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.

  • Sorry I missed the Raven reference — that was awesome. I went back and reread your reporting with great enjoyment.
    Thank you, Frank. If I pulled it off, I was going to do it subtly, otherwise it wouldn't work.
    I had a question based on your "they want him to come to the majors and change the perception of the Arozarena deal" quote. It seems like the Cardinals under Mozeliak get very gun-shy and almost insecure following moves that don't work out. Why? I want Mo to forget the Randy trade and the pieces associated. Treat Liberatore like a normal prospect, not some guy you NEED to have succeed to save your ego so you protect him with all your might. If you can get him for an asset that helps you, then who cares about the Arozarena trade. Stop worrying about perception. It's like the Leake and Fowler signings. Yeah, they were bad, but you can't operate scared in the FA market just because you're afraid of screwing up again.
    They are, by definition and by their own admission, a conservative group when it comes to making moves. John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations, calls it "data-driven," he once gave the example of the Pedro Feliz deal that they felt they made in duress, and didn't want to repeat. That's their style, that's their business model, and they believe it has helped them more than it has hurt them, and the Cardinals point to the run of winning seasons and playoff berths as proof. That's fine. We have a stockpile of examples -- both superb and subpar -- to point to when it comes to how that conservative approach plays out. It means they don't make the play for Scherzer, but it does mean they make a trade for Arenado or Goldschmidt and then, in Goldschmidt's case, set the market in order to keep him. It does mean they don't trade O'Neill or Bader for Wheeler at the trade deadline, and it also does mean they don't trade O'Neill or Bader for a few months of Wheeler at the deadline. It means they're gobsmacked by the cost of trading for Adam Eaton and a reluctance to give up Flaherty when they can commit that extra year to Fowler and bring in the leadoff hitter/center fielder they want while also subtracting that player from their rival's lineup. 
    By now we know what kind of moves they prefer to make and the moves they'll stop shy of making, and yes the loss of Arozarena and success of Arozarena informed decisions made later and still made today. We'll see if they pay off. It's possible to say that O'Neill certainly has, and that's an example of a commitment to playing young players the Cardinals made as a fallout from missing on Arozarena. 
    Last week I asked a question about the Cardinals updating their model in the age of tank and rebuild. You gave a very thoughtful answer and I appreciate it. In my question I think I might have given the impression that I wanted the Cardinals to embrace that model. That was not my intent. I don’t think the current Cardinals model will produce a championship with the way top teams are built now, but I believe there is a place for the Cardinals to contend consistently. It would require an adjustment from the front office. They would need to move payroll up, but not to the Dodgers level. More in the 180-190 range. The second area would be to stay out of the middle of the free agent pool. Sign players like Cory Dickerson, but stay away from the Fowler/Leake type of contracts. Said another way either sign players that are cheap enough they don’t effect other decisions, or spend enough that you gain certainty. Will we ever see a model like that?
    I wonder if they'll be pushed there as the Dodgers continue to rule the NL and the New York Mets enter the realm of the biggest spenders. I'm not sure. We'll see how important winning the pennant becomes to the Cardinals or how much they valuable the tagline that they have the most World Series titles in the NL. If the Dodgers encroach on that, what will the Cardinals do to protect their brand? I think that is a fair question and it's one some member of the media will be asking in the years ahead.
    Coming out of their run of three consecutive years without the postseason, the Cardinals felt there were two things they had to do: One, become more innovative, particularly with their offense, and reclaim some of the edges they lost to other teams. They felt they had fallen behind and were no longer a leader in areas, they were lagging behind. Two, spend more. The broadcast rights agreement is staggered and rising to fund a larger payroll. The pandemic and no ticket sales in 2020 to go with the shortened season and reduced revenue put a wrinke/detour in that plan. They're coming out of it now. Full season to sell now. We'll see if that puts them back on track to raise the payroll in the coming years as they had scripted for these years before 2020 led to a rewrite for many teams.
    Arenado is impressive but he can’t do it all. There are still too many dead spots in the lineup: DH, catcher, and the bottom 2-3.
    It's the first Monday of the season. Maybe see how it plays for a few weeks?
    Should they have tried to get Manea ? He cost nothing for the Padres and pitched 7 innings of no run ball the other day.
