Join Derrick Goold at 1 p.m. Monday for his first live Cardinals chat from Jupiter

Join Derrick Goold at 1 p.m. Monday for his first live Cardinals chat from Jupiter

Bring your Cards questions and comments to a live chat at 1 p.m. Monday as spring training gets set to begin.

    Salutations from the Post-Dispatch bureau in sunny Jupiter, Fla. It's opening week for the Cardinals' spring training. Pitchers and catchers report Wednesday, but the Post-Dispatch be here reporting every day -- and got here, per usual, a few days early. Some Cardinals are already at the facility for small group and individual workouts, and they will be going through the intake process over these coming days. Tests. Physicals. Etc. Jack Flaherty swung by the complex this morning. Paul DeJong has been working out there, as has Paul Goldschmidt, John Gant, and Miles Mikolas. Nolan Gorman is already here, too. 
    You've got questions. We've got the afternoon. Let's dive in -- a little early!
    Onward.
    Any cards Infilders down in Jupiter right now practicing like areando and goldy and edman and deyong?
    DeJong and Goldschmidt are both here. It's not like the usual spring where infielders are all here early and working out with Jose Oquendo on the fields. There are a lot more protocols in place, the group size is limited. But DeJong and Goldschmidt are both here. They each have a home in the area.
    Is Jack Flaherty feeling salty after another arbitration go round? His post trial GIFs seemed a bit that way.
    Sure. I guess. He won. He has been frustrated by the process in the past, and has made a stand against the salaries offered by the Cardinals in each of the previous two springs. Now, the first time he had leverage for a raise, he used it, and he helped skew the market upward for other pitchers like him. There are going to be pitchers who reach arbitration next year who benefit from Flaherty's win this year. 
    I wouldn't read too much into the use of GIFs. He's deft with them. He makes his point. They're humorous. It's not like he's hid his frustration with the system. He doesn't need to use GIFs to point that out -- he's used his statements in the past. Now he can make a statement with how he pitches in 2021.
    Is Tyler O’Neil the de facto starting LF heading into opening day barring a complete breakdown in spring training? If he struggles at the beginning of the season how long of a look will he get before they give someone else a shot?
    He is not. There is significant competition for the outfield spots, and from the Cardinals' perspective I have only heard them refer to Harrison Bader as "our starting center fielder." The other positions are not described that way, though there is a distinct eagerness to clear the way for RF to be the home of Dylan Carlson.
    Derrick, how do you think the Flaherty arbitration decision will affect future negotiations with the Cardinals? Do you think Jack will look at the concerns the Cardinals had with giving him the extra $900,000 and challenge himself to be a more complete player or just take the money and call it a day?
    I don't think Jack Flaherty is a "take the money and call it a day" competitor. He has a plan. He has talent. And he has a clear sense of how he wants that plan to amplify his talent and become a pitcher worthy of the Cy Young Award conversation. Can he get there? Can he keep his health? This is a year where he needs to take that stride. Last year was a frustrating year for sure -- and at least four times he was game ready, set to go, primed for 100 pitches and had the schedule yanked out from under him. He had flickers of being Flaherty, but not really a start where it all came together until the last playoff start of the season, and even then the Cardinals went into that series with him available for Game 1 and chose to go to Game 3 -- meaning they could have been swept by the Padres without their opening day starter throwing a pitch. That ought to provide motivation more than arbitration hearing. Consider that decision for a moment. And if it comes to future negotiations, $900,000 isn't the kind of sum that is going to linger as a issue if they're talking about $50 million or more in an extension. Or, even more than $20m for a two-year deal. I wouldn't get caught up in that.
    Would you agree that the current situation with Flaherty has changed from “Flaherty vs the system” vs “Flaherty vs the Cardinals?”
    I would not agree with that premise, not until he has said that. In fact, in conversations I've had with him before and others leading up tot his arbitration hearing, it was very much vs. the system. That does not excuse the Cardinals. They are playing in the system at the moment -- and they could have chosen the player over the system. They did not.
    How do you suppose Matt Carp's weekly play time is penciled in right now assuming no DH?
    Great question. I don't rightly know. That is something we're going to watch unfold over spring. So much of it will be decided by how he's playing, not just where he's playing. And there's been no way to figure that out at this point.
    Are fans this spring permitted at all to exhibition home games ?
    Roger Dean Stadium, the Cardinals, and the Marlins have a ticket plan in place for the exhibition games. They intend to sell a limited number of tickets to each game, and Roger Dean Stadium has advertised that it hopes to have some fans in the stands for al 24 games at the ballpark. So, home games and some road games for the Cardinals -- when they are the "visitor" vs. the Marlins. The ticket sales and setup here are going to be a good dress rehearsal for the Cardinals to also see how their setup is going to work at Busch Stadium, and how people purchase tickets -- in pops of two, four, or six, and what is the best mix of those numbers.
    In a dream scenario all players stay healthy and perform. What are your biggest concerns? Starters durability? Closer? Areanado, Goldy, Dejong don't go out for extended time(backups?), no one takes lead off role, none of the young OF hit? The only real comfort is Yadi's back!!! Yeah
  • Offense. Offense. Offense. Offense. The Cardinals have to show how they can score even an average amount of runs. One of the reasons why the projections are so down on the Cardinals is because they are not expected to score many runs, and that puts a strain on the other facets of their game. They have to have more offense. As Mozeliak conceded recently, the offense has to provide more or "it's going to be a long year."
  • I'm worried about the tension between Flaherty and the front office. Is a few hundred thousand worth possibly spurning our best sp? I've also heard they are working on a contract. Any truth to that?
    I hope you heard that from the coverage at the Post-Dispatch. They did discuss a contract, and they discussed agreeing on a deal for 2021 before going to an arbitration. They were about $250,000 apart and then had to go to the hearing over $900,000. Why? Well, MLB takes a strong role in pushing teams into the arbitration hearing. So, the Cardinals could buck from the system -- or fall in line. There are things they must do if they want to freelance and offer just to be kind to one of their players. Essentially, the Cardinals could have broken from the system to pay Flaherty what he wished, but then that would have also influenced what Walker Buehler could have commanded from the Dodgers. An interesting element of this is -- why should the Cardinals care? Part of it is the approach MLB takes to manage the market through arbitration. But would the Dodgers have done the same in their position? They went and signed Buehler to a two-year deal anyway. Interested in more about this? It's discussed in greater detail here: 

