday.
    All three pitchers are now possibly unavailable for Wednesday.
    Or, if Pitcher A or B is available, there's no safety net.
    Let's also consider that the way the bullpen is used now is how those players train. They are focused on work that keeps them ready for 15-20 pitches on back-to-back days, and when necessary back-to-back-to-back days. If you starting varying that then you also start varying how they prepare. Does every pitcher need to be ready to throw 35-45 just in case this is the night the manager wants to ride them to the save/game ending, as you suggest? Right now, Reyes, Gallegos, Helsley, and Cabrera have a good feel for what will be expected from them night to night and how to prepare for that. They also know how to get ready for that one inning and be as right as possible in it.
    Change that and you're changing how they prepare, how often they can prepare, how often they can pitch, and likely the results will be as varied as their usage in your scenario.
    What kind of major leaguer in Burleson likely to be? Which Cardinals farm hand most excites you?
    I'm not really in the excitement business, honestly. I think it's far better for fans to get excited. That's something that fans of the team get to choose. Jordan Walker is an impressive, imposing hitter at a young age and he could blitz the rankings in the coming year, rising as swiftly and successful as any prospect the Cardinals have had in the past 20 years. His rise will be intriguing because his talent is enormous.
    Burleson has the look of other prospects who have produced in the minors, moved up steadily/swiftly, and get a chance to be a fourth outfielder to see what they do with it. Bader. Jon Jay. Nootbaar at the moment and a handful of others who have started as the fourth outfielder and player their way into something much more. Burleson could do that.
    What free agent do you think is most likely to sign with the Cardinals?
    I don't really know at the moment if you're not going to include Adam Wainwright. This is a tough question to answer in August, just because I really haven't had a chance to do the reporting, talking to agents, getting a feel of who even will be on the Cardinals radar -- and who will be interested in joining them, if they make the right offer. Great question for November.
    To improve the offense would the Cardinals consider signing Nick Castellanos if he opts out? I would really like for them to take a run at Bryant but don’t think they can afford him. Either one would make offense elite.
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