  • There is no indication that he would have "cost nothing" from the Cardinals. There just isn't. Oakland got what it wanted from San Diego for a short-term addition. Oakland wanted other prospects from other teams and didn't get those deals done. I don't know specifically how far they got with the Cardinals because it's clear that the Cardinals aren't actively looking to linger on deals when a top prospect will be involved. A top 15 prospect from San Diego might be a top five prospect for the Cardinals, and that is both telling and part of why a trade isn't the same team to team.
    Really, look at the everyday lineup outside of DH. All players they either drafted or traded for with players they acquired as amateurs. Impressive.
    And if they can produce impact -- then it's the jolt the Cardinals have lacked.
    Will the Cardinals take advantage of PitchCom at some point this season? It seems like it would really be good for keeping a good a pace and tempo for strike throwers that like to work quickly, right?
    They are not interested at the moment. Marmol recently said it's not something he likes particularly much. They have another system in place.
    The Cardinal offense can't work at Busch III. It just can't, because as currently configured the park is too tough on righty power, and the Birds are righty-heavy. Specifically, since 2017 the Cards have out-homered opponents on the road 496-381. At home it's just 364-358. Crazy, right? The team should bring in the left field fence by 10 or 15 feet, because the current dimensions help opponents more than the home team!
    I noticed nowhere in this comment from Silver King an apology for the word choice earlier. I'll just use this as a chance to compliment the research here, and share a link to a story about why the Cardinals stopped short of moving in the walls, and why they still might do it -- just not this year: 

    Scaling the walls: After exploring new dimensions for Busch to spur offense, Cardinals stuck with 'golden' rule

    STLtoday.comCardinals' home has become even less hospitable to hitters and home runs, seeing a plunge in runs per game in 2021. But is it an advantage to build on?
    How did Joshua Baez perform at camp? I saw the article early on that had a bit about him but didn't hear much later. Then he didn't get assigned to low-A.
  • He did well. He's young. He got a look at the major-league stage. He got some time in the Grapefruit League dugout/games. Good experience for him. Young guy. Like Won-Bin Cho -- needs reps. And that's going to happen for him before he goes out on assignment.
  • Are the TV broadcasters traveling for road games or will they still be broadcasting remotely?
  • Hi Derrick, did the Cardinals need to use 5 relief pitchers to cover 51/3 on Saturday? Are two-inning appearances not going to happen this year, or at least not going to happen until the relievers ramp up a little more? thanks
    They did not. But they could because of Friday's off day and Wainwright's six shutout innings. So they did that to keep them available for more innings later in the series, especially with the day games. That was by design. You'll see some extended appearances from relievers, and saw some of that Sunday. Two inning appearances are going to happen. Three inning appearances have already happened. You're going to see those. The Saturday game set up the way it did because they were coming off a day off and Wainwright's start.
    Hi Derrick, thank you for these chats. I'm not trying to look too far ahead, but it's hard not to think about how weird it will be next year to not have Yadi and Waino. Do you think the Cardinals will make a big signing to get fans excited about the new generation of Cards players? Or just go all in on promoting Goldy, Arenado, O'Neil etc. With the money and the big names coming off the books, it just feels like the perfect time for a big trade or FA. Thanks again!
    I don't know. It's hard to get a read on the free-agent market this far in advance, let alone what the Cardinals might do with it. So much time and so many questions. Production from the outfielders and a strong season from the shortstop will change any shopping list, of course. What we do know: Yes, they're going to promote heavily around Arenado and Goldschmidt in the near future. Bader, O'Neill, Hudson, Carlson, Flaherty -- they all have the chance to perform to a point that they're a part of the promotions, too. The Cardinals would eagerly reward their performance and their success with marketing campaigns to slide right into the ones that Molina and Pujols have left behind. Plus, Wainwright could just keep going ...
    Jordan Walker is really the only untouchable player? Sounds like he could be the real deal.
    I'm reluctant to say "untouchable." It just seems to be thrown around without a real definition. Jordan Walker is a top-flight, rising prospect who is likely to be a top-10 prospect in all of minor-league baseball by the end of this season. He is that talented. He has that much upside. He could be the middle-order hitter that the Cardinals have sought to develop, and he could be that guy by age 22, matching well with Gorman from the left and switch-hitter Carlson. The Cardinals are not eager to trade him, not at all, for that reason.
