Join Jeff Gordon for his live STL sports chat at 1 p.m. Friday

Join Jeff Gordon for his live STL sports chat at 1 p.m. Friday

Bring your Cards, Blues, Mizzou, SLU and MLS questions and comments, and talk to columnist Jeff Gordon in his weekly live chat.

    Bobo's here and we've got some ballplayers. So let's go!
    Hello, Mr. Gordon. Thank you for the chat. I have two questions, if I may please.
    1.) Concerning Mikolas. Seems like the Cardinals Front Office continues to roll the dice, banking on the hopes of a pitcher's health. Though reports indicate "no structural damage" to Mikolas' right arm, the Cardinals have been burned on similar reports with other pitchers before. I know the Cards say they have a lot of young pitching candidates, but will the team regret not signing a veteran pitcher to bolster the starting staff?
    2.) Concerning the experimental rules planned for the minor leagues. With Minor League Baseball now under the control of MLB and called Professional Development League, it seems like MLB is taking all of the color out of the minors and turning it into a baseball science lab. Do you agree?
    Thank you.
    The Cardinals roster is not frozen. If the team ulimately needs more pitching, it can add more pitching. In the meantime the field staff will sort test the assortment of young pitchers on hand to see who can and who can't help. This process will continue through the season.
    Pitching injuries are a fact of life. They will continue to happen. Every pitcher they have is a walking injyry risk. That is true for every team.
    As for the minor leagues, I expect two notable changes. At the higher levels, there will be more young prospects and fewer veteran minor leaguers. The latter group will be shift somewhat to independent leagues or to an earlier exit from the sport.
    Also, the youngest and most raw prospects will spend more time in a camp environment and less time in game environments given the eliminaton of the short-season leagues. I will be interested to see what impact that has on player development.
    From the fan standpoint, there are a lot of towns that lost minor league ball -- and their connection to the sport at the professional level. That is the saddest part of all of this. Baseball had some inefficiency in its developmental approach, but in my view it went too far with the cutting.
    As for rules experiments in minor league ball, baseball is still baseball. It's not like there is some mutant sport emerging here. Some rules tinkering could improve the product.
    I know we won like 13 World Series out the last 10 or something like that. But we have less trophies than the royals since 2011
    Moe’s is severely affected by the smartest man in the room mentality. That’s why we’re paying Fowler to play elsewhere and playing Carpenter who Hasn’t hit the last two years
    The Royals have had three winning seasons since 2003. They have gone 143-241 the last three seasons. So when you contrast the performances of two franchises in similar Midwest markets, the Cardinals measure up pretty well.
    Commish is the only scribe at the paper that agrees with my assessment of the Cards rotation. Simply, it isn’t very good. And now with Mikolas shut down and Reyes again relegated to the bullpen, the rotation at best looks weak and at worst looks like a train wreck waiting to fall off the tracks. Jeff, want to change your assessment?
    I don't see the huge crisis with the pitching staff. And like I said, the roster is not frozen. After testing out all of these young arms, the Cardiinals will be free to add stopgaps as needed. We have seen them add pitcbing on the fly year after year after year.
    Gordo, if Williams does not get a 4th option, does he make the team or do the Cards try to get him through waivers?
    It increases the odds of him sticking with the team -- IF he shows real promise as a hitter. Otherwise the team won't lose sleep while running him through waivers. The fact that many of the better prospects are still early in their development also weighs in his favor. The Cardinals need to maintain some experienced depth because there is a falloff to a bunch of high-upside prospects who have yet to play higher than Class A.
  • Gordo - last week you were lamenting receiving the same questions/comments about certain players week after week. Goold's piece this morning about Carpenter is EXACTLY why that parade continues each week. I respect Goold a lot and participate in his chats on a weekly basis, but he just attempted to glorify a walk. Now, if that piece is written after Carp starts hitting as a look back to what prompted his start, fine. But now it looks like more ink on a guy that has done nothing to deserve it in 2+ seasons and fans just roll their eyes and think "here we go again."