    Goold: As Cardinals face Flaherty in arbitration hearing, the real cost of MLB's system isn't only in dollars

    STLtoday.comFor the Cardinals' opening day starter, his first crack at arbitration is Round 3 with a system designed and managed to control young players' salaries.
    Hey Derrick, Do you think it's time to trade Flaherty, now that he beat the team in arbitration? Mo' don't like to get beat and Jack takes no grief. Is this fixable? Also, I am so happy for Ted Simmons election to HOF. Ted was a great hitter. It seemed the Cards had a lotta hitting but little pitching during Ted's time here. And then the White Rat TRADES him!
    It is not time to trade Jack Flaherty. He has the potential to be a No. 1 starter and the Cardinals are getting him for a great value -- and have two more years of control. It makes zero sense not to get as many great years from him as possible, when the return for him won't be as great. It's not like the Cardinals would be trading him at the top value either, not at the moment. It is entirely flexible. You know what Mozeliak and Flaherty both like -- to win. They both would like to win baseball games. And you know what else cures all things -- a big offer. I don't remember a player turning down a market-value extension for millions because he got criticized in an arbitration hearing.
    They're pros. They're adults. They hear worse on Twitter, if they listen.
    Ted Simmons was overdue for the Hall of Fame. A lesson for voters.
    Hey DG, I love this time of year and really look forward to the chats from Jupiter. Thank you for all you do! Is it just me or does it seem that Flaherty bears a grudge against the Cards FO that started well before this year's arbitration? It's just doesn't seem to be the "lollipop and rainbow" love that we normally see between the player and the org.
    I don't see lollipops and rainbows all that often. Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright sure seem happy to re-sign with the Cardinals, but both had their frustrations with the pace of the market earlier in the year. Molina didn't hide his frustrations on social media, and yet here we are a few weeks later and no one is asking about that. Why? A contract happened. Amazing what millions will do to repair a relationship. But it wasn't lollipops or rainbows all that long ago, and that can be traced back to spring training when the Cardinals made an offer to Molina that wasn't what he was looking for then, either. Again, what changed? A contract.
    So I never heard. Did Yadi have AB's vs. Carlos in the Caribbean series? If so, what was the results? Thanks!
    He did. He struck out once.
    Is there any higher profile free agent the Cardinals remain in the hunt for, albeit his price would to sign will have to ultimately end up within a lower than currently expected level?
    They haven't bowed out entirely from the starting pitcher group. The interest in Jake Odorizzi, as reported by the Post-Dispatch, is "legit," according to a source, but that doesn't mean it's aggressive. Remember how the Cardinals added Kyle Lohse in the middle of spring. If needed, they could be on the look out to do the same. But they can wait to see if the market bends their way, because they're confident in their depth after signing Wainwright.
    Do you think the deadened ball could help a team like the Cardinals? We hadn't been hitting home runs anyway, so maybe this helps us thrive with more singles and doubles instead of fly outs at the warning track.
    Also, maybe it levels the playing field with other teams that were succeeding off all their home runs.
    It couldn't hurt. Given their pitching and their pitcher friendly ballpark, it's definitely something they could benefit from for all the reasons you mention and all the questions that still swirl around the outfield.
    Can Jordan Hicks realistically do anything this spring that the club will also acknowledge him their primary closer by opening day?
    Interesting question. It might not be all his doing -- if others struggle and he does not, then it will be impossible for the Cardinals to avoid the obvious. That said, they're not likely to dub him "closer" in spring training, allowing that instead to develop, and then see how actions and usage allow the closer to emerge. They do expect that role to ultimately be his as the season develops.
