Join Derrick Goold at 11 a.m. Monday for his last Cards chat this spring from Jupiter

Join Derrick Goold at 11 a.m. Monday for his last Cards chat this spring from Jupiter

Bring your Cards questions and comments to a live chat with Derrick Goold at 11 a.m. Monday

    Greetings from the final day, final hours, final game of Cardinals spring training. They're lifting off from Jupiter soon after the game ends -- and off to Cincinnati, where a new season awaits. Two-thirds of Team P-D will pack the Weatherbird Wagon and rumble north in the morning to Ohio, by way of ... somewhere ... not sure, maybe Jacksonville, I guess. Probably ought to check the map. That's for later. Now it's time to chat -- while the game goes on. And, in the grand Grapefruit League tradition, expect it to be a swift one ...
    When is the last possible date for a change in the DH rule for the NL?
    The eve of the regular season, to the best of my knowledge.
    Derrick, can outside observers, you or I, for instance, know which minor league contracts have opt-out clauses? For example, do we know if infielders Rondon or Moroff have the privilege of opting out and looking for other suitors. I ask because it would be ironic to keep Edmundo Sosa on the 26 because he is out of options but then to lose Rondon, who would almost certainly see more playing time than Sosa if he were on the 26.
    We can, yes. It's pretty common to know -- reporters ask, unearth, find in someway and pass it along to the readers. It's my understanding they do not have opts outs this early in the season in their contracts. That's part of the calculus that the Cardinals made. They were in the "hold talent" mode. They could hold onto the two infielders on minor-league deals, keep them ready to go, and also hold onto Sosa by not losing him waivers. 
    First pitch 12:08 p.m. local time.
    I appreciated your article on Moe’s misses and few hits. However Matt holiday is way old news. Moe Has few hits lately. Moe has brought no championships as Director of operations. You neglected to mention a couple of his big misses Such as Voit, Arozarena and not resigning The NLMVP in Ozuna. Finally the greg Holland fiasco and a whole host of broken down relief pitchers.
    To be fair, I was limited on listing three up, three down -- like an inning. So there wasn't going to be a laundry list of hits or misses, and I even fudged the list by squeezing the Fowler/Cecil moves into one entry because they came in the same offseason. I don't think Voit and Arozarena rise to the level of misses, and if anything Ozuna should have taken the offer from the Cardinals. He made less signing for one-year with Atlanta. The bigger miss was the trade -- which sent Alcantara and Gallen out. Not bringing back Ozuna after two subpar seasons as the cleanup hitter really didn't hinder the Cardinals from making the playoffs, and if anything not having him around longterm opened up the possibility to trade for Arenado. That's a tradeoff I imagine you'd make.
    Holland doesn't crack the group. One year deal. No harm, really. Just cash. And a loss or two.
    Still don’t see how Carpenter made this team. How is he any different than Allen Craig? I know Craig lost it after an injury, but Carp was injured by the shift and has lost it ever since. I was rooting for him to turn it around but it’s not going to happen. There are more deserving players that should be going north with the team.
    Allen Craig was traded, so he made the Cardinals team out of spring training and then went to Boston in a deal for John Lackey at the trade deadline. Joe Kelly, as you probably know, was part of that deal. Not sure of this comparison. Carpenter has a no-trade clause; Craig didn't. Cardinals owe Carpenter $18.5 million this season and then an additional $2m buyout at season's end if they don't take on his option. Boston took on Craig's contract. It just seems like the comparisons are a reach.
    Thank you so much for the great coverage from Jupiter. Your "Knothole Gang" reports from the back fields deserve a sticktoitiveness award of some sort.

