Join baseball writer Derrick Goold for his live Cardinals chat at 11 a.m. Monday

Join baseball writer Derrick Goold for his live Cardinals chat at 11 a.m. Monday

Bring your Cards questions and comments to Monday’s 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings. Welcome to the weekly Cardinals chat here at Back on Monday and fresh off a gust of history from the past weekend. Rick Hummel had all of the coverage in Pittsburgh of Albert Pujols' historic homers, including his go-ahead homer Sunday -- go ahead of the Pirates for a win, go ahead of Alex Rodriguez and into fourth place all-time for career homers. Barry, Hank, Babe, and Albert. That's the Fab Four for career homers now. 
    Eager to see where the questions take us this week. 
    What is the meaning of the hand gesture the Cards players make after they get a hit?
    They are making the hand gestures of a pepper mill -- like you might see at a steakhouse when they ask if you'd like cracked pepper on your salad, steak, shrimp, etc. That's the gesture, and that's why Lars Nootbaar picked up a birthday-gift pepper mill that he now uses as a prop in the dugout. The hand gesture got its inspiration from "grinding" out at-bats, and so they went with grinding pepper. Andrew Knizner deserves some credit for the inspiration, and Nootbaar has made it popular.
    Any concern with Cardinals pitching lately, starters and bullpen haven't been great, and mostly against weaker teams
    Sure. Pitching is always a concern. For any team, really. But the Cardinals have depth now due to moves and some development of young players that should firewall them against five-alarm concerns. Yes, it's coming against weaker teams. Yes, Helsley has allowed runs here in a stretch of appearances. Yes, Quintana has not pitched deep into games, and that maybe of all things stands out most here. The short starts from him and others really stand out as what's been at the root of some of the consistency elsewhere on the pitching staff. What also stands out is that the Cardinals' bullpen surely seems to have found roles with performance, and that bodes well for how it can snapback from some of the recent hiccups.
    Top of the morning to you Mr. Goold, Do you see Liberatore and Carlson being a critical part of the Cardinals playoff team in October ?
    The Cardinals would like for Dylan Carlson to rebound and be a factor for them in October, even as their everyday center fielder. They do think he's part of the best defense they can put out there, and part of their better lineup against left-handed pitchers. But the Cardinals see Carlson as a contributing part of their best everyday lineup.
    There would have to be injuries ahead of him on the depth chart for Liberatore to have a "critical" role in the Cardinals' postseason.
    Is Mikolas or Quintana the #3 starter/frontrunner for postseason as things stand today ?
    Injuries aside, are Pujols and O'Neill already being penciled into post season line up's against most anybody righty too?
    Not entirely, no. It's not as binary as right/left. Marmol will make lineup decisions based on the style of pitcher too. So, you'll see some hitters get starts against pitchers like Corbin Burnes and another lineup if the Cardinals are going to face a right-handed pitcher like Kyle Hendricks or Adrian Houser. We'll see how Albert Pujols' performance here recently shapes that and there will definitely be -- always be -- a hot-hand element to what Marmol does. He's acknowledged that. Part of what's driving the starts for Pujols is the chase for 700, for sure. That won't be part of the playoff consideration. Matchups will drive that, but not just right/left but style, too.
    In questions I didn't think I'd be asking in April (or May or June): Who replaces Albert Pujols next year? The guy is currently in a tie for 62nd in MLB in homers! That kind of power off the bench, in a reserve role is going to be tough to replace.
    Jordan Walker sure seems like a poetic possibility.
    Appreciate the chat. Always a good read for a Monday.
    Hindsight being 20/20, do you think the 'move' Mo would like to have back the most is the Ozuna trade, giving up Gallen and Alcantara? Having those guys here would change to look of this team much more than what Ozuna gave us.
    I'm not so sure. They're pretty aware of the situation they were in that time, and they were in a spot that they needed a cleanup hitter, Ozuna was coming off a strong season, and he hit all the metrics when it came to hitting the ball often, hard, and for power. If anything, they would definitely prefer to have offered the same package and got Yelich in return. That would have given them the left-handed bat they kept trying to find, trying to find, trying to find year after year there for a stretch. But ... would they have Goldschmidt if they did that? That's a real question. 
    I don't get the sense that they would mulligan that deal -- but they definitely have looked and think about how urgency drove that deal and whether patience would have resulted better or just different.
    AP, before and after The Seranthony Dominguez Game (fun with arbitrary endpoints):