    Is there anything mlb can do to make it more likely small market teams can keep their superstars? Players like lindor or betts being traded or lost in free agency and the big market teams consolidating the majority of the superstars can’t be great for baseball.
    There are models in other sports that could be borrowed, modified, and so forth that would help baseball in this regard. Of course, a salary cap would do it. Neither side seems real interested in the salary cap because it would limit spending on free agents and the owners would have to be real precise in how they define revenue so that pie is sliced up to set the salary cap. Still, a cap of some time would do this. So too would something that the NBA has where the team that has a player can always offer more than other teams. Or, the "franchise" tag like the NFL has. Neither of those approaches would work in baseball -- but the them of both could allow for a lever that allows the current team to offer more than any other club, or not have the salary count against luxury tax. There is also the fact that you could deter teams from signing players away from teams by creating a restricted free-agent approach -- that way, for example, the Dodgers could offer a contract to Flaherty right now, but if they signed him they would lose a handful of prospects -- all to the Cardinals. Whereas the Cardinals would only have to meet that offer to keep him. To make it worth their while, the Dodgers would have to offer a longer-term deal, right? And that would allow the framework to be in place for the Cardinals to keep him, if they choose. I'd have to give it more thought to come up with a real, tangible alloy of these approaches -- just spitballin' here on the chat. But drawing inspiration from other sports is definitely a possibility.
    Or, and here's a wild idea, MLB teams are, for the most part doing quite well, thank you very much, and if there was a floor (not a cap, a salary floor), maybe it would spur teams to keep their players, too.
  • Odds of adding another starting pitcher or LH hitter before April 1, thanks for the chats DG
    Don't know. We'll see how the physicals go and those first early throws of spring. That will tell the team and all of us a lot about those odds. A LH hitter? Coin flip.
    I would like to go to Florida for spring training do you know if there’s a schedule and will the gate be open to everyone
    There is a schedule. There will be 24 games played. The gate will not be opened to everyone. There are strict COVID-19 protocols in place around the complex.
    Derrick, what’s the latest on the game rules to be in effect for the 21 season: universal DH? Extra innings runner on second? 7 inning double headers? 162 game season? Other changes? Thanks.
    Still in play as long as the union and owners have each other's phone numbers. Here's what the current plan is:
    -- No universal DH, as of now. Subject to further discussion, negotiation.
    -- Yes runner on second in extra innings. That has been agreed on.
    -- Yes seven-inning doubleheaders. That has been agreed on.
    -- Yes, they intend to play a 162-game schedule and start on time.
    Any and all are subject to change based on the spread of the virus. The players want assurances that they're going to get paid for a full season whether they can play that full season or not. Owners would like to see things pushed back a month, and they have floated the idea of a 154-game schedule. That could still happen -- if there's an outbreak, if spring is slowed by something, if the nation as a whole has to adopt some different policies to slow the spread of the virus, etc., etc. The virus remains in control.
    And the universal DH remains a bargaining chip for both sides to play to get something they want in addition to it.
    How would you characterize Flaherty's feelings towards organization he appears to have a combative stance and it seems to me he would love to go the west coast and pitch how many years of control do the Cards have, and vice versa, how does the club Flaherty
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