    Would like some insight on the taxi squad process and who we can to expect to see on that list. Is my understanding that there are up to five players on it and one has to be a catcher - am guessing that would go to Ali Sanchez if the squad only includes members of the 40-man roster. Thoughts?
    The taxi squad is Kodi Whitley, Seth Elledge, Jose Rondon, Ali Sanchez, and Lane Thomas for the trip to Cincinnati.
    They can five players on it as long as the fifth is a catcher, as you note. The players do not have to be on the 40-man roster to be on that taxi squad. To make the move to the active roster they must be added to the 40-man roster. So, for example, Rondon would first have to be added to the 40-man roster and then be moved to the 26-man roster. His contract would have to be purchased by the big-league team, and if they don't have room on the 40-man roster (they will, imminently) then they must make another move to clear it.  
    Derrick: I am disappointed to see Matt Carpenter make the club. He has been a great player and a great Cardinal but, after two poor seasons, his career seems to be in free fall, especially after his .036 spring training performance. It’s only his huge contract that keeps him on the roster. However, his presence prevents another worthy players (Rondon or Moroff) from making the team. How long does Cardinals management wait before they have to make the tough decision for the good of the team to release him? Your thought?
    The Cardinals, at this point, have a far different view of the "good of the team" than you do when it comes to Carpenter. There is a disconnect between the club and a vocal section of the fan base, obviously. Asked Mozeliak about that this morning, and he acknowledged, as you'd expect, that Carpenter's track record and performance over years for the team factored into the decision. Obviously, that's part of the reason he has the contract he has -- and that's part of why he's on the roster too. He does not have a large role at the moment on said roster. He's the lefthanded bat off the bench. They're not batting him cleanup or leadoff on opening day -- unless there's an injury that happens in the next three days. 
    They see him as a seasoned, experienced bat off the bench that they have invested in, and who his teammate genuinely like and who the manager genuinely trusts. They have put their faith in Carpenter -- and the metrics they believe show he's hit into bad luck and, yes, hit into the shift several times. 
    They are willing make that leap of faith the fans won't. It's the teams millions that they are banking on the feel they have for his spring -- and he has for his swing -- that the box scores don't say. 
    Also, teams don't use the DFA or release as some kind of public punishment. They use it when there's no other alternative and they need the roster spot.
    Hitters once had to stay in the batter's box between pitches. Why was enforcement stopped?
    Style, I suppose. Old habits hard to break.
    Adam Wainwright is out of the first inning after throwing his max amount of pitches. Jesus Cruz, the resident fireman, is into the game here at RDS.
  • Hi Derrick, Thanks to you and the entire PD Team for the Best Spring Training coverage in baseball. I think this year especially you knocked it out of the park. My question for you is can you think of any recent examples of players (not just with the Cardinals) who have had poor Spring Trainings from most advanced metrics, and then good regular seasons when the “lights go on”? I know the opposite happens as well (great ST – poor season).
    Thanks for the kind words. I do hope that the three of us down here for the spring rose to the level expected, and also rewarded the investment the paper made by being the only St. Louis outlet to commit the resources to covering spring training in person from start to finish, every day and every game. 
    We had access to more advanced metrics publicly this spring than ever before, best I can remember. The Cardinals' ballpark was one of a few here outfitted with the Statcast data, so we could see more of what they were talking about with exit velocity, spin, all of it. It's hard to retrofit the past springs with data we don't have from them. We can eyeball. One stands out -- and I had to check the stats to make sure I remembered it correctly -- but Tommy Pham in 2018 had a difficult spring training. He was searching. He was unlucky. He had the same kind of hard-hit hard luck that Carpenter has seen, and some of the comments coming from the Cardinal were familiar.
    Pham in spring -- .220/.333/.373, .706 OPS
    Pham in March/April -- .341/.453/.511, .964 OPS
    His eyesight and the search for contacts that worked were part of the progress and improvement for him. And it's worth noting that he struggled later in the season, so much that Harrison Bader overtook him for playing time and the Cardinals traded Pham.
    Carpenter himself has had a spring like this before, though not with one hit. In 2016, he was .167/.216/.292 for a .507 OPS. That lingered into April -- and then he was an All-Star by midseason, batting .340 in one of the months, and finished .271/.380/.505 with a .885 OPS for the season.
    Nolan Arenado just homered. It's his first as a Cardinal.
    Were you surprised that Edman is being considered as the back-up CF? I only remember seeing him in LF or RF. Doesn't seem like he has much experience in center.
    I was not. Wrote about it in this morning's paper because the Cardinals had clearly positioned him as the backup for shortstop and center field as they made their roster decision. Shildt has a lot of trust in Edman to do just about everything.
    Is there a plan for the team to all get vaccinated in the coming weeks? One thing I wonder about that is if you vaccinate everyone on the same day do they all feel a little under the weather for the following days game.
    Brand new, breaking news at StlToday from this morning: 

    Cardinals hopeful to get vaccine for traveling party before Thursday's opener, says Mozeliak

    STLtoday.comMinor leaguers and the alternate-site players will also have access to the COVID-19 vaccine in early April, president of baseball operations details.
    Is BPIB on hiatus? Really missed the insightful discussions this spring.
    It has been, yes. There was little time during spring training to record the podcast with other assignments and expectations. This spring was not as -- um -- linear as past springs because of the protocols in place, and the need to do reporting beyond the ballpark, beyond the available Zoom press conferences so that Post-Dispatch readers could count on getting more. Not to mention the time it too to find the right angle through the fence to see what was going on! Have to pick the right knothole to see. Videos took its place on most days.
    The hope is it revives for the season, especially as Frederickson and I will be able to record one in person for the first time in more than 12 months.
  • With the benefit of hindsight, we look back at the 2020 decision to have Kim start in the bullpen as somewhat nonsensical. Do you see any decisions made about this 2021 roster that we'll look back on in a year and ask "what were we thinking?"
    To be fair, this was a question I asked at least twice during the press conference Zoom where they made the announcement. And again in Minnesota as the Cardinals got there. It just seemed -- odd. To take someone who had really never closed consistently in his career and had pitched really, really well as a starter and had committed all of that time in STL to staying ready as a starter -- to take away that spot in the rotation ... well, didn't make sense. The Cardinals had a pitcher who had pitched well and was comfortable starting, and the Cardinals had a pitcher who had done well as a closer -- and they swapped the two. At the moment, many of us were asking for them to square the circle. Shrug emoji.
    Who in the Cardinals' bullpen can go multiple innings vs who is just your typical 1 inning relief arm?
    Jacob Woodford is the long reliever, and he was added to the roster for this reason.
    Thoughts on BenFred's article on the DH negotiations as a foreshadowing for the next CBA negotiation? What's your betting odds on whether there will be a lockout/strike next offseason?
    Growing with each passing day, and I used to be an optimist.
    Regarding BPIB - I really enjoyed the episode with special guest Dave Matter. It gave me a chance to thank him (and you!) during one of his chats for championing Booches. I also want to echo your prediction that Kolten Wong becomes an All Start this season, not just because of the well-oiled voting machine in Wisconsin, but also because I think lots of Cardinal fans like me will be voting for him. I think he already should have been one by now, really.
    Thanks for the kind words. Yes, Milwaukee's voting success in the All-Star Game is fascinating, and I'm not really sure why Cardinals Nation doesn't vote more often. I have some theories. The tone of the reaction on Twitter to some Cardinals players, even stars on the team, indicates there's an eagerness to criticize the locals first, and not support them for the All-Star Game. Fondness for Wong in his absence might spur those votes his way. Will be interesting.
    I must stand by my prediction, made years ago. 
    If Martinez struggles in the first inning again, would Shildt entertain the idea of using an opener for those games to see if that helps?
  • He has been reluctant to embrace the opener approach because then Martinez's first inning struggles become his second inning struggles. It's not the first inning that he has an issue with. It's his first inning. Not sure how pushing that back solves the problem. Maybe they ought to push it forward -- have him throw a sim inning in the bullpen as part of his warmup.
    Mr. Goold: You wrote that Mike Shildt met with Matt Carpenter to let him know that Tommy Edman would be everyday second baseman. You don't think Carpenter already knew that? Carpenter should count his lucky stars he's even on the 26-man roster. Of course, there are 18.5 million reasons why he knew he would be on the opening-day roster despite the .028 BA.

    John Mozeliak has a habit of trading players who flourish with other teams once they are given the opportunity to play every day. I hope Mozeliak doesn't make that mistake again by trading John Nogowaki in order to free up at-bats for Carpenter.
    Of course, Matt Carpenter already knew that. He said as much coming into spring training. He's been around the bases a few time.
    This was a manager showing respect to a veteran. 
    That does happen.
    Vaccination question: do you see the team spacing this out with players, even just over a couples of days? I ask this because the post-second shot reaction by many Americans seems to vary but typical results tend to leave the average person out of commission for 24-36 hours. It would be counterproductive to have the entire roster go down for 2 days.
    Covered in this story earlier today: 

    Cardinals hopeful to get vaccine for traveling party before Thursday's opener, says Mozeliak

    STLtoday.comMinor leaguers and the alternate-site players will also have access to the COVID-19 vaccine in early April, president of baseball operations details.
    Can you square this circle: if Reyes happens to miraculously reach 100 innings this season, how does that set him up for 160-180 in '22? I will be scratching my head with every Ponce start.
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