    198/291/333 78 wRC+ pre Seranthony

    333/388/722 206 wRC+ post Seranthony
    Now do the Manfred invite to the All-Star Game. The commissioner is getting a lot of criticism for the rule changes -- and I totally get that; when are we going to get those? -- but let's not ignore that the fuse for the second half was lit with that invite to the All-Star Game and all that followed.
    Good morning, Mr. Goold. Thank you for your time and the chat. I owe Albert Pujols an apology. When he signed with the Cardinals, I figured it was more a ceremonial move than a productive one. but, he's proven me wrong. He was floundering until the All-Star break. To what would you attribute Pujols' resurgence, please? I've read where some say it was the respect he received at that All-Star Game. Do you agree? Thank you.
    I would not dismiss the All-Star break, but there's much more to it than that. He had a blast in LA. That was definitely when so many people saw and gave him positive feedback on how much fun he was having. It was striking the blast he was having there -- and how that brought buoyancy to his at-bats, too. But let's not ignore the significant indicators of what has happened:
    -- Health. Pujols has his legs under him. That's not something he had for long stretches in recent years. His foot pain and leg pain gave him less of a base at the plate. There are times where he moves like he is still sore, but he does not appear limited, and he talks about how he has felt good enough to maintain that work ethic in the cage and off the field that he feels is the source of all his success.
    -- The Cardinals had that run of games against left-handed starters. Just a good steady look at them. That gave Pujols starts. That gave Pujols success. That gave Pujols rhythm. And that has just snowballed into what we have here. As Adam Wainwright told me in Arizona: When he gets homer happy, he hits them in bunches. Those starts against lefties ignited the homer-happy run of today.
    Multiple reports on Tink Hence pitching well. Wondering why he hasn't been moved up to high A to evaluate his progress. Is low A considered equivalent?
    It is not. Low A Palm Beach is on the way to the playoffs. When possible, the Cardinals do like to have top prospects get experience in the postseason, see what that's like, and talk to them about how that's what is expected. They're not going to demote players to get them into the postseason (not usually), but they are definitely going to keep players there to get that experience. Hence, Hence.
    What are the comps for what Pujols is doing this summer, perhaps across all sports? Mays going back to New York City with mixed results...Griffey to Seattle with no results...maybe there are other sports that work although I do not recognize anything besides baseball anymore.
    Gordie Howe getting 100 points and winning an award named for him at 45 while playing in the WHA?
    Good morning, Derrick. Paul DeJong has had only two starts and 10 PAs in September. IIRC, you said that he can no longer be sent to the minors. That said, it sure looks like he is going to be left off the postseason roster at this rate.
    That's not likely. He's a strong defensive player, so there will be a place for him in late games at shortstop and that frees up Edman to be the glove at second base when the Cardinals go to the good-hands club.
    Hi Derrick.
    I’m a Cardinal fan in Brewer country. After he hit number 697 I said I thought Pujols was a top 5 player of all time. And, of course, they disagreed.

    Fourth all-time in home runs. Third all-time in RBIs (17 away from 2nd all time). Ninth all-time in hit total. Three time MVP. Multiple gold gloves. Two time World Series winner. Pretty hard to top that resume, regardless of era.

    So my question/s is, do you agree he is a top 5 player of all time and who are in your top 5?