  • Carpenter's ability to draw walks does make his offensive performance less terrible. But if he doesn't hit, he's not going to play much this season and he's not going to last much longer as a Cardinal. His final contract year got him another shot . . . but that's it. The Cardinals would love to get some mileage out of him this season. If he can play some second base and let Edman take some games at short, that would help keep Paul DeJong fresh. Carpenter, if he hits some, could help create some better matchups. But if he doesn't, he could get the Jhonny Perlata treatment.
  • I have noticed Shildt putting Goldy second in the lineup and Arenado 3rd the last few games. I think this is the best lineup as it gets them the most at bats. And I think DeJong can bat 4th with those two guys in front of him. Would you agree?
  • I believe that hitting DeJong anywhere higher than sixth is a stretch, but this lineup still lacks depth -- unless both Carlson and O'Neill take huge steps forward. Otherwise I'm guessing that both DeJong and Molina will hit higher in the order than they should.
  • It seems like the "100 innings" limit for Reyes was put out there so that media/fans couldn't somehow back into a certain number of starts he could get from his real number. 100 innings is a really low number. How is he going to go from 100 to 160 or 180 in 2022?
    First, Reyes has to survive 100 innings. If he does that, then his winter pitching program can be geared for starting. If that goes well, he can follow that with a spring program geared toward starting. And if all that goes well, maybe he get up to 160 innings. A lot of ifs in there, since Alex has delivered 72 2/3 big league innings spread over four years.
    Is it true that the Cards will let Carpenter audition for the 5th starter before Reyes gets a shot?
    Take it or leave it… Matt Carpenter ends the season in a Cardinals uniform?
  • I'll take it -- but I predict Matt will spend the year as a part-timer, then (at best) get an invite to the next spring with no guarantees. This team's options for utility work look pretty underwhelming. The trick for Matt -- or anybody else who ends up in that role -- is learning how to deliver competitive at-bats without getting regular work. Given Matt's years-long struggle to regain consistency, that's an especially big challenge for him.
  • was the Binnington signing a good idea for the terms ?
  • Sure, when you look at the NHL market set by Jacob Markstrom and Robin Lehner. It also fit into Doug Armstrong's pay structure for higher-end veterans on his roster.
  • Thanks, as always, for the chat. Is Mikkola getting somewhat fewer minutes than most of the other D-men due to Chief being a little displeased with his play or simply easing a young player into the scheme of things?
    While plus-minus is a rudimentary metric, Mikkola's minus-7 does speaks to some 5-on-5 struggles. Berube does value experience when deciding how to deploy players because he likes the predictability they bring. Mikkola will be less predictable as he feels his way through his first extensive work at this level.
    But the Blues have asked a lot of Mikkola, along with the seasoned Robert Bortuzzo, while dealing with the absence of Colton Parayko and the loss Carl Gunnarsson.
    When it comes to pitching this club has earned the benefit of the doubt. But I keep hearing about the team's "depth" and I don't see it at the major league ready level. On a 2-3 year horizon, absolutely, but Gant and Ponce are like O'Neil and Bader in the OF, we all know how this movie ends, with high pitch counts and short outings.
    Ponce de Leon was good at the end of last season, so let's see if that was an indicator of growth or just an outlier stretch. I agree on Gant, but I don't mind this experiment because he wore down and became less effective with high-repetition use in relief. If the team kept him in the bullpen he might not have lasted much longer in that role.
    Jeff, I can remember as a kid watching Gibson, Jenkins, Marichal, Drysdale pitch complete game after complete game. Now we only expect pitchers go 5 innings at the most. These guys are bigger and stronger now, they take better care of their bodies. Why do managers and pitching coaches then retard their growth and “dumb down” their overall strength by not letting them go 7-8 innings regularly. It can’t always be about the money.
  • Back in Gibson's days, pitchers were far more disposable. If a team blew out a young pitcher, so what? They were cheap labor. Teams had a bigger supply of pitching prospects. They did not invest much money in the vast majority of them. So they ruined a bunch of them and shruggled off the carnage.
    The pitchres who survived that worked on a year-to-year basis. If they got hurt, that was it for them, they went out an got a real job. If a star pitcher gets hurt today, a team may pay him tens of millions to learn how to play golf with his other side while living out at the country club.
    And the sport has changed. Today there is more maximum-effort pitching. Pitchers train their bodies to create maximum leverage. There is much higher fastall velocity overall and much greater spin rates. All of this creates more strain.
    Also, the percentage of pitchers who suffer major injuries in their teen years, ahead of their pro careers, is also high. That speaks to the differences in how pitchers develop in 2021 as opposed to 1960. 
  • Most predictions have the Cards around 81-83 wins this season. 86 wins probably takes down the division unless the Brewers get frisky, so where do you see the Cards' win total ending up this year?
    All things considered, 86 to 88 victories would be a good goal for this group. That may require making some additions on the fly, depending on how the myriad questions about various young outfielders and pitchers are answered.
    The Arenado trade, combined with the prospect for gaining more attendance on the fly, should make management more aggressive than it envisioned a few months ago.
    Most insiders are predicting the Cubs to be major sellers at the deadline this year. If you're sitting on the north side, you probably feel good that the baby bears finally won a WS, but you've also got to be questioning why such a talented team self destructed so quickly. If the Cubs start another tank and rebuild process next season, would you say this group underachieved by only winning one championship?
    Not really. The Cubs contended for multiple years with that group. The Small Bears could make the playoffs this year with many of the same guys. That team wasn't one and done. Fans expect any team that builds a powerful nucleus to become a dynasty, but that's not how baseball plays out these days. Now Dodgers fans are expecting a dynasty now that their team finally broke through -- but the Padres area really good. So are the Braves. The Mets have a billionaire owner looking for titles. The Phillies have ambition. Earlier the Cardinals beat the Dodgers a couple of times with what looked like a lesser team on paper.
    Fans want to meaure team success in terms of sustained title runs. Those seldom happen. Fans bristle when I cite consistent contention as the better metric of success. They say the only real measurement is the parade. By that measurement almost every good team fails every year.
    So many fans will consider the Cubs a failure to not winning multiple titles. But that team won a lot of games while staying in the chase for a long time.
    Is there a more unpredictable team heading into the NCAA tournament than Mizzou. They win a lot of close games , but they also can never hold a lead.
    Like Cuonzo Martin said after the Geogia game, they are who they are. They have found a way to win some games, often with more adventure than needed. And they can lose to anybody as well. College basketball is quite the human adventure and these Tigers are more human than many other teams headed to the Big Dance.
    Gordo,
    Why don’t they piggyback start Grant and Reyes? Gant 4 innings Reyes 3 innings times 30 starts gets you 90 innings for Reyes. Problem solved!
    I could see Reyes getting a lot of those multi-inning relief stints this season. And as noted on some earlier posts, this team could see a lot of abbreviated starts as the various Woodfords and Thompsons and Oviedos that take cracks at starting. I can see the Cardinals getting into double-digits with its starting pitchers this season. And I can see a lot of those same guys working middle relief.
    Brebbia made a comment about choosing SF over STL because "the Giants staff and how their analytics works, all of that will help me the most." Is this a dig at the Cardinals? I was surprised by this comment I always thought Brebbia enjoyed it here.
  • He did have a lot of success here. Like a lot of relievers, he wore down with heavy usage, But in terms of maxing out his potential, here's a guy that worked his way out of the pile to fill a key set-up role quite well. On balance I saw him as a success story.
    Hey Gordo - if there were statues outside Enterprise for the Blues that were "almost immortal", who would join Perron in those molds? And who would have the best pose? Thanks!
    How about a bunch of smaller statues for the near greats? Jay Bouwmeester would deseve one of those as well. Perron's pose would have to be the one-timer windup. He took quite an offensive step well into his career, When No. 91 went down, he embraced his new role as a primary shooter. It's weird how boomeranged back here twice and ended up doing the sorts of things fans hoped to see from him and T.J. Oshie back in the day.
    Are there any plans to stretch Hicks out to a starter sometime in the future? Or is he a life-long closer?
    He will be an interesting case. The fastball got him into the bigs as a reliever. Will he lose some velocity, add some polish and shift roles as he matures? That's quite possible. There is more money and more staying power in starting pitching, so I could see him wanting to go there. But let's see how his secondary stuff comes along.
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