    Derrick, Would you agree that with the expanded playoffs it will be even harder to make a significant Deadline trade? More teams in playoffs and more believing they have a chance.
  • That's possible. I'm not sure yet. There are going to be some really awful teams and I wonder how that will drag down the floor of the standings. Will that keep more teams involved, or will there be good teams fattening their records by feasting on tankers that the playoff race is settled on the deadline and we see movement to reflect that. I just don't know which way it will bend. I'm eager to find out in this first year of it.
    I want Waino to pitch as long as he wants. But I do feel like he gives this FO a built-in excuse every year to not chase an elite starter. If Flaherty leaves after next season and Waino finally hangs them up what is this team left with? I like Hudson, but who is your #1 or even #2?
    They want it to be Matthew Liberatore. Or Jordan Hicks? It's an open question. They have more pressing ones today than what it looks like many many tomorrows from now.
    Any idea of when we might see Matthew Liberatore? His first start in AAA didn't go great but he pitched great down the stretch last year. Considering the starting rotation's propensity for injury, how soon do you think we might see him, and what impact might he have?
    At some point this season -- either when need makes the decision for the Cardinals or his performance is appealing to the Cardinals. He'll contribute in someway this season. That's how the Cardinals have their rosters set up.
    Let me step aside for a quick moment, then return for a lightning round finish, or try.
    Will we see Flaherty some time in April or May?
    April is almost half over, and he's got a full spring training-like schedule ahead of him. Sure seems like May is more the realistic timetable. He was out playing catch today, and he continues to make strides with arm strengthening and flexibility after the treatment to address irritation in his shoulder joint. But he's got to do the whole spring thing as far as building up arm strength, facing batters, live BP, and then rehab starts in the minors to increase pinch count. So, he's in the early days of spring.
  • A good Monday to you, Derrick.
    There's been a lot of payroll propaganda out there lately, when it comes to the Cardinals. Just to clarify the numbers, according to the highly respected and thorough Cot's Contracts, the Redbird Opening Day player payroll is roughly $7 million less than last year -- assuming Tyler O'Neill signs for a bit under $4 mil in arbitration. So those who want to gripe about a year-over-year reduction in payroll, well, they are entirely justified. But those who claim the gap is 25 or 30 million bucks are waaay off the mark.

    My query: have you seen Jordan Walker run the bases all-out, in person? Because last year he had more triples than GIDP's, which is a HECK of an achievement for a righty slugger. And of course he stole 14 bases in 16 tries, in just over 80 games. In other words, he *seems* to have all the necessary speed to transition to outfield at any time.
    First, Cot's is an excellent resource, but even its number is off because, if you look closely at how the number is calculated, every player with less than three years of service time has a salary of $700,000. That's not going to be the case for Edman, who won a Gold Glove Award, and came a few days shy of being arbitration eligible. The Cardinals have an in-house formula that uses publicly available WAR to determine the raise above the minimum for players, and there are several players who will receive more than that.
    So, we can estimate what those will look like and based on reporting, research, and some estimates the Cardinals are going to come in with an opening day payroll of around $150 million, maybe close to $152 million. Pujols' salary gives it a bump, too.
    That's up from $137.6 million last year.
    And that was a stepback, as advertised, due to the zero ticket sales of 2020, and that means this year's payroll, while up from last year, is not what they had originally budgeted before 2020 arrived.
    I did not include the signing bonuses. I did include the money being paid Fowler to play for the Angels. I did include players on the injured list. I did not include Arenado's salary for 2021 because what the Cardinals owe him is all deferred from that season, and the Rockies handled the rest of his salary, so the net cost IN 2021 of Arenado's 2021 season was zero. That bill will be due later.
    Onto the other question you asked. Yes. In person. And yes checks out. He has the athleticism to be Kris Bryant-like in his ability to play the outfield as well as infield positions. Would not surprise anyone who has watched him play if there's a corner outfield work in his future.
    Is the decision on setting the rotation over the next week a decision made by Marmol/Maddux or the Front Office?
    Marmol and Maddux mostly, in concert with the pitchers who do have a say on how their schedule goes based on rest and readiness, and then the front office offers information.
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