    I think you could make the case. You have to take into account the time in which a player played. Albert Pujols is easily the best right-handed hitter the Cardinals have had since Rogers Hornsby. Well, Hornsby played before integration. So isn't Pujols the best right-handed hitter the Cardinals have ever had because he had to go against the best available in the world, not the best permitted to play? Similarly, consider how hard it is to hit these days, how much velocity there, how much tech there is, and the shifts, and everything. It's the hardest era to hit, and here Pujols is ... hitting. Matching some of the greatest records of all times.
    He's fourth in homers. He's SECOND in total bases. 
    Team sports are difficult to rank Top Fives all-time because there are just so many different roles, so do you consider the role and how they performed in it? Well, that would vault Mariano Rivera into the top five because of how he performed in the role he had compared to others. Or, do we just focus on players. To me, you've got include three players when you're thinking about a top five all-time in baseball: Hank Aaron, of course and likely No. 1; Willie Mays; and Rickey Henderson. Barry Bonds will stir plenty of debate, and then you start going into the Mantle, Williams, Musial, and back to pre-Robinson days in MLB. You start putting Pujols against that group and look at the scope of the numbers he's put up and the era in which he's done it, the time he spent as the best player in the game, the all-around play ... 
    Look, it's not far-fetched. Not at all. 
    Should Wainwright retire, do you see Liberatore and Hudson in the 2023 rotation (assuming Quintana isn’t resigned)?
    Adam Wainwright should not retire. Hudson will get a crack at the rotation, and may even be penciled into the top five as the Cardinals report to camp. Expect Quintana to go elsewhere. Liberatore will have to compete for a spot, and he'll have company with Pallante, Thompson, etc.
    I would like to see DeJong get a little playing time at short again. Rookie not hitting and best defense is Paul at short and Tommy at third.
    Tommy Edman at second, I think you mean. Arenado is the best defensive player of his generation at third base. This is the setup the Cardinals are going to use, yes, at times in the coming week. Donovan also in play for second base.
    with the no shift rules coming, that will include the 5 man infield the cardinals used in extra innings a couple weeks ago? Does it also includ the 4 man outfield? I'm not sure how the rule reads exactly
    The rule reads "at least" so the five-man infield, as I read the rule, would still be permitted, as long as at least two of the five fielders are on the right side and two others are on the left side. We're going to see some interesting defense adjustments in the future, and I'm eager to watch how teams put that left field in shallow right field and really scramble some eggs.
    How do you tie Goldschmidt to the Ozuna debacle. Sure seems like a little covering up to me. If one of the pieces traded to Arizona was needed to get Yelich if someone else took Ozuna, you still do that deal and you could've replaced that piece with another for Goldschmidt. Those men should not be tied to each other in any way, shape, or form.
    It's not difficult. Paul Goldschmidt's first year with the Cardinals was Marcell Ozuna's last year with the Cardinals. The Cardinals did not discuss an extension with Ozuna. They signed an extension with Goldschmidt. They moved on from Ozuna when he did not accept a one-year offer from them, and they were then able to make a move later for Arenado. Now, consider this change of events if:
    -- Cardinals had successfully traded for Stanton and taken on around $200 million of his contract from the Marlins.
    -- Or, Cardinals had successfully traded for Yelich and signed him to the same $215-million extension that the Brewers did. That included about $190 million in new money for Yelich's contract. 
    All of that would have been done before Goldschmidt became available via trade, and before the Cardinals then offered him a five-year, $130-million extension.
    So, tell me again how they're not related? Roster moves rarely happen in a vacuum.
    Seems fitting that Pujols will get to #700 either in STL, Milwaukee or SoCal (thinking he gets there before The Ultimate Visit to PNC.
    Dodger Stadium. Hollywood. Where he had to play to go home again? I could over-write the heck out of that.
    Does Olie give the ball to Waino in game one or does he use Jordan?
    Depends on two things a) availability and b) opponent. Montgomery lines up well against several of the opponents the Cardinals are angling toward.
    Pound for Pound (or Pick for Pick) that 2020 Draft Class is already looking Epic. Walker, Wynn, Hence and Burleson plus Ian Bedell with a strong return from TJ this summer.
    Correct. The Cardinals could get all of their 2020 picks to the majors. I think that is a fair expectation for that draft class, and several could be impact arrivals.
    Do the Cardinals offer the same technology to help hitters and pitchers improve as private entities like Driveline?
    I get this question a lot and I'm not sure what's expected here. The Cardinals have a hitting lab. They do not yet -- again -- have the pitching lab they wanted. They have increased the spending on tech over the past few years to really expand the use through the minors and were even outfitting every hitter in the organization below the majors with individual tech for their training. The infrastructure is much improved. But please keep in mind that places like Driveline exist and the lab in Baton Rouge exist to offer more than teams -- that's how they get business. They push the edge, they push tech, they experiment, and they do things that teams cannot do because of that, again, is how they stay in business.
    Teams have hired from Driveline and other places to get that insight and expertise, but there's no need for a team to bring all of that in house any more than a team should buy up all the personal trainers that players use.
    Teams, like the Cardinals, encourage players to see out such places. Gorman and Knizner recently went to Baton Rouge so that they could work in the hitting lab there -- and get immediate bats from the manufacturer to see how it worked. Should the Cardinals go into the bat business? Or, should is encouraging their hitters to see out this information the same thing without the overhead? 
    Using everything at a player's disposal to improve is what the best players do, and it's what the best team's encourage.
    Where the Cardinals have improved and needed for years to improve was with the in-house availability and in-house advocacy of such curiosity. That has changed.
    Do you think this could be the most critical time for our first year manager? Within the next week it is likely that the Mets will be out of range in second and they probably couldn't lose the division if they tried. It's possible there won't be much to play for until the postseason.

    I think Ollie will do just fine in the playoffs, but I'm afraid his inexperience my be an issue in having the team rested but ready for day one of the postseason.
    I do not. I think October will be. He has stated often that the goal is to win the World Series. That's the only time it can happen. The Cardinals want success in October to be their brand, their expectation, their measuring stick. So, let's let them. That will be the critical period for the manager and the coaching staff. They've got a good offense. Let's see how it plays and how it preps for October. They've had a creative, nimble use of the bullpen and the lineup. Let's see how it works in October. The manager set that bar. Let's